This photo is from Las Lenas, Argentina. If you've ever been to Las Lenas you know you can get skunked on weather very easily. Let alone new snow, the wind can hammer any snow you're lucky enough to get regardless.
Photo: Adam Clark
I spent a month down there once, and during this month, we had the perfect scenario unfold, weather was pleasant for the first week, no new snow, but no wind. It allowed us to explore a little bit. We found this zone in particular. We hiked up and skied some lines next to these really cool rock spires that rose up out of nowhere. All I was thinking was, "man if it nuked, it sure would be cool to hit the side of that spire like a kicker."
What you can't really see in this photo is that the back of this spire, it's a perfect natural booter. Not too kicky. And what you also can't see is the landing zone goes on and on for days in this pretty steep consistent pitch.
A storm rolled into town, we spent a few nights just hitting the UFO club haha and built up an appetite to shred some of the pow that had been falling. Typical case is that after large dumps, the chair that accesses TONS of terrain will be closed for days, maybe weeks before they open it. Chair is called the Marte lift. It's basically heli skiing from a lift. Probably the best single chairlift in the world on the right day.
Well after the storm broke, we were up early and decided we'd better at least fire drill to the Marte lift in case it opened. Well guess what...? It opened. Stable snowpack, about 3 feet of new snow over the last 4 or 5 days. And we were first in line. Unreal. Bluebird two foot pow day, no wind, open Marte chair in Las Leñas Ski Resort? NO WAY. Yes way.
We instantly knew we were heading straight to this zone. Once to the zone, it's about a 45-minute boot up to the access point for this line. However with the deep new snow, it was a bit of a struggle. Especially watching hundreds of other hungry skiers slaying lines on the lower mountain and coming back up again all the while we're slogging through the pow up to our waist. But again, for the entire hike we had the view of the pristine spire zone. The new snow and wind had packed in the natural jump delightfully. Oh man I wanted to get there and fast. But one step at a time. I kept eyeing the landing zone... it literally just went and went. Then my eyes would look up to how much speed could i possibly get? I wanted to swan dive flip this spire for days! haha. And I was going to. No one around to bogart it. ALL MINE. YES.
Photographer Adam Clark slid off the ridge to get in position saving him a bit of a walk I still had ahead of me. It worked great, by the time I got to my start point, Adam was all set up and ready to roll. I really didn't need any warm up or test the snow or anything, because I had been hiking through it on the same aspect, deeeeeeep! And the landing zone I knew there were no rocks because we had skied through the zone a week prior and there were no rocks. And 36"+ of snow just fell on top of it. So it was about 200 yards of perfect landing zone and a perfect natural booter.
I stamped out the in-run a little bit up top so I could muster up the most speed possible. I had a good 100 feet of in-run until it ran into the top of the ridge where rock met the ridge. The most possible speed I could possibly get. haha!
Adam was ready I was ready.... "ten seconds!". I drop my shoulders square off on the jump and narrow my focus on my insanely fun endeavor that lay immediately in my path...
I jump and point my skis straight down the in-run. I pick up speed fast...! I am hauling ass. YES. haha. I approach the jump and pop off the air. I extend my arms and I am about 20 feet off the snow.. and I stay about 20 feet off the snow as my trajectory matches the angle of the slope for a good 120 feet or so. I feel like a ski jumper but I hold the swan dive instead of the ski jumper body. No stress, if you need anything I'll be over here swanning . It's all good.
I've been to South America 7 times and this day was, by far, the raddest conditions I've stumbled upon. After this air, Billy Poole teed off. Some norwegian buddies we befriended sent the zone and the rest of the day was unreal making deeeep Marte laps. Long live the Marte!
This photo ran as an opening two-page spread in Skiing Magazine.
Big ups Las Lenas, Adam, Goose, and my man Billy Poole.
Instagram: @juliancarr @discreteclothing