Words by Garrett Russell
Photos by Chason & Garrett Russell
This is the story of my “dirt bag” adventures throughout Argentina with my hippy mountaineer brother…Chason.
The two of us somewhere out there in the Andes.
Chason capturing the moment in Las Leñas, Arg. Photo: Garrett
As soon as Chason rolled into Argentina he was hooked up with the FLOW snowboard team thanks to SASS. Experienced with Argentina, the “flow” kids thought Chason was their private guide, helping them reach their final destination of San Carlos de Bariloche (Cerro Catedral), and so our adventure began.
A little 180 at Cerro Catedral. Photo: Chason
We destroyed the restaurants and nightclubs right off the bat, shredded epic snow, and conquered Bariloche. After skiing all that we wanted to at Cerro Catedral our hunger for adventure placed us on the road.
Getting some freshies in the Laguna at Cerro Catedral. Photo: Chason
Our first adventure brought us to the resort of Cerro Bayo, two hours Northeast from the city of Bariloche. My brother and I rented a car with the money I made from selling some old ski clothes. We named our rental "Moby." Here at Cerro Bayo we received free tickets for two days explaining that we were professionals in the search for epic snow and in exchange I was going to write a story. And this is it.
Searching for epic powder at Cerro Bayo. Photo: Chason
A little hand drag above the lake at Cerro Bayo. Photo: Chason
Having exhausting our ticket privileges at Cerro Bayo we returned to Bariloche with “Moby.” With a new dusting of snow at Cerro Catedral there were some more turns to be made.
Making the most of the Laguna at Cerro Catedral. Photo: Chason
Getting another lap in the Laguna. Riding the white wave. Photo: Chason
At this point I was in the need for a little break from skiing having coaching every day this season with SASS. With no beaches near by, our best bet was to check out this river Chason has wanted to kayak for years. Our destination was the Rio Futalafu in Chile. Factor was though...We were shut down at the border of Argentina/Chile. The reason for this was “Moby” was missing the insurance paper with a signature that would allow us to cross the boarder.
This was the only glimpse of the river we got before getting shut down at the boarder. Photo: Garrett
Now stranded 4 hours away from Bariloche, I had to think fast before it got dark. Luckily, I had friends in the town of Esquel Argentina, located 40 minutes away. With no desire to spend money on a hostel, it took a little patience before I could contact my friends. At midnight we were welcomed into a cozy little house. Here my brother and I took over my friends living-room/kitchen floor with our sleeping bags and shit-ton of gear.
My friends Nico Lopez, Agustine, and Turco high above Esquel Argentina. Photo: Chason
The house we stayed at turned out to be the entire park staff for the ski resort of La Hoya. The following day I was convinced to go up to the mountain. At first it was super cold, cloudy, and windier than hell, rocks the size of jawbreakers were flying around. To say the least conditions were looking grim. But with bro-deal lift tickets for only 3 pesos how could one say no. Waiting for better weather, the five of us drank whisky, watched some ski movies, (IDEA + REALTIME) and ate some lunch. Soon enough the inspirational movies drove us all to go skiing into the whiteout/vertigo world of the Patagonia's. Unpredictable like most things in Argentina, the clouds lifted and it turned out to be an epic day.
Enjoying visibility after lunch. La Hoya. Photo: Chason
The next day, my fire was rekindled for skiing and it was a beautiful day ideal for riding park. Note: this was my first day riding park all season down here in SA.
The boss Nico Lopez holding it down in his park. La Hoya. Photo: Chason
Oh no…Is that a lu-kang…Haha. La Hoya. Photo: Chason
Enjoying ridding park once again. Switch 5 nosegrab. La Hoya. Photo Chason
Rodeo 7 just for good old times sake. La Hoya Photo: Chason
Almost true nosegrab hand-plant. La Hoya. Photo: Chason
Nico Lopez cooking up an Argentine BBQ (asado) at the end our session at flypark. Photo Chason
Our rental time with "Moby" came to an end and it was time to return to Bariloche. We now were back to riding buses, staying in hostels, and re-united with the good old SASS crew. Once again we lived it up on the mountain and crushed it in the city.
Chason living it up at the best restaurant in Bariloche “El Rodeo” Photo: Garrett
Another asado, this time with the Cerro Catedral park crew and SASS. Photo: Chason
The next adventurous opportunity quickly arose thanks to my new Argentinean clothing sponsor DUKE. Once again my brother and I were on the road, this time to a remote ski area called Caviahue. The following day we took a snowcat to the buried and abandoned town of Copahue. Here, we discovered a mini golf of cornices and buildings for jibbing. The town was ours. The only thing was it had an eerie “Shining” vibe to it.
The lost city of Copahue. Photo: Chason
In search of something to play on Guga and myself take a walk. Copahue Photo: Chason
Rodeo 5 for all my homies back home. Copahue, Photo: Chason
Ouch… I’m going to have to work on this trick. Copahue. Photo:Chason
The day after our adventure in Copahue we cruised around the resort of Caviahue. This time we had snowmobiles to help us explore the very mellow terrain of the resort. I must say the opportunities double when you have snowmobiles, especially in the vast terrain of Caviahue.
The little resort town of Caviahue, Argentina. Photo: Chason
Exploring around Caviahue with some rented snowmobiles. Photo: Chason
A good ol’ hand plant on a wind-lip in Caviahue. Photo: Chason
The day ended with a little sunset car jib. Thus ending the chapter of a paid adventure to somewhere I've never been or possibly never would have gone.
A little front flip just for the fuck of it. Junk yard in Caviahue. Photo: Chason
Once again the brothers returned to Bariloche. This time chasedog was tired of following me around and taking photos. So the next day we bought bus tickets to Las Leñas where he could fulfill his hunger for big mountain skiing and tons of couloirs. The one week we had in Las Leñas was full of meat devouring, hiking, a little camping, and skiing the gnar.
Taking a little nap waiting for the bus in San Rafeal, Arg. Photo: Chason
A regular night insisted tons of tons of meat, and lots of Fernet and wine. Las Leñas
The meat we ate sometimes came with their heads.
Chason getting after it in The Laberyinth. Las Leñas. Photo: Garrett
Setting up camp underneath Las Leñas peak.
Chason’s ideal day…Waking up in the mountains, hiking for 5 hours and getting to ski a “little” line like this. Las Leñas.
Switching it up coming back from camping. Las Leñas.
Thus ending our month long adventure in Argentina. It is now October, the snow is melting and the mountains are closing. I have one week left down here till I return to other side. The endless winter truly does exist.