Thursday, July 23, 2009
Skiing Upside Down
As anyone who follows my writing closely knows, It's Always Snowing Somewhere.
At the moment, I'm typing away in a quaintly pink little restaurant here in Esquel, Northern Patagonia, Argentina. The large window at my back is radiating cold from the air outside. It doesn't often snow in town, but the surrounding mountains are usually wearing a fresh white coat when I step outside in the morning.
Last weekend, I decided to take advantage of the cold in what really is the best possible way--on a pair of skis (well, a snowboard in my case). So I headed up to nearby La Hoya, rented some gear, bought my ticket for the day ($30, not bad!), and hopped on the quad lift up the mountain.
Conditions weren't exactly as "Colorado" as I'm used to. Until fresh snow started falling around noon, the slopes were slabs of ice, punctuated by nasty black rocks. Though not crowded by any means, most everyone on the mountain was obviously a beginner and required a wide berth. Then there was the thick fog that occasionally wafted up the valley, making things downright dangerous.
But in the afternoon, with a soft blanket of new snow, patches of blue sky and characteristically awe-inspiring Patagonian clouds, I got my board-stride back after a year and a half of atrophy and had a fine time on the mountain.
Though I probably won't go back unless some serious snow falls, it's great to have skied in another hemisphere, and to feel the ache of those muscles I never know I have until I snowboard.