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Coming Attractions – Tales from Skiing in Northern Patagonia, Argentina


Finally, the dominos are set. After interviews is three different languages and four different time zones we will have stories of skiing in the northern regions of Patagonia. There are so many thank yous to too many people to list here, but I look forward to taking everyone back in time to the formative years of skiing in the Bariloche area and Cerro Catedral from those who lived it, enlightening everyone to then technological advances at little tiny, but plucky Chapelco in San Martin, and breaking down an Argentinian ski trip likke a fraction for you. Our historical piece on Bariloche and Catedral will be published in the next issue of Skiing History Magazine, while my Chapelco story will appear this fall in Ski Area Management – home to my recent “renovating your ski resort’s golf course” article. Finally, I’ll have the story of modern Catedral here at JF.com. Links will be published here as soon as the stories run.

And for any of you even remotely considering pulling the trigger on a Southern Hemisphere ski trip but vacillating…I present this little apertif for your consideration:

I was told before I left America that Catedral Alto Patagonia, (or just Catedral), the largest, and most venerable ski resort in South America might be, perhaps, the most drop-dead gorgeous summit lakeview in our sport. One prominent magazine even gushed “The most beautiful ski views in Earth?”

They may have understated the case. It’s the skiing of your dreams come to life.

With all the irrepressible hope of a Jorge Luis Borges protagonist, I tasted my first tang in the air of a Southern Hemisphere winter, a symbol of rescue from a New York summer’s oppressiveness while Andean condors, the second-largest flying birds on Earth, soared effortlessly overhead. On one side a vast ocean of snow-capped peaks stretched endlessly while crystalline Lake Nahuel Huapi – the Island of the Jaguars in Mapuche language – shimmered below, glistening with the fiery heart of a diamond. Turning around, like the spires of a Tuscan church reaching skyward towards Heaven, so too did the ancient granite rock formations pepper mighty and majestic Cerro Catedral’s brow, offering line after scintillating line beneath and between them:  chutes and narrows, steeps and moguls tumbling precipitously from the 7,800-foot ridgeline.

And though I’d traveled nearly a full 90 degrees latitude from my home – half a world away – I found the same incontrovertible truth that I find everywhere:  the joy of skiing unites us all, regardless of country, continent or hemisphere.