Saturday, July 30, 2011

Life... As we know it

Here are a few pictures of our life at Cerro Castor with the Simari-Birkners.

Belen focusing

Macarena ready to SLAY


Macarena and the view over the valley.

Too cool for school.

Snow crystals.


Home sweet home

Today was our last day on snow before we hop on a plane tomorrow back to Buenos Aires. It has been a great experience down here, making new friends and catching up with old ones, but we are once again feeling the itch of travel and excited to get back to the adventure!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leisurely Day Off

For me, a day off used to mean a day full of relaxation and recovery so I could be prepared for the next block of training. Doing something that required a great amount of energy was definitely a no-go. So it was a strange feeling when Ramon (one of the coaches down here) asked if Andrew and I wanted to go on what he said was a 4 hour ski tour on the day off and I immediately said yes! Ski touring is one of the things I want to pursue more in my post ski racing life, so I wasn't about to turn down an opportunity to do it at the end of the world! (Plus when he asked I was in the middle of watching "Yes Man" so there was no way I could say no!
Ramon was kind enough to scrape together enough back country equipment for the three of us and we were on the first chairlift ride up the mountain to start our day. Actually my day really started when I walked head first into the staircase and then about 10 minutes later proceeded to fall down a flight of stairs, I had to hope that luck didn't last long!

Remember this shot from last blog? The peak on the right was our goal for the day. And believe me, I used a pretty solid zoom for this picture... Its a long way off!

We hiked around the back of the ski resort and tested our beacons before starting the long traverse over to the bottom of the climb

Early morning wake up right out of the gate! A nice, steep, icy cornice will wake you up faster than the strongest coffee!

Next came the first bushwack of the day. Struggling through trees and bushes all the while trying to keep our altitude... less you ski down, the less you hike up.

Turning point. Putting the skins on and ready for the hard work.

Hard work is a lot easier when you have a backdrop like this!

Still slogging with the peak getting closer!

As we stopped for a much needed lunch on the glacier, the clouds started to burn off and we were more keen than ever to reach the summit!

The gnarly, steep boot pack section. When you have to use your hands.... its gotta be steep!

Success!!! The view was incredible as we bagged one of the highest peaks around. My joy was hardly even dampened when Ramon informed us that the ski out was no piece of cake... It was a good thing I didn't know what he meant at that time...

Ramon checking out the amazing view of Tierra Del Fuego

Skiing off the peak on a blue bird day. Nothing better

Andrew and I scoping our lines.

Although it wasn't powder we got come great turns down the perfectly smooth glacier.

After reaching the top, Ramon told us the way down was going to be challenging. Ramon wasn't joking when he said the way down was no cake walk. Yes that is the moon and we hadn't even hit the trees yet!

I think this picture was ruined by me gasping for air. But two happy tired boys as we hit the road and waited for our pick up. 9 hours and 45 minutes after setting out.

It may have been longer and harder than expected. But as you can see from the pictures it was one of my best days off that I can remember. A big thank you to Ramon for taking us out!!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Due amount of ash in the air from the Chilean volcanic eruption, the flights here from Buenos Aires are regularly being cancelled. But luckily we made it back to Ushuaia without any problems and headed straight for our spot on the mountain! You couldn't really ask for anything more; amazing scenery, great rustic little house and only minutes from the hill. 

I think we mentioned earlier, that coming down here wasn't just for a few weeks of freeskiing. Our main reason was to come and help out the Argentine ski team prepare for the upcoming southern hemisphere winter race season. It has been great to get back on snow and into the ski racing mode. More than that it has been great to spend some time with the ultra friendly Simari-Birkner clan.

Frosty afternoon with the sun at its highest point of the day.

Everywhere you look around Cerro Castor is picture perfect

Team ARG. *enter appropriate pirate joke here* Angelica, Mario and Belen

Angelica carving it up

Shona "the coach" Rubens

Macarena and Belen getting focused

The Simari-Birkners got mad style

Belen slaying

Andrew in his element

The next generation of SB Ski Team. Guadeloupe keeps us endlessly entertained.

Its so nice to wake up to frosty trees and a fresh dusting of snow!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Homeless in Buenos Aires

We are officially homeless...We dropped off the van in the port town of Zarate, a couple hours north of BA on the 30th of July after a few complications about when and where the ship was headed for North America. Since then, the ship has changed destination ports and been delayed over 10 days... so much for planning our flights and organizing things in advance... As for right now we are still waiting to hear when the ship will actually leave, and where in the United States it will be dropped off.... Trying to just roll with it. Here are a few pictures since leaving Kumu.

Organizing and downsizing. No personal goods are allowed in the van while being shipped... Not the easiest thing to do! 

After selling a few things and getting rid of others we finally packed our lives down into two big back packs, a duffle bag, a box and two carry-on bags... we were pretty impressed with our selves as we lugged everything onto a sketchy train heading into the big city!

Buenos Aires is overwhelming to say the least. Luckily I have an old friend living here with his wife and child. It was great to see a friendly face amidst the 13 million people strolling the streets. We have spent many hours wandering the endless streets and trying to take in all that this massive metropolis has to offer.
The obelisk

The bridge of the women

Old sailing ship

Puerto Madero skyline

Giant spider in La Boca which amazingly I first saw with my friend Allison (Costa Rica) at the Tate Modern in London...

Vibrant colors of La Boca

The famous Ricoletta Cemetary.

The 'Pink House'. Home to Argentine Parliament

We even managed to take in a great tango show.

Apparently it is a necessity when visiting Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango.

Finally today we checked out the track. No we didn't bet, but there were some pretty anxious old men around yelling wildly as the horses came thundering up to the finish line.

Buenos Aires has been a great change from the stresses of the last few months of our journey. As much as we miss our home on wheels, we are enjoying wandering aimlessly through the streets and not stressing about whether someone is taking off with all our belongings. 
We finally decided on what to do with the month it will take for Kumu to make the journey north (perhaps longer if things keep getting delayed!). We are hopping on a flight tomorrow back down to Ushuaia at the end of the world and going skiing for a few months with the Simari-Birkners at Cerro Castor. Both of us are in serious ski withdrawal and are really looking forward to buckling up the boots and feeling the freedom of the world whipping by under our feet. We will keep you posted on snow reports and run conditions! 
Until next time...