Thursday, August 26, 2010

South America Ski Testing 2010

Five days ago we boarded a plane to Buenos Aires with 7 pairs of Folsom Customs, $500 in overweight bag fees and no idea where we were going. Chasing snow is a bit like rolling the dice – by the time you get somewhere (20 hrs and 3 different airports, a night in Buenos Aires and 25 hrs on the bus) snow conditions can be completely different than expected or forecasted. Our original plan was to head straight to Las Lenas where the skiing is steep and gnarly, but with only 20cms of snow at the base it was an easy call to make a last minute decision and veer even further south to Bariloche where we heard it was storming. The forecast was not even close to predicting as much snow as we’re getting – it’s snowing golf ball sized flakes (inconveniently so - to the point where it’s difficult to see through) and the coverage is bomber. As it’s my first time here I’m not sure if it’s normal for your feet to touch down half way up the lift or if there’s just a really good base – but either way it’s awesome – just remember to keep your tips up (I didn’t).

As a west coast born and bread skier the deep wet snow that we’re getting here is just what I’m used to. My 185 gambits are keeping me afloat and ensuring I’m maxing out on the fun scale. Mike and Ryan are testing out some longer boards – 205cm Gambits with a variety of flex patterns and tail profiles as well as 196 Giver’s with a 10mm and 15mm tip taper. The giver’s were killing it in the limited chop that we came across and laying down fat arcs in the deep stuff. With the tip shape we notice much less deflection in crud and softer snow and it provided a mellower turning radius – a true and tried big mountain beast. If we had of made the decision to go to Las Lenas for the FWT comp this ski would have slayed it. After three months of summer and intense ski building Mike jumped on the 205 gambits which ski much like the 195s but with added tip and tail there’s more running surface and a longer effective edge on the hard pack. At 205cms, this ski attracts a lot of attention; coupled with Mike’s eye catching outfit from Trew Gear and his tendency to speak in super deep Spanglish as though everything is this summer’s next biggest blockbuster, it’s hard to pretend we’re not raging gringo’s.

Can’t wait to try out the other ski shapes, but it’s looking like it might be a few days due to massive amounts of precip and some strong winds. Shorts, flip flops and t’s are a thing of the past. Here at Freedom hostel the ceiling is leaking, it looks the apocalypse is arriving over Lago Nahuel Huapi, it’s raining sideways and the already taped up single pane glass sounds like it might just shake right out of the windows. Until the wind dies down and the storm subsides it’s beers, watching Mike fix electrical sockets with a Leatherman and towel for precaution, and taking in the local culture.

Next report will be post nipple deep pow day….

Words By: Kasie Stroshin