After 2 long bus rides we arrived in Bariloche to pouring rain. Bariloche is a very cool hip city along a large lake called Lago Nahuel Huapi. Looking at the weather forecast the only clear day looked like the next day. It poured rain the entire evening, which meant it could be snowing up high. The next morning we boarded a crowded bus up to the ski area of Cerro Catedral. The ski area itself was very crowded and did not have a ton of terrain, we were able to find some good powder though! The mountains that lay in back all around Catedral were a different story. Huge peaks with beautiful spires lay all around. We had a fun ski day in the sun and then headed back to Bariloche, our main goal with coming to this area was hopefully to ski near those peaks and spires by going to stay at Refugio Frey. The weather again did not look promising and we were stuck hanging around the city for 3 days hoping the weather would break before we had to head back to Santiago.
After 4 days we received our window, we were a little concerned about all the precipitation in the past three days that we decided to take the hiking trail to reach the hut. We strapped our skis to our packs just bringing a sleeping bag and some pesos and set out on an adventure. We walked through mud and rivers that had been created by all the rain. Eventually after 3 hours of hiking with our skis and boots on our backs we were able to put our skis on and start skiinning. After only a few minutes of skiinning the trail become very thick with some type of bushes that later I came to know a little to well. I lost the trail and spent the next 2 hours battling my way up through the thickest trees and bushes I had ever seen. Finally arriving at the Frey I was welcomed by Basco the hut caretaker, Emilio the cat and Morgan who thankfully had found the trail.
The Frey looks out onto an amazing lake with tons of little couloirs and spires in the background. It was so nice to have a cold beer and a hot meal in the middle of this beautiful place! The next day the weather was beautiful and we set out to check the snow condtions and ski some couloirs. The snow was a little interesting, but we were able to ski some fun lines before it heated up. We met up with a canadian couple that were super fun to ski with and skied 3 really fun lines that day, two of them being couloirs. We arrived back at the hut after an awesome day and besides two other peoople that came to the hut that night we had the place to ourselves. The next morning we had to get back Bariloche so we skied one last couloir early before breakfast. It was my favorite one of the trip, it had all kinds of snow conditions, it was steep and had a small crux in the middle. We then made the 2/1/2 hour skin out to the ski area and back to Bariloche. What an amazing trip and cant wait to go back and explore more in that area!
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Today was my second day skiing in Portillo and it has been awesome to ski without pain. This place is so beautiful and you just feel at home in the mountains being here. I have been taking a few photos with Jonathan Selkowitz, who is an amazing photographer and just working on getting back onto my feet again. The womens US Ski Team is here training, including Lindsey Vonn and this being her debut back on snow since her injury. It is very motivating for me to be skiing around with the girls I grew up racing with even though we are on an entire different level now, their skiing and hard work are inspiring to me. I can still feel my leg on hardapack, but this is the first time I feel like I have skied without pain in a few years. The last couple years have been tough from my broken fibula to my shoudler dislocating when I wave to someone to the worst injury I have ever had which was my broken tib/fib. Last season I thought I was healed, but now that I am skiing since the first time since March 1st I realize wow, this is what it feels like to have no pain! It is amazing how the mind can trick you into thinking that you are okay. Now I am working on gaining back my confidence in my skiing thatI felt I lost last season. This is the first ski trip I have ever done without competing or racing and it feels so good not to have the pressures of having to perform. I simply get to ski for myself and it feels great. Thanks to Rob at Mountain Athlete again for making me feel strong again. Also Arcteryx, Head, Gu, Scott, Probar and JHMR for supporting me in my skiing endeavers! Next stop Bariloche, Argentina!