When I describe a run at Cerro Catedral, Argentina, to people who haven't been there, I talk of the huge granite spires that lead you into open powder fields, perfectly-spaced trees and bamboo forests at the end of the run. Yes, I said bamboo, or caña as they call it in Argentina, which grows heavily at the base of the mountain. To me, this is the ultimate summer camp experience. The area was recently affected by the explosion of Chile's Puyehue volcano, but the ski area should be open for skiing this month.
To bring people to this terrain, some of whom have never skied powder before, is just a small part of why I continuously find myself at this time of year packing my bags and heading south for SASS Global Travel Argentina (previously South America Snow Sessions). Not only are we skiing powder in the middle of the North American summer, but we're also immersed in the Argentinean culture, eating amazing food, learning Spanish, and experiencing adventure first hand.
This year, Garrett Russell and I will be coaching at SASS, and potentially James Heim. The first camp session starts July 23, and there are camps through early September. The hotel will be at the base of the mountain. We'll wake up, eat breakfast, walk out our front door and hop on the chairlift. Some groups might go build a backcountry jump; others will hike the sidecountry or ski inbounds terrain, and some might find themselves hiking out to the nearest backcountry hut called Frey. Occasionally we set up an on-hill Argentine barbeque, or asado, in the terrain park.
SASS is also partnered up with Tahoe's Sierra Nevada College, which means you can get college credits from SNC by taking classes such as Spanish, photography, videography, ski business management, freeskiing, and freeriding. My personal favorite class offered at SASS through SNC is the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Safety class, which applies to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of the backcountry.
Prices start at $1,995 for one-week camps and there are camps for adults, under-18, women-specific and college students. See you in Argentina.