ADVENTURE JOURNAL

Celebrando la Tiza

Celebrando la Tiza

(Embracing the Chalk)

Steep Skiing in Las Leñas


Embracing the Chalk on Casco. Photo by Jeff Cricco

Embracing the chalk on Casco. Photo by Jeff Cricco


Come the end of a two-month stint in Argentina, there is nothing better than heading to the Northern Andes for the country’s celebrated steep chalk skiing. If the Patagonian rains, winds, and variable weather haven’t beaten you down, forcing an early retirement to the milder weather of the Argentine coast or an early flight home, Las Leñas is undoubtedly the best place to be. With that in mind, my wife and I loaded up our car (with a bit of reluctance, spring was finally in full in Mar del Plata) and started the 16-hour drive across the famous pampas and into the high desert of La Provincia de Mendoza.


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#estoyvolando


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Spring Flowers.


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Incredible coastal vistas are not easily left behind for cold windy mountains.


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A sunset walk on the beach anyone?


It doesn’t take much to convince me to go skiing. 16 hours in a car? Whatever.  Winter-chasers relish these moments.


Mates on the road.

Mates on the road.


Mates in hand we hit the road, completing the journey in about 16 hours and 30 mates later. High on life and caffeine, we took in the incredible landscape of the Argentina Pampas along the way. It’s basically Kansas out here, really exciting stuff.


Incredible sunsets.

Incredible sunsets.


Las Leñas in all its glory.

Las Leñas in all its glory.


Happy People in Las Leñas

Happy People


After four straight years going to Las Leñas, it certainly felt great to be headed back to familiar territory. Although there wasn’t snow in the forecast, coverage looked good and I knew we’d have a couple awesome weeks in the mountains.


The Famous Marte Chair gets you to all the goods.

The Famous Marte Chair gets you to all the goods.


Manhattan, a Las Leñas Classic.

Manhattan, a Las Leñas Classic.


2k vertical straight back to the lift.

2k vertical straight back to the lift.


Rising up the famous Marte Chair, you access all the classic lines Las Leñas has to offer. Several 2,000 or more vertical foot couloirs take you right back to the base of the chair. The skiing is excellent. Prefer to dig a little deeper? Head out to Torrecillas, Cerro Martin or Entre Rios for some 2-3 hr laps amongst the spires, screw, fossils, and other incredible geological formations of the Northern Andes.


Jeff Cricco working his way up to the summit of Cerro Martin.

Jeff Cricco working his way up to the summit of Cerro Martin.


Hiking up to the top of Cerro Martin (3200m) Photo by Jeff Cricco

Hiking up to the top of Cerro Martin (3200m) Photo by Jeff Cricco


Scoping lines on the Casco Face

Scoping lines on the Casco Face


Waiting for the go-ahead from Cricco on the steep Casco Face.

Waiting for the go-ahead from Cricco on the steep Casco Face.


Snowboarders rip too! On the Casco Face.

Snowboarders rip too! On the Casco Face.


Crushing steep chalk on the Casco Face in Las Leñas, Photo by: Jeff Cricco

Crushing steep chalk on the Casco Face in Las Leñas, Photo by: Jeff Cricco


After a couple great days lapping the off-piste terrain accessible off the Marte chair, sipping Quilmes bottles and getting back into the swing of things, I linked up with Jeff Cricco, Johnny Lyons, Dorian Densmore and friends for some laps up high. Conditions were celebrated. Las Leñas is known for its incredible chalk skiing. If there isn’t any powder it’s still nice to get out, get up high and move amongst the incredible terrain.


Torrecillas looking great.

Torrecillas looking great.


Johnny dropping into Torrecillas.

Johnny dropping into Torrecillas.


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Johnny deep into an untracked Torrecillas.


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Looking down the barrel.


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Sea of white.


Chamonix, Las Leñas

Chamonix, Las Leñas


Johnny Lyons making his way over to Chamonix.

Johnny Lyons making his way over to Chamonix.


Hanging with Johnny Lyons at the entrance of another steep ski.

Hanging with Johnny Lyons at the entrance of another steep ski.


TJ David inside Chamonix, Las Leñas.

TJ David inside Chamonix, Las Leñas.


Johnny Lyons heading into Chamonix, Las Leñas

Johnny Lyons heading into Chamonix, Las Leñas


Steep Skiing in Argentina

Steep Skiing in Argentina


 


Johnny Lyons having another endless descent in Las Leñas, Argentina.

Johnny Lyons having another endless descent in Las Leñas, Argentina.


Taking in one last view.

Taking in one last view.


All and all a great trip! Las Leñas always gives back. Patagonia may hold the key to the Argentine powder factory, but when consistent conditions count, pulling the trigger on a trip to Las Leñas never disappoints.


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