BD athlete Drew Stoecklein ripping it in South America—Dispatch #5
Black Diamond ski athlete Drew Stoecklein is spending six weeks skiing in South America, hitting the mountains in search of steep lines, blower pow and a cultural adventure. He will be providing us with weekly updates on his travels, complete with photos from the slopes.
Here is Drew's fifth dispatch:
Traveling in a foreign country can be a very difficult task in many ways—not to mention figuring out the culture. Argentina in particular has some absurd cultural ways that can make your head spin. If you are going to plan a trip to Argentina there is one thing that you need to keep in mind: the "A Factor”. Below are a few situations where the “A Factor” has turned my “American World” upside down.
American World: Stopping during an incredible day of skiing for a quick bite to eat and a drink.
A Factor: It is going to take at least an hour for a quick bite to eat. Argentinians love to sit down and enjoy a great meal and don't understand that anyone would like to do anything different.
American World: Showing up to an appointment exactly on time.
A Factor: “On time” in Argentina is 30 minutes late and fashionably late would be an hour.
American World: Going to the disco at 9:00 pm and thinking that you are going to party for a few hours and go to bed.
A Factor: The disco is not going to open until 1:30 am and is going to rage until the chairlift starts spinning in the morning!
American World: Seeing sunny weather in the forecast and thinking that you are going to ski everyday for the next week.
A Factor: Sunny weather can mean massive amounts of wind that will rip the chairlifts off the cables.
American World: Calling it an early night in hopes of an epic pow day when rabbit- and condor-sized snow flakes start to dump out of the sky.
A Factor: You should dance until the sun comes up or until you get kicked out of the disco because chances are the lifts will not be able to spin because of avalanches.
American World: Talking to a shuttle driver and agreeing right off the bat to pay the offered amount.
A Factor: You are going to get worked over and should have bargained for a better deal or offered some money under the table.
American World: Chatting to a local girl at the disco about how hard you rip on skis.
A Factor: Argentinians love condors. Talking to her about these massive birds will impress her a hell of a lot more than anything you can say about your skiing.
The A Factor is a very important part about learning the ways of Argentina. The best way to deal with the A Factor is to sit back, take a deep breath, and order another bottle of incredible wine or a Fernet & Cola. If you can't relax in Argentina and go with the different flow of things, you are most likely going to go insane. This will lead to trying to get an early flight home. The only problem with going home early is the A Factor... it will get you again when your plane doesn't arrive on time or and an avalanche traps you on the road.
Below are some photos from product testing with Columbia Sportswear at Las Lenas, Argentina. This week I’m traveling with Ride Guide TV to Ski Arpa in Chile!