We regain consciousness after last night’s debauchery to learn that our skis arrived while we were sleeping. So did the wind. We find less-than-average snow and blustery conditions outside our window, but we didn’t fly halfway around the world to sit in our rooms nursing hangovers. So, we suit up. There’s no better way to set the week’s precedent than to jump in with both feet. I want to take the boyz to my favorite lift-accessed terrain high on the peak, but The Marte lift is closed because of high winds. If I’ve learned one thing in all my years coming down here, it’s to make friends with the locals. I call up my friend Claudio Margaride, who comes through as usual.
Claudio has been working for the Las Lenas resort for more than 15 years, and he takes great pleasure in opening doors for his friends. I first met Claudio in Aspen, Colorado, while competing at the X Games, and we have always had a mutual respect for one another. We’ve shared numerous powder days in both hemispheres and a few epic surf sessions in Mexico. But my best memory of Claudio will always be the day we arrived in Las Lenas last year. It was a perfect blue bird powder day with no wind, yet much to our surprise, the Marte (top) lift was closed. It was Election Day in Argentina, and the lift operators decided to declare holiday. Claudio summoned the cat for a ride to the top of the mountain, where we became the benefactors of our own private powder resort and Claudio became the recipient of a new catch phrase: “Claudio for President!”
He pulls a few strings again today to get us another cat ride, and soon we’re high on the mountain where the snow is cold and grippy, and we’re all alone while the poor fools who don’t know Claudio are waiting for the lifts to open.