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Border Crossing: Notes from Afar

Border Crossing: Notes from Afar

[ November 2, 2009 - 10:42pm ]
blue drink
Drinking a gaudy margarita among football fans on the way to Antarctica, and ski-mountaineering's celebrity quarterback.

It’s the afternoon of November 1, 2009 and I’m killing time for a few hours in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport before my 10-hour flight to Buenos Aires. I ducked into a joint called Blue Mesa Taco y Tequila Bar to order a house marg (I can expense this, right?) and watch Favre’s first post-Pack match at Lambeau Field. There’s a lot of guys around me, football-watching guys, and the electric-blue concoction you see pictured is what the waitress brought me. I drain it before the guys notice and order a manlier Texas-brewed Shiner Bock.

[ November 2, 2009 - 3:57pm ]
Kris Erickson, Jamie Laidlaw, and Kip Garre in Kathmandu.
Lessons from Nepal, including which hand to eat with and how to improvise when getting your sherpas to keep hiking is like trying to move a herd of legless rhinos. Writer Devon O'Neil reports from his ski-mountaineering expedition to Nepal with three North Face-sponsored athletes.

You learn certain things on your first Himalayan expedition—wipe with your left hand, eat with your right; don't take your eyes off the trail when a 200-foot drop is inches inches from your boot; that black inchworm on your ankle isn't an inchworm, and it's not the one bleeding. Along these same lines, if your expedition is set in an area where almost no Westerners have ventured, it is nearly inevitable that your plans will change—often drastically.

[ October 30, 2009 - 3:30pm ]
Daniel in his KTM X-Bow
Griffin Post heads to Solden, Austria, to watch the first ski race of the World Cup season. If you're expecting a race recap, you won't find it here. But you will find a detailed report on one of Austria's finest post-competition parties.

Like virtually all other Europeans I’ve met, Daniel thinks he’s god’s gift to driving. Racing up to Solden in a KTM X-Bow (a watered down Formula 1 racecar that’s only available in Europe), I’m so puckered, I’m on the verge of tears. There are no lines on the road (nor guardrails), but if there were I’m sure they’d be double yellow. With only Daniel’s reflexes preventing us from a several-thousand foot vehicular tomahawk to the valley, at times I just close my eyes.

[ October 9, 2009 - 3:25pm ]
Ushuaia Tom Day
Skiing Magazine's Senior Editor Sam Bass to Blog from Antarctica.

In about three weeks, I’ll board a plane in Denver with my ski gear and fly
to the southernmost city in the world: Ushuaia, Argentina. My ultimate
destination is Antarctica—the Antarctic Peninsula, to be precise.

Photographer Adam Clark and I are joining a unique expedition conceived by

[ October 5, 2009 - 4:04pm ]
portillo 2009
Beer, corn, and springtime touring in Portillo complete the South American summer adventure. Brigid Mander only hopes that ski season looms around the corner up North in her search for never-ending winter.

It’s mid afternoon on a stunning bluebird day in Portillo, Chile. More cold Cristal beer is on its way to our table at Tio Bob’s.

Today started at 6 a.m., traversing across the frozen Laguna Del Inca with photographer Jonathan Selkowitz and Rewk Patten, one of the U.S. Ski Team’s men’s coaches. We had our sights on Cuatro Dedos, a nice white swath that runs from some high chutes down a few thousand feet to the lake.

[ October 1, 2009 - 7:31pm ]
CAIC fundraiser
Despite the abundance of tan Carhartts and green softshells, the night got surprisingly colorful last night at a fundraiser for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Free skis, a fashion show, and funky chicken suits helped tip the scale towards absurdity.

A ten dollar admission bought unlimited beer, ski clinics, catwalk entertainment, and a raffle ticket for ski equipment. All proceeds were donated to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Friends of Berthoud Pass.

[ September 30, 2009 - 1:44pm ]
Kris Erickson, Jamie Laidlaw, and Kip Garre in Kathmandu.
Writer Devon O'Neil is just days into a 40-day ski mountaineering expedition to western Nepal with North Face team athletes Kris Erickson, Jamie Laidlaw, and Kip Garre. And already, they're being nearly attacked by butcher's knives and disrupting meditation ceremonies. The good news: Their skis have finally arrived.

It is high noon on Monday, Nepal time, when the phone rings. Jiban, our expedition agent, has the news we'd been waiting for since we landed in Kathmandu five days earlier. "Your ski bags have arrived."

[ September 28, 2009 - 5:33pm ]
You are lost on the side of a road in the middle of the night in Argentina. What do you do? Ask a cop for help. Then rent a sled or grab a kite and go skiing.

After being pitched off a Cono Sur bus at 2 a.m. onto a muddy road in Caviahue, Argentina, I have no idea where I am. Somewhere in the cold dark is El Refugio de Caniche, a hosteria owned by an Argentine friend and my next destination. Flashing lights jolt me fully awake: The police have rolled up behind me in the road. I brace for a hassle. But a policeman jumps out and offers to help. Before I know it, my gear is in the back of the police truck and so am I.

[ September 22, 2009 - 6:39pm ]
Patagonia, by Griffin Post (2)
What could possibly go wrong on a free heli skiing trip in Patagonia? Well, the mountains could be caked in ice, for one. Griffin Post channels Thoreau and makes due with bad conditions.

See Part I of Griffin Post's story about heli-skiing in Argentina for an ad campaign with a South American cell phone company here.

[ September 21, 2009 - 2:46pm ]
nepal map
Until recently western Nepal had been mountaineering no-man's land: dangerous, politically unstable, and nearly impossible to get to. Now, three ski mountaineers from the U.S. are attempting to summit and ski peaks in the remote Saipal region.

For decades, far-western Nepal has been ski-mountaineering’s version of outer space — a collection of 20,000-foot-plus Himalayan peaks begging for company, but no safe and easy way to get there.
Even before the Maoist revolution of 1996-2006 — a peasant’s uprising that was headquartered in the west, far from the royal army’s reach, that made traveling there a dangerous game — few outsiders ventured into the region. In fact, many parts remained closed until the late 1980s and early ’90s.