Argentina Ski Instructor Course – Week 9
Week 9 was the last week for the trainees in Bariloche. The course has been a lot of fun with some hard work mixed in. Copious amounts of skiing, as well as culture, parties and exams. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy what Argentina has to offer.
The week started with a drive out to a small village in the Patagonian steppe called Cuyin Manzano, which is in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. Once we arrived in this sleepy little village at the end of a muddy road in the middle of nowhere we were greeted by traditional Gaucho’s (Argentinian cowboys). The weather and beautiful scenery was an ideal setting for the trainees to mount their trusty steeds and go on a ‘hack’ around the beautiful landscape. Snow-capped mountains, desert, pine forests and turquoise rivers and were no challenge, even for the novice riders. After a thoroughly enjoyable ride the group were treated to a Gaucho style Asado which involved even more beautifully cooked beef, traditionally cooked over a wood fire. Course leader Paul being ex-Household Cavalry relished the chance to show some of his equine skills and took some of the group for a gallop in true “Cav Chav” fashion around the tracks.
On Tuesday the group decided to do more freestyle training with some of the excellent coaches at Cerro Catedral. Another sunny day meant we had ideal conditions in the park and most of the group did continuous laps perfecting the tricks that they were learning. Some of the guys were seen spinning comfortably over the bigger jumps in the park, riled on by Paul and the presence of a camera…..there’s nothing wrong with a bit of Kodak courage! Tuesday was also an excellent opportunity for some of the trainees to top up their goggle tans.
On Wednesday some of the group went for a final spin up on Cerro Catedral while others relaxed and made their last trip into town for souvenirs. Once again we finished off the day with another Asado at the Hotel as a ‘last supper’ and to help engrave fond memories of standing around the fire pit in a truly social eating experience.
The next day we bid farewell to Ivan and Colo who have been the Argentinian mentors and course directors (legends!). Everyone was sad to say goodbye after all their hard work in ensuring the course ran smoothly, and for making our experience in Bariloche as fun and active as possible. Nevertheless this wasn’t the end of the course as the trainees jumped on a flight to Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, to stay for a further two nights.
After dropping off their bags and a having a quick spruce up at the centrally located hotel, we went out for dinner together at a wonderful Tango restaurant followed by a few jugs of beer in an Argentinian hipster bar. There was a great atmosphere and the group also did well to interact with some of the locals, which was helped by the fact they were studying to be interpreters.
After a few hours sleep and a coffee the group hopped on the metro to another part of town to take a bus tour of the sites. Dropping us off at the old town San Telmo where more trinkets were bought for loved ones. This was an ideal place to shop for souvenirs as there were antique and vintage clothing shops, as well as a market for more local handmade goods such as leather belts and knitwear. In between the shops and colourful buildings there were Tango dancers and traditional Argentine music.
After a disco siesta we headed into town for our last chance to chow down on some Argentinian Steak at the restaurant La Siga Vaca. This is a very popular restaurant with the locals which is positioned on the waterfront and for £16 you get a bottle of wine, all you can eat meat and salad, finished off with desert. Unbelievable! After the meal the group did a bit of a bar/club crawl around an area called Palermo, which is renowned as THE place to go out in Buenos Aires. At the end of the night they all rendezvoused on the roof of the hotel to watch the sunrise before squeezing in a few hours sleep in preparation for their journey home.
So that’s it. A great group of people all sharing a wonderful experience. The chance to train and ski in Argentina is a once in a lifetime experience which all the trainees are happy to be a part of. We wish them all the best of luck in the future and Peak Leaders will be following their progress in the snow sports World. Buena Suerte!