SIA Ski Guide To Argentina – Part 3
As predicted the snow came. One meter, quickly followed by another.
For many this would be the dream but for the veteran Las Leñas skier I knew this would mean limited skiing for some time. Safety must always be considered before opening certain areas but Las Leñas are renowned for acting slowly and a large snowfall can leave the resort all but closed for days. Like all ski resorts they have the standard nursery lift open so they can operate in all conditions so you can not argue that there is no skiing.
If this were Bariloche all would not be lost as you have the large town and can occupy yourself easily with other activities but stuck in Las Leñas where they even charge you for a ‘high speed’ WiFi service that barely works, leads many a dismayed and frustrated skier in to a deep depression. The one or two lifts they operate in these conditions are crammed with people and are barely 100 meters long. You are left looking in awe at the potential of the resort that you may never ski!
We distracted ourselves by digging our car out of the first massive dump only to have to do this again 12 hours later… Still exercise is exercise! The other option of going slowly mad in your hotel cupboard, I mean cupboard sized room is not to be considered.
Thank god we skied the few days before the arrival of the snow. As I expected, the resort remained closed except for the limited skiing for the snow plough turners to enjoy for days after. The hotel was packed with frustrated Americans who could be found crying in dark corners and staring blankly at their skis gathering dust.
We packed up and left a day earlier than planned without ever getting to make a turn in the deep powder. As I knew another huge storm was approaching I did not want to get trapped in resort with the road out blocked by snow. Lucky for me or perhaps unlucky for me is I know how great Las Leñas can be. This sucks you in and draws you back in the hope of revisiting those memories you had from seasons long past. I must confess after 100’s of weeks on snow around the world Las Leñas is still one of the best highlights of my ski career.
So began our journey to Buenos Aires, along good quality roads that can have you in the capital in less than 10 hours.
Buenos Aires deserves at least 3 days of your time before returning home. From the final resting place of Evita in Recoleta the impressive Obelisco towering high in the middle of the 16 lanes of Avenida 9 de Julio and the array of architecture that is scattered seemingly at random around this giant city which from the centre to the suburbs has more than 13 million people from a total population in the country of less than 45 million.
If you select the right restaurants you taste buds will be lit up with culinary delights from around the world. I have ate the best steak, and strangely the best Sushi here in BA. The docks at Puerto Madero contains many of these well known places. The best Sushi is found behind the almost disguised fissure of the restaurant Osaka on Avenida J Manso two doors down from Starbucks. Kobe beef, ceviche and sashimi are without question the delights for any palate however you will need a premiership footballers wallet for the bill.
The colourful streets of La Boca are well known and a popular tourist destination, although it is best visited through the the day and avoid straying too far from the centre area. Crime, like in any major city means that you should take the normal sensible precautions. Police are present on every street corner as are opportunist thieves.
Florida, a pedestrian street in the centre of BA is popular for shopping and it is impossible to walk it without hearing “cambio, dollars” shouted at you 100 times.
There is much to see in BA but be aware that it is a fragmented city and therefore careful planning is needed so you can move from one area to another.
As our main focus was skiing we did not have the time to explore this whole giant country. Those with an extra week or a different focus to their vacation would inevitably be drawn to Iguazu. These waterfalls on the border of Brazil will make Niagra Falls a disappointment. A trip to Puerto Madryn to see the whales, elephant seals and many more of its wild life is a must. I have seen many of theses attraction two or three times and would not put off the possibility of revisiting once again.
In my future blog I will be comparing Chile and New Zealand to Argentina as a ski and boarding destination.