BAKER BOYD SENDS IT TO SOUTH AMERICA
Filmed in August and September of 2022 inside and outside the boundaries of Cerro Catedral, Bariloche, Argentina, Baker Boyd samples the various snow conditions found at the dawn of Patagonian spring. Shot and edited by Palmer Films.
FOLLOWING BAKER BOYD'S ADVENTURE IN ARGENTINA
On August 16th, 2022, I flew out of Montrose, Colorado, with friend and cinematographer Cedar Palmer, bound for Argentina. We were going skiing; but it wasn’t going to come easy.
After barely fulfilling an unanticipated COVID requirement form at the airport, I became aware of no longer having silver status with United. We had to rush to get through security, and there was no time to negotiate. We got a stickler of a check-in agent, our bags were overweight, and we shelled out three times what we expected to get them down to the southern hemisphere. Regardless, we were on our way.
We met a black-market money exchanger and our car rental agent upon arrival at the Bariloche airport. The most economical way to pay for anything in Argentina is in cash, exchanged through a local, not a bank or the airport. The largest bill in Argentina is 1,000 pesos, which is roughly $3 USD. I exchanged $2,000 USD and received enough Argentinian pesos to make me feel like the money should be in a briefcase handcuffed to my wrist.
After, I discussed pricing with the rental car agent in my broken Spanish and slowly realized I’d misunderstood the rate. Argentinean’s use periods instead of commas for money. The currency was not specified before transit and I mistook $30.000 pesos for $30.00 USD.
We needed a 4X4 car for our first few days to get in and out of our accommodation’s steep, unpaved driveway with the recent snowfall. Despite acquiring massive stacks of bills that made me feel like a baller moments earlier, we were brought back to reality, and once again we shelled out three times what we expected to pay. We rented the 4x4 truck for our first three days of our two-week trip, and began looking for a cheaper rental car for later on.
Eager to relax and escape the cold at my good friends Paul and Lala’s cozy Argentinian cabin after a semi-stressful travel day, we quickly realized the cabin had no heat. Thankfully, Paul and Lala sent over their friend, Andreas, who was still in his ski gear, to provide us with two bundles of firewood and an hour of his troubleshooting time. With the heat now working, we fell asleep warm, and fully ready to slide down hills with sticks on our feet the next day.
SHOP BAKER BOYD'S KIT
- Men's Atelier S Ride Free Bib PantsSpecial Price €300,00 -50% Regular Price €600,00
In the morning we met up with our amigo, Max Tabor, and scored some powder at Catedral on our first day. The lift lines were crazy due to it being a weekend, recent snowfall, and it being a holiday. After skiing, we après’d and left the resort happy. But, again, there was no heat when we got home, continuing to test our resilience.
On our second morning, we left the house after some maté, and were then greeted by a protest that shut down the road to the resort. We asked a local in the traffic jam what was happening, he slowly turned to us and with a smile replied, “Welcome to Argentina.” Apparently the resort’s workers were unsatisfied with their wages and had to take drastic measures to get their point across, and this happens once or twice every year. At noon, a resolution was reached, and they opened the road. Some lifts were open, some weren’t. We had a great afternoon regardless of the slow start, and against all odds we returned to a heated home.
On our third day, the resort’s power was out and the lifts were shut down for a couple of hours in the middle of the ski day. Naturally, we grabbed a beer and waited, beginning to realize Bariloche’s infrastructure can be fickle, and these situations aren’t uncommon to the area. I began to look at our mishaps from a different perspective and realize that I can’t worry about things that are out of my control.
Cedar had already mastered this mindset (except if any Colorado sport team loses) and helped calm my nerves; he reassured me the trip was going to be a heater. It had been warm, so snow had melted from our driveway. We drove back into Bariloche and exchanged our fancy 4x4 truck at the end of the day for a two-wheel-drive Volkswagen Gol.
The rest of our trip was epic with corn lift laps and amazing sidecountry access, albeit filled with long lawless lift lines that ironically worked to our advantage. We skirted the sides and completely skipped lines at times, walking to the front and entering in a scatter-plotted manner. We felt guilty but learned that any experienced skier in this area does the same. Ninety-five percent of the skiing population is beginners, and easy to prey upon, as terrible as that sounds.
Argentina is wild in the most literal sense. If there’s open space in a line, you take it. It was chaos—we loved it. We ate great food and met even better people, like those at the Rastafarian-vibed restaurant called El Cabo. Cedar is extremely knowledgeable about said culture/vibe, and immediately hit it off with the owner, Marcos, who gave us “local” pricing, some suds, and helped us exchange more money.
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