San Carlos de Bariloche

26th June to July 16th 2003.

We visited Bariloche in the summer and we decided to go back for snowboarding. We liked the town with lots of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs that give it a real cosmopolitan feel. It is far removed from the standard ham cheese toasted sandwich of South America.

It also has a medium sized ski resort a short but very cramped bus ride from town. Unfortunately some idiot forgot to order the snow this year.

Cerro Catedral ski field is in a beautiful setting reminiscent of Wanaka in New Zealand. Trebel Cone ski field would be just like it you fired half the staff and gave free lobotomies to the management team.

My scariest ever mountain experience in my 300 odd days occurred here on a chairlift that I am sure should be shut when the winds gust over 60kms hr. It was only Claire's second day ever on a mountain and we are on a Chairlift that is lurching from +45 degrees to -45 degrees in 120 km hr wind gusts. Any other mountain in the world would have closed the lifts an hour earlier. We were stuck on this lift 50 foot off the ground while a bunch of lifties radioed their boss to see if they would rather restart the lift or manually abseil everyone down.

If you've got the money and you want to buy a mountain then buy this one because if they can make a profit then a troop of howler monkeys could.

You have to look your best for the mountain!

After a day of sliding on her ass Claire decided to try and master snowboarding by reading about it and wearing orange eye refreshers.

Claire was actually really chuffed that she could stand up on a board.  Jason had other plans and on her first day she was taken to the top difficult slope and made to come down.

By the second day she had learnt falling leaf which is simply sliding from side to side to get down the mountain without having to make a proper turn. 300 metres of vert was being slipped in 20 minutes which is not bad for a beginner.

Teacher Taylor spent lots of time telling Claire not to have her legs stiff and bottom out as it will make her fall. You can see from the photo that either her ears are blocked or the woman knows best. Either way it can only lead to ....

........a sore ass. On Claire's third day she walloped her tailbone trying to do turns with Jason. Walking has now become a problem.  

Two more days have been completed and she is making progress but we are going to hit another resort with more snow as it is pretty icy.

Jason has become bored of no jumps and has now learnt to swear in Spanish to keep himself amused in chairlift queues. Queuing in South America is an art form not practised by those with dignity. The quick and the dead means that if you don't hit your neighbour, push them and then repeatedly swear they might get on the lift before you resulting in irreversible damage to your pride ie: the polite are likely to be removed from the gene pool over the next century.

On a snowboarding day off, and due to Claire's extreme back pain. We decided to go bowling.  Jason won the first game 83-80 which bought immense satisfaction to him. 

We had to wait half an hour for our next game as it was a manual bowling alley and the guy picking up our pins disappeared into the ceiling.

After the rip in the space time continuum, the next game got started and Claire got a spare, strike, strike, spare, strike, all in a row.  Jason couldn't believe his luck as half way through the game he had a quarter of her score. Final score: 155 to Claire, 77 to Jason. Anyone who knows Json knew how much that hurt him.

That weekend, again the snow was not happening, so all three of us decided to have a few beers.  The evenings included, the Irish bar featuring 80's giants like Erasure and a ensemble of never have beens like Shania Twain who really doesn't 'impress me much' when I hear that crappy song every hour.

... but the beer is good and so are the cocktails.

This is Wolfgang on his birthday.  He didn't make any sense after 12 o clock and all he could say was a repeat of what he had said all evening.

After 2 weeks of crappy snow my lack of jumping-practice induced cabin-fever reached boiling point resulting in me debuting my Jim Carey impression to Claire and even agreeing to a photo.

After 3 months without a hair cut and 8 hours wearing a snowboard helmet Claire reckons I look more like my nan than Jim Carey.

Todays comedy sign is not bought to you by the snow report.

It is the logo of the local Casino that we have obviously not visited yet

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