No Séñas, Argentina and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

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No Séñas, Argentina and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Postby DonJuanPakistan » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:27 am

Saludos!
I write from my friend's apto in Santiago de Chile's Vitacura neighborhood with lovely morning light streaming through the window onto the keyboard as the sun rises over the Andes to the east. I returned last night from a few days in Las Leñas, Argentina where I travelled with a few friends to participate in the Argentinean Freeskiing Championships, stop #1 of the 2012 Freeskiing World Tour. Am I happy to be back in Chile - let me tell you why.

My friends and I were hesitant to go to Argentina in the first place as last year's trip to Las Leñas we a dubious mixture of low snow, border hassles, and a long road. But we forged ahead nonetheless, packing five people and their gear into Chopo's hatchback Subaru. The trouble started early, with the Paso Libertadores which grants access over the Andes into Mendoza, Argentina closed after a substantial snowfall. We were thus delayed 36 hrs in departure, and in finally heading to the pass once it reopened, were delayed about 3 hours in dealing with the 1000's of semi trucks stuck in line as a result of the closure. Finally through the taco/traffic jam and into Argentina, we drove and drove, finally arriving at Las Leñas 14 hours after we started.

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Typical traffic jam on the way up to Paso Libertadores.

I am wont to waste words describing the event. Extremely variable snow, cloudy skies, no helicopter for evacuation and 3 hours of bumpy road to the hospital in case something go wrong (thank god nothing did)... I ended up in 8th place, the top spot going to former multiple world champ Guerlain Chitcherit. The results were decided on day one alone, despite attempts to complete a second day of competition. The following day was rainy with 100mph winds, the day after that we attempted to compete in the better weather - graupel with 100mph winds. Nope.

"But surely," say the hippies, "it is the journey that matters, and you must agree that spending time in faraway lands with friends is an experience to be treasured above results." Fuck you hippies and fuck you Las Leñas. The notoriety this resort enjoys can be attributed to its impressive but never-functioning Marte lift, and a long-standing lie that it is affordable - a legend that sprung out of Argentina's economic collapse of 2001. In practice it is nothing more than a two-bit mafia racket administered to by cold-blooded sicilian-argentinians who recieve direction from the despicable owner, a Malaysian prince named Tan Sri Arumugam.

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Arugaman in a rare moment without his normal group of bodyguards.

For Arugaman, the functioning of the resort's infrastructure beyond the credit card machines and casino is a chore completed only the most minimal extent. The goal is the keep the busloads of gringo freeskiers and Buenos Aires weekenders pouring up the road, slam the gate behind them, and have their signature and passport number in triplicate before anyone can say the word bienvenidos. Bills for lodging, food, and tickets are delivered to the guests near the end of the stay, often at prices different from what is quoted. Don't try to escape - a huge gate rivaling that of Mordor guards the exit, and captured escapees are drawn and quartered in the town square. And once the profits from the ski resort diminish, the resort's more permanent value as a water shed will likely be cause for the lifts to stop turning altogether. Which would hardly be different from its current state.

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Alredadores.

Alas, though I do hate hippies it is perhaps a form of self-hatred, for the sum of the journey was in fact lovely. The mountain range around Las Leñas is unique and beautiful, as are the people not implicated in the corrupt functioning of the resort. 12km down the road from the resort is Los Molles, a still-ungated pastoral community with affordable lodging, open spaces, and warm people offering warm drinks to weary travellers. The skiing surrounding the domain of the resort is expansive, and with the amount of time the lifts actually function at Las Leñas, it is undoubtably more efficient to earn each and every one of your turns. And the future looks bright. The typical 12 hours from Santiago or 6 from Mendoza will be greatly reduced in the next few years. A new 4-season international highway will be open in the next year or two from Talca, Chile to Malargue, Argentina which is some 45 minutes from the area. This is really exciting, as it will offer access to what might be the most ideal ski environment in the Andes - higher elevations than southern chile, but with more snowfall and less wind than the high Andes outside of Santiago.

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Los Molles

Signing off,
Andres Avatarbke
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DonJuanPakistan
Trippin' travellin'.
 
from Seattle, Washington

Re: No Séñas, Argentina and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Postby Diamond Dachshund » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:36 am

Nice write up. I had no idea that Las Lenas was such a nightmare. You're lucky to escape with your life. You must dedicate yourself to destroying the Prime Minister.
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Diamond Dachshund
 
from The Future

Re: No Séñas, Argentina and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Postby skykilo » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:59 pm

Tabke killing it with the hard hitting in-depth foreign correspondence. Naomi and I felt the love with a 2.5 hour wait at the border today so I feel some of your pain.

Buena suerte
User avatar
skykilo
olikyks
 
from Santa Fe

Re: No Séñas, Argentina and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Postby skykilo » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:13 am

Lucky #13. I hope you're killing it with a strong run in the finals today at El Arpa, mi amigo.
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skykilo
olikyks
 
from Santa Fe

Re: No Séñas, Argentina and the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Postby danhelmstadter » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:04 pm

buena suerte compadre!
danhelmstadter
voluntary admission
 


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