SGT Session 2: Scoring big in the Andes
Words: Dustin Eldridge
Photos: Ben Girardi
As you read this on your computer, you’re probably sweating out the heat of a North American summer with the sun beating down on you while your snowboard lies thirstily in the corner. Everything’s a distraction until you can once again breathe in and feel the cold, crisp sting of winter air in your nostrils and reunite with your plastic, wood, and metal-edged lover. I know because “you” used to be me. However, I found the secret to an endless winter. While it may take some work and dedication, if you truly love the mountains, you’ll never experience a full North American summer again. SASS Global Travel has the endless winter experience on lock, and after my second trip down south with them in two years, I don’t think I’ll go through another full summer again. My two weeks at Cerro Catedral on the Andean steppe gave me a litany of incredible memories, new friends, and snowboarding I thought I could only experience in my dreams.
Tage, coming from the German word for “days”, is a quintessential part of SGT. This food experience, located on the way to the mountain, is the launching pad for the day. Here, lunches are purchased, groups are formed, and powder dreams begin to be manifested. Tage not only suits everyone’s needs, but gives most SGTer’s their first taste of Argentine culture. Milanesas, alfajors, and some of the best coffee you will ever drink. If you come to Argentina, prepare to eat a lot of beef, ham and cheese, and every sort of baked good imaginable. You won’t be disappointed.
Never hit a backcountry jump before and want to try one? If so, SGT Argentina is the place to be. This was Pete Nossiff’s first backcountry jump session, although it may not look like it. With heavy, wet snow the night before, the building conditions were great, even if the landing may not have been. Regardless, camper after camper sent the jump, throwing every sort of trick in one of the most epic jump sessions I have seen. Here, Peter Nossiff launches and sticks a huge BS Rodeo 7.
Jeff Moran, a mentor to many young riders, can stomp some mean tricks, even if he may not admit it. Here, Jeff pokes a stale on the rhythm-jump course we built in the trees. When the mountain is socked in, we head to the trees and build jibs. Who said you had to go to a glacier to jib in the summer?
While the fickle Patagonian weather can make it tricky to get a bluebird day, once you experience the view from the top of Catedral, it will be enough reason alone to sign up for next year. If you have never been to the Andes, it is impossible to understand the scale of the second largest mountain range on the planet. Combine jagged Andean peaks for as far as the eye can see, intricate cloud patterns, and the enormous (it makes Lake Tahoe look like a puddle) Lake Nauhual Huapi, and you have a feast for the eyes. My words don’t do the scenery justice, but suffice to say that your jaw will drop and your breath will be taken.
Here, Jason Trask sends a BS rodeo on the famous Nubes hip jump. The SGT crew has been building this jump since camp moved from Las Lenas to Catedral about seven years ago. The jump is located on the leeward (the side that gets loaded with snow) side of the top ridge at the resort, and is loaded with Patagonian pow to make a perfect landing year in and year out.
With seven years of experience on the mountain, along with a laundry list of spots SGT guides will take you to the best zones. Even if it has not snowed, there will be wind (it’s the Andes), and wind means pockets of fluffy stuff deposited. Nicki Slechta gets the goods on a pow day, or is it?