Photos by Ben Girardi
This week we’re taking a look at Sass Global Travel (SGT) in Argentina. If you want to shred pow, eat meat, drink wine and generally get a taste of South American culture, SGT just might have what you’re after. Located not far from downtown Bariloche, this camp pretty much has everything you would want in a snowboard camp. Below, is what SGT had to tell us about why you should go.
Why it’s cool for adults, what sets it apart?
Our program is just as much for adults as it is for the 16-year-old shredders. In fact, I’d say the adults are even more stoked on it. Most of them say its like going back to college, but with sick riding, better food (Argentine beef is the best in the world) and an abundance of good, cheap wine.
It wasn’t always that way – our program and the original staff started by guiding a handful of younger clients at Las Lenas nine years ago. But as our staff grew up, so did the clients. It wasn’t long before the adult clients outnumbered the under-18s; dentists, contractors, lawyers, realtors, you name it. It’s not always mixed though, we do offer two “Adult Sessions” around Labor Day, but during four sessions we have a mixed community.
We never lodge adults and kids in the same room, but there’s something awesome about the sense of community that’s created. It’s just a positive vibe in the Lodge… you’ll see a 17-year-old and a 50-year-old working together on a POV edit, not to mention the joy in watching a kids’ face when a 40-year-old Swiss investment banker drops a cliff they’d never touch. It’s not tough to understand why the adults keep showing up – who doesn’t want to go back to camp?
It’s the bomb. Downtown San Carlos de Bariloche (about 20 minutes from our Lodge at the Catedral base area) is a huge center for nightlife in Argentina, maybe the biggest after Buenos Aires. It’s super modern by Argentine standards, there’s tons of bars, clubs and even a casino… but they don’t have free drinks. Bullshit!
I usually try to steer clear of the downtown madness and lead a weekly “Brewery Happy Hour Tour” (read: pub crawl) for our adult clients instead. Owing to the German influence in the area, there’s a really big microbrew scene in Bariloche. I can think of at least six within a half hour’s drive of our place, but the tour usually hits three or four before we start worrying about waking up the next day.
There’s also some great apres-ski spots and a few clubs at the base area too – only a 3-10 minute walk from our place. All in all, we’re really lucky on the nightlife front, since almost every other big South American resort (e.g. Lenas, Portillo, etc.) sits above treeline with zero access to a town at all.
I always have these big aspirations to plan more outside activities, though clients are usually too tired from shredding. But we do have a lot of clients take advantage of our in-house programs. We have AIARE Level I and Level II certifications offered by some kickass AIARE Course Leaders, in addition to a CAA Avalanche Skills Training course for our Canadian friends. We also offer American Red Cross CPR certifications, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), Spanish, Massage Therapy, Action Sports Filmmaking and even some Photography seminars. Oh! I almost forgot our weekly asado, a traditional Argentine barbecue that converts at least two so-called “vegetarians” every year.
We lease a pretty sweet private Lodge at the base of the mountain for our entire season. It’s three stories and sleeps up to 46. We also have an Indoor/Outdoor heated pool and a legit ping-pong table. Most clients choose shared lodging (again, the camp vibe), but we have private rooms and even apartments next door with kitchens and some luxury touches. There’s a big Lobby and fireplace for apres, TV lounge, and a dining room where our chef serves up breakfast, dinner and “tea time” when everyone’s back from the mountain. People go crazy when the homemade donuts and pastries with dulce de leche start rolling out after riding. We’ve stayed a few different places, but this is home for the foreseeable future.
We like to keep our ratios of coaches/guides to clients at about 1 to 5. That of course depends on what kind of mission we have decided on for the day. On any given day, some groups may go deep into the backcountry on splitboards or skinning missions while other groups may stay within bounds taking tree laps or building kickers.
How many other adult campers?
At our Lodge we have accommodations for 42-46 people per week. That’s a mix between females and males, adults and under 18s. The number of other adult clients depends in which week or session we’re talking about. During the first 4 weeks we have about 50/50 ratio of adults to under-18s. Once the 5th and 6th week ( Session 3 ) roll around, it’s 100% adults until we finish up on September 7th.
Oldest camper hosted?
A year ago it would have been 51 years old, but this last summer that number was 52 years old. We have a feeling that this summer it’ll be 53, because the same guys are coming back down again. That should tell you something.
Full session price: $4,890.00
Check out Sassglobaltravel.com for complete details and the types of sessions you can attend.
Want more? Check out the full (in progress) list of Adult Camps:
Powder and barrels at Evolve Chile
Windells – The “Funnest” Place on Earth
Govy life at High Cascade Snowboard Camp
Tour New Zealand with All Star Adventures