Summer snowboard camp: SASS Argentina

Put yourself in place of Andrew Burns. Photo: Ben Girardi Put yourself in place of Andrew Burns. Photo: Ben Girardi

Some people take vacations. Some people travel. Some people travel with a purpose. If that purpose is to crush as much pow as possible in diverse and challenging terrain while pushing your riding to new levels, then SASS Global Travel’s big mountain backcountry program based at Catedral Alta Patagonia in Bariloche, Argentina is the best way to make it happen.

Deep snow in the middle of August is a concept usually reserved for day dreaming, but the mountains that surround Bariloche can easily turn it into a reality. The Southern Hemisphere gives travelers the opportunity to experience full-on winter conditions in truly epic terrain.

Granite spires rise up from the peaks creating couloirs that deposit you into open alpine bowls. Cliffs and pillows are scattered throughout making it a veritable playground. 2,000 vertical feet later, the perfectly spaced trees provide steep untouched turns through what seems to be an enchanted forrest before popping you out at the base of Catedral, South America’s largest ski resort. You are now 100 yards from the hotel compound that SASS Global Travel rents out for their entire crew.

Catedral lends itself perfectly to the SASS Argentina program. The diversity of terrain means that when the weather is clear there are plenty of alpine options. When El Nino hits and it snows for a week, the trees are a perfect haven for deep turns and visibility. Access to the goods takes a couple lifts and simple hikes, but does require quite a bit of terrain awareness and backcountry experience. Although all facilities are modern and the quality of the resort is as high as anywhere, there are dangerous differences to be taken into consideration…

Looking for a real backcountry experience? Chris Coulter. Photo: Ben Girardi Looking for a real backcountry experience with Chris Coulter? Photo: Ben Girardi

Avalanche control work is rare. There are no backcountry gates. Boundaries and hazards may not be marked. Terrain traps are a-plenty. Exits are hidden. Other riders tend to lack situational awareness. And the snow is copious. As a result, even zones that are “in-bounds” may have serious avalanche potential and proper backcountry protocol is required.

SASS Argentina has been in operation for the past decade. They know this mountain and the surrounding backcountry better than anyone. Instead of wasting your valuable time figuring out where to go and how to get there, their guide staff and crew of pro coaches is there to share their extensive knowledge and put you exactly where you want to be starting day one.

Looking to escape the heat this summer and get back into the whiteroom? Take your riding to the next level and experience Catedral through the more-than-capable hands of the crew at SASS Argentina.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Brushing up on your Spanish isn’t a bad idea either.

Check out the full SASS Argentina gallery here.

James Haffner is stoked on this place, we are too. Photo: Ben Girardi James Haffner is stoked on this place, we are too. Photo: Ben Girardi

Best month to shred: August. En Nino.
Best person to ride With: Skylar Holgate, SASS Lead Guide, over a decade in the Andes.
Best person to build a jump with: Andrew Burns
Best first run on a pow day: Amancay
Best tree run: The Gondie Trees
Best in-bounds run: Nubes
Best backcountry hike: Staff Party
Best run to scare yourself: La Conchita
Best hit run: Laguna
Best bar: Jackson Bar
Best brewery: Cerveceria Gilbert
Best on-mountain food: El Cabo
Best nightlife: La Cantina (The Reggae Bar)
Best hotel: SASS Lodge at SoulMax
Best breakfast: Tage
Best hot tub: SASS Lodge at Soulmax
Best grocery store: Todo
Best pizza: Kiosko del Cerro
Best beef: Alberto’s
Best tune shop: Il Laboratorio
Best night to go out: Any night that its not dumping…
Best secret stash: Ask Fran Huidobro

Catedral Alta Patagonia Catedral Alta Patagonia, click to expand.


Where: 20km SW of San Carlos de Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina
Elevation: 7,890 ft
Vertical Drop: 3,773 ft
Acreage: 3,000+ (so much backcountry access)
Park: Yes
Pipe: No
Lift Tickets: $72 USD
Lift Ticket Discounts: SASS Argentina Program


Up Next

October 18, 2017

Provisions 045: Women’s Snowboard Jackets to Live In

Come winter, you pretty much live in your snowboard jacket. You need a good one.
October 17, 2017

Airblaster Presents: March – The Experience

If there is one thing Airblaster is known for, it’s having fun. But if you think its all about...
October 13, 2017

Celebrating the Start of the 2017/18 Season at Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin kicked off the 2017/18 season on Friday, October 13th, 2017 – their third earliest opening of all-time.
October 13, 2017

The Meeting 13: An Interview with Stephen Fox of Drink Water

How Drink Water started as a protest and turned into a company that helps people.
October 12, 2017

Going Down the Rabbit Hole with 686 in Eastern Washington

Discover what it means to get lost in the Rabbit Hole with the 686 Team in Eastern Washington.