Bariloche, Argentina

  • Date
  • 14 July 2001

I haven’t skied since 1991, so I knew I might spend most of the afternoon falling on my head, but still, I was determined to ski Cerro Catedral at Bariloche, one of South America’s premier ski resorts. With rented boots and skis (US$15) along with a half-day lift ticket (US$22), I boarded a lift that took me flying over hills, valleys, trees and skiers.

After 15 minutes of riding above this winter wonderland, I knew I’d soon have to plant my poles and skis – tips held high – and move off the comfortable chair lift for my first run down the icy-looking slope. My stomach knotted over the simple boarding of the chair lift, so imagine how my tummy tightened over the pending dismount. Making matters more complicated for my departure – a couple of young skiers, who couldn’t stop giggling over their plight, were lying in a pile in the narrow exit area.

Finally, no more fretting could take place. This was the end of the ride. I had to glide, or slide, off the lift and ski! Fortunately, I veered around the girls in a heap still laughing uncontrollably, skied to the slope I’d chosen and stopped almost where I wanted, just like a pro.

Brazenly, I thought, “This is like riding a bike. Soon, I’ll be skiing just as I did in Colorado, 1991.” After several runs, the verdict proved otherwise. Still, as I descended time after time, I felt enormous excitement, happiness and contentment. I could still ski, even though I found the long sticks, attached to my feet, spreading eagle far more than I liked. No matter, I felt blissful sliding and floating down the mountain, as I deliberately breathed in fresh, frozen air, while observing the vastness of trees, streams, Lake Nahual Huapi and other skiers – some flitting by on snow boards, a few barreling on like pros and others falling down on their heads.