One more day in Las Leñas. For a trip that started out with much to be desired, it’s ending with just what I came for. My only regret is that I didn’t have a partner to ski all these amazing lines with. It was strange dropping into one 2,000’ 45˚ couloir after another completely alone. Sure, there were tracks but I hardly saw anyone on the ten or so runs I took from the top of the mountain down the imposing south face. As a result, the pictures to follow leave something to be desired but they give you the general idea.
It’s hard to believe how little skiing I’ve done on this trip as I come down to my last four days. But winter has been hitting the area hard, which is good for the area but tough on tourists with limited time. Like they say, pay your money, take your chances.
I’m not sure how I made all those long ass flights in coach over the years traveling to far flung corners of the world. I guess youth makes us tolerant. It seems I lack some of both these days. The only thing that made the 13-hour flight to Santiago tolerable was the easy access to movies. I think I watched five. Good to catch up on cinema, you know. But the airline industry has us by the balls and they can pretty much do whatever they want. Witness the complete stuffing of most flights and the gradual squeeze on our personal space. I had one centimeter between my knees and the tray table. Is extra room worth thousands of dollars? Maybe.
I haven't been writing much for the last few weeks as news worthy events have been slim. One interesting opportunity that came to pass recently was that two friends and I bought a small, dry cabin on the Kenai. It should serve as a perfect base camp for ski, hiking and mountain bike adventures. The drive from town has always been a bit of a buzz kill for me so now we can eliminate some of the commute for multi-day excursions. We're putting in new windows and cleaning up the yard but otherwise the place is ready to go. Stay tuned for more on that. One thing is for sure, if you told me a year ago I'd own a condo and a cabin in Alaska I'd have shot coffee out my nose (at least, if I was drinking coffee at the time).
Those us paying attention were not surprised by the crushing performances of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg at this year's MMR. However, to speak locally of this likely outcome leading up to the race was near heresy in this part of the world. Alaskans are proud of their athletes and are particularly possessive of this iconic race. There was plenty of grumbling about these "outsiders" coming up before hand. Alaskans love their stars and simply didn't want to see them humbled by foreigners. Not exactly xenophobic behavior but, really, just local pride. But when both winning athletes demonstrated the kind of humility, grace and astonishing athleticism they possess, well, most folks up here couldn't help but love it.