September 12, 2011

Chileno de Alaska

Living in a snowy clime from Halloween to May Day was not enough this season.  This season would mark Kruser's 25th year of life on skis, skiing every consecutive calendar month for the past 300 months.  How to celebrate 25 years on skis in September?  Chile.

The celebration was an exceptional ski trip to a fascinating place with some great ski buddies.  Kruser and I met Bob Yoder en route at Dallas, Vince in Santiago and Brett, Chick, Terry, and Paul in Farellones.  We hailed from Alaska, Lake Tahoe, New York, Boston, Melbourne, and New Zealand.  
L to R:  Kruser, Terry, Bob, Vince, Brett, Paul, Chick
Bob organized The great trip to Tres Valles, El Arpa and Portillo.  At the Argentine border on the now defunct trans-Andean railroad, Chile's Portillo, constructed in the 1930's and 40's, has a Hemingway aura around it. 
Kruser above Laguna del Inca
Portillo is a unique place with its trail blasted out of the cliffs above Laguna del Inca, beautiful hotel, lift over the highway and Chilean switchback highway to the pass.
Wistfully pondering those 25 years of memories is a bittersweet endeavor, but my young man's perspective when Kruser started his quest is not so different now.  And twenty-five years later, we're still riding two planks on snow seeking powder, el nieve polvo, with as much freedom and exhilaration as ever.

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