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Thursday, August 26, 2010
Off day


Craig Beaulieu, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Much like the El Niņo of '09-'10 in the Northern Hemi, much of the Southern Hemi has been getting skunked this season. Valle Nevado in Chile has a 20-inch base, with their last snow on Aug. 7. In Argentina, Las Leņas has been afflicted with much of the same: 38 inches up top, with one whopping inch having fallen since Aug. 15.

Brutal.

By some divine wonder, however, down south in Patagonia, at a little place called Catedral Alta, 20 inches of snow fell Wednesday. Thursday ... well, Thursday is anyone's guess. They shut the hill down early on, and it got progressively more socked in throughout the day -- so much so, in fact, that it snowed in town, at 3,000 feet -- a phenomenon on the same footing as stray dogs being cuddled (chalk it up to one more Argentine wonder for the books).

But this leads us to the question: Considering 99 percent of North Americans don't get the opportunity to snowboard when it's not actually winter, what does one do when they arrive at winter, only to be shut down on their first day of the "season?"

One rallies. And surrounds themselves by fellow rally-ers. But where on this green earth does one do such a thing? Let's ask the Roxy team in its entirety. They got up on the hill for a meter-plus of fun times briefly this morning. Or ask Jeremy Jones, Jussi Oksanen, Mikey Rencz, Jamie Anderson or MFM. They're all at South America Snow Sessions outside Bariloche, currently the center of the snowsliding universe, where rumors are brewing faster than clouds can keep up of every shred en route down South changing their tickets to get to there to chase the storm of ... um, August.

No James Bond movie has been filmed at the Hotel Llao Llao, but one should be. Soon.

So what to do, what to do? Much like down-time in the heli-sphere, an off day in Bariloche can entail, for SASS coach Chris Coulter, yoga and studying jiu jitsu. For other SASS personnel, like 2009 Grenade Games champ and Alterna Films rider Craig Beaulieu, before you go stir crazy, this is the time to go crazy-crazy. Just up the road from SASS HQ, there's a hotel that's been gutted and burned up. While some might venture over for a nice dose of tetanus, Bowl-U has been searching for lines.

Back to the Future: El Nino revisited.

"I have a lot of energy," he says. "I've been scoping that place out for a while, and today, I figured, 'You see a window; why not jump out of it?'" Mm hm. My thoughts precisely.

It took him a few tries, and probably some arthritis in his near future, but he eventually nailed it. On tap for tomorrow? Who knows. In all likelihood, more snow, from the looks of things. And with it, more crazy to seek out. Here's to hoping that pans out.