Photos and words by PROBAR athlete Tony Pavlantos
“One day a week, one week a month, one month a year!” Pete Carney patiently proclaimed after I let out an exasperated sigh while coming to a temporary resting heart rate in his office chair. He was acknowledging my physical and physiological state. I had put my self through the ringer trying to progress my athleticism, design a technical backcountry equipment product, and build a house. As a mentor in contemporary design and extreme diverse physical prowess he engrained in my persona the need to flow through life giving your mind and body the rest it demands.
I took the next day off to share a day on the river fly-fishing with my mom. Seeing her smile as her first brown trout was released into the Provo River was priceless… I haven’t quite figured out how to revamp an entire week each month yet, but it has dawned on me that for over a month each year I travel to Argentina to work in a setting I do not encounter anywhere else.
Along with some very close friends, for thirty-two days straight we guide snowboarders and skiers through the backcountry terrain of Patagonia. Daily, I hear the amplified echoes of hoots and hollers as a client rides the line of his or her life! I share a smile when “the best day I have ever had snowboarding” is proclaimed! The feeling I get when spending a day in the serenity of the mountains with a new friend is indescribable. As a professional athlete I generally share these moments on a different level trying to produce imagery for credible acknowledgements. But to set that aside for a short time and help others accomplish their goals is genuinely unique and rewarding.
Condors with wingspans up to twelve feet soar overhead in front of each approaching storm. This is a local folklore that has proven to be dead on. The Andes are climatically diverse. An unexpected gust of wind can knock you off your feet and humble you as you traverse around the granite spires of each Andes ridgeline to peer into an untracked line of powder filled bliss.
Face shot after face shot you stop below your run and realize the cold fingers you felt at the top are over run by the beating of your heart felt in your throat. Each day is spent hiking and skiing these mountains, eating the local farm raised grass fed beef, and drinking the Malbec wine. For a vegan this is a paradigm shift. I go to Argentina to break that routine and in every literal sense I do just that. My bag of PROBARs is my tie to sanity when my body craves the clean fuel we take for granted at home.
I welcome you to visit Bariloche, Argentina and come ride with me and SASS Global Travel. We take backcountry travel seriously as each client is equipped with a beacon, probe and shovel and is trained in partner rescue for an entire day in a hands-on scenario.