Charlie Donnelly

August 02 2019


Journey with FW Ambassador Cody Cirillo and his Gravity Haus amigos on an adventure south of the border.

I can barely make out a bamboo forest as I peek through the array of skis strapped to the outside of our gondola cabin. A low-lying fog has almost completely obscured our surroundings. Freddy Mercury serenades us from a blown-out iPhone speaker. Before long, we rise above the white abyss and enter a full-on winter wonderland—a magical kingdom perched upon the clouds. This is Cerro Catedral, the famed ski resort outside of Bariloche, Argentina.

I feel the sacred power of Patagonia the second I step out of the gondola and into the striking landscape. There's an unspoken gravity that exists; I'm taken aback by the enormity of the pure and unbridled terrain. It's my first trip "down South," and I don't know quite what to expect, but this is quite the welcome.

It's August, 2019 and I'm here on content-gathering mission with Gravity Haus, a new, social-focused hotel for the modern adventurer, based in Breckenridge, Colorado. Along with Gravity Haus team member, Zach Berman, and a group of Gravity Haus ambassadors, I'm looking forward to a full week of harvesting the fluffy white stuff.

A wind storm forces major lift closures the following days. A cat driver sends us a video of a chair being blown back and forth like a wacky waving inflatable tube man - it's a sobering reminder that you're at the mercy of nature, especially here in Patagonia. This is the real wild. Down days are filled by getting our hands into anything and everything "cultural". We explore micro-breweries in Bariloche, pet street dogs, and sample the best local massages. 


Days later, after recovering, I enjoy some redemption amid a bluebird day. We venture high into the alpine. Our guide, Piers, takes us to a zone named Laguna; it's just a quick tour away the top of the resort and it's littered with snow features that allow for playful skiing: chutes, wall rides, cliff drops, pow turns and the lot. You could spend a whole season here and never get bored. Filled with excitement and the hunger that comes from missing out on epic pow, I find myself gleaming at the top. Not only was I out there in the fresh air, at last, but I'd earned these turns. Hoots and hollers all around, we ski the sh*t out of Laguna. It's a bittersweet last day on snow. We'll have to wait a few months until we're back chasing the storms in the Northern Hemisphere.

After skiing, we're invited into the asadero of a local guide, Mauri, for our final supper - it's a real Argentinian treat. The hard work and preparation that goes into a feast like this — made for complete strangers, no less — serves as a microcosm of the selflessness of the Argentinians we met throughout the week. We all share passion for beautiful places and sliding on snow, but find the truest value in the deep connections of what it means to be human. We celebrate our last night. It's been a hell of a trip.

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