WORDS • Juan Maria Carranza
When my South American winter finished in September, I was immediately able to say it was one I will always remember. Down south, it started snowing early in the season, at a rate I haven’t witnessed in a while; as the snowpack filled in the crevasses of the mountains, my connection with the mountains increased, as the shapes changed and my thoughts turned to skiing in places I have only imagined. The temperatures were low, ski resorts didn’t open, there weren’t any airplanes in the sky and my hometown of Barlioche, Argentina, wasn’t swamped with travelers. I was locked in the right place, surrounded by skiers who share my passion.
Yes, it was the perfect season: Having to adapt to COVID’s new lifestyle, my priorities shifted and my usual relationship with skiing changed. Everyone in Argentina was pushed away from their comfort zone, forced to look beyond what was immediately calling our attention. I decided to search even deeper in the vast Andes mountains and, during this process, revitalized what’s most important; to share the mountains with friends and family exploring new areas, making everyday an adventure.
The photograph featured here was taken by the crew at Bad Quality Productions, a local production company, on Cerro Lopez. This winter, we had a chance meeting on the mountain, coordinated our plans via radio and they wanted to shoot my couloir objective with a drone; after four hours hiking, I was at the summit ready to drop.
Bariloche is known for its strong winds and sudden change of weather; this day was notably windy and the moving clouds were an increasing challenge the group trying to shoot; getting a proper shot proved difficult. Drones circled above my head and the mix between adrenaline and nerves was intense but, at the top of the couloir, I was ready enjoy the ride. This photo is from that moment, a chance encounter in the mountains.