Learning on the Slopes in Argentina
Argentina, for me, was simply amazing. I've never been so happy or had so much fun in my life. The people on my course were all so different, interesting and friendly, and everyone got along so well. We have all stayed in touch and by the end of the trip we were all so close.
The first month with the Argentinian instructors was a lot of fun. They introduced us to the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) system, something that I was really keen to learn. I had an instructor called Jorgé who was such a laugh and was a really kind, encouraging instructor. I remember one day we had in the powder with him - all we did was video each other attempting somersaults. It was so funny!
The BASI has a motto: "To create a national and international reputation for excellence through the provision of the highest quality of training and support services for snowsport instructors." It sounds boring but it's serious, which is why when the BASI examiners came, things definitely tensed up a bit and it all became very real.
We saw them walking around hotel in their BASI jackets looking very serious, but our nerves were put to rest as soon as they spoke to all of us and introduced themselves in the peaks club.
The Argentinian experience
Our Peak Leaders group played introductory ping pong where we had to say a short fact about ourselves every time we hit the ball and our trainer tried to remember one or two of each person so he could get to know us better. It actually ended up being a good laugh because of some of the funny facts people were coming up with! Having the BASI examiners ended up being a really good change of routine out there. They were so helpful and supportive throughout our assessments too and I really improved as a skier.
Nights out in Argentina were amazing. There was an Irish bar called Wilkenny's that we loved - we all watched the world cup rugby England vs Argentina game in there!
After Wilkenny's we would usually head over the road to the nightclub Dusk where we had a great time too!
There were loads of other places to go as well - but those were our regulars.
For one of our friends, on their 21st birthday out there, we rented outfits from a fancy dress shop in town, which I would definitely recommend if you get the chance. We had everything from monks to prisoners to cave men!
In terms of skiing, the scenery is beautiful out in Cerro Catedral. When you get to the top of the mountain you can see 360 degrees of lakes that look like mirrors when the sun is shining. The snow was surprisingly good and despite the few days of bad weather here and there, like any resort really, we had such nice weather.
Contrary to most people's thoughts about skiing In Argentina, there were loads of different pistes and areas, so it honestly didn't get boring.
In terms of the course structure and arrangements made for us, I thought everything was really great. We had a bus driver called Gustav Flores (amazing name) who took us everywhere and became very much part of our Peak Leaders Argentina family. The staff at the hotel were very friendly and welcoming, and we were treated perfectly the whole time we were there.
I myself do not eat red meat and every meal that everyone ate something I didn't, they'd happily prepare me some chicken or alternative. When we didn't have meals at the hotel, there was a take away place of pizza, pasta and all sorts, which was conveniently next to a huge supermarket that had everything you needed!
The hotel is in such a lovely setting and we were practically the only people there the whole season - it felt like a Peak Leaders hotel really!
Lots of nights out to restaurants and après drinks were arranged for us so we were never short of things to do.
Ivan and Colo were the main guys in charge during our time in Argentina and they were amazing. Always helping us out with everything, making sure we were happy etc - we felt extremely lucky to have them! Ronnie (Chinese medicine doctor and physio) was always around to help anyone with injuries or anyone who was ill, so all in all, we were very well looked after!
To someone who is considering going to Argentina for their BASI courses with Peak Leaders, I say DO IT! It was an unforgettable experience. If you want to meet different people of all ages, be in a beautiful setting with amazing, kind people around to help you with anything, and of course to have loads of fun, then go to Bariloche! I really can't recommend it enough...