Home and Onward to Argentina
As I finished up a long 3 month block in Calgary for Summer training…I was more then ready to fly back home to Toronto for a bit of a break. Number one on my priority list while I was home was to spend some time up north at our family cottage on the lake. I landed in Toronto on Friday just after midnight. My parents had already ventured to the cottage a day earlier, so my buddy Jon agreed to pick me up at the airport. The two of us decided we were better off driving through the night rather then going home and having to drive north in the morning. We left Pearson airport around 1245am and arrived at the lake around 315am. It definitely wasn’t an easy drive but the roads were open and time flew by as I was catching up on lost time with one of my good friends from Highschool. Also, waking up to the sunrise over the glassy lake made it all worth it! I was able to spend 4 days up north with my parents and other relatives…relaxing, soaking up the sun, swimming, water skiing, ATVing, biking and barging around the lake.
I returned back to Toronto mid-week with a pretty busy schedule ahead of me. I was able to set up a round of golf with about 12 guys at The Summit G&C where my Uncle is the Superintendent. A group of Sponsors, Friends and Family made for an enjoyable evening on the golf course. Although, I was extremely rusty after only hitting the links a few times through the summer. The course was punishing and I found myself searching for lost balls nearly every hole! The following day I entered in my first ever mountain bike race just north of the city. A weekly series that takes place through the summer…more fun then competitive. I wasn’t sure what to expect but as soon as I started riding my competitive nature kicked in and I was sure to push my limits because deep down I wanted to come out on top! After 15Km of riding, I managed to win the category that I was entered in…reassuring me that I was in good shape from all my summer training in Calgary! Last on my list of things to do while at home was a photo shoot for Sunskis eyewear. Once again, this was a first for me. Honestly, I felt more nervous for this then I do at the top of a ski race! Haha. I spent about an hour in front of the camera trying to act natural, modeling different shades and clothing. I think I have some work to do, but it was a very fun/hilarious experience for me. I spent a few more days at home, relaxing, spending time with my family/friends and packing for my upcoming trip to Argentina!
On paper, it seemed as though my flights to Ushuaia (basically the bottom of the World), although quite long, was going to be a walk in the park. Plans changed…as they so often do. It ended up being one of the toughest travel experiences to date. I’ll do my best to lay it out for you:
▪ 10pm Sunday evening: Board plane in Toronto.
▪ 1030pm: Plane moves to runway
▪ 1035pm: still on the runway, not moving. Technical difficulties, engine will not start
▪ 11pm: Plane is back at the gate…waiting for mechanics to fix the broken part
▪ 1am: Received news that Pearson does not have the part…Plane will depart at 1030 am next day.
▪ 2am: myself and 3 of my teammates cab back to my house and go for a late night swim and get to bed by 3am.
▪ 1030am Monday: depart from Toronto-Santiago-Buenos Aires.
▪ 2am Tuesday: arrive in BA and collect about 100 pieces of luggage/equipment, which needed to be moved and loaded into a truck.
▪ 330am: check into BA hotel.
▪ 4am: sleep
▪ 10am: back to the airport to check-in….with all of the luggage! (What a mess!)
▪ 230pm: depart for Ushuaia.
▪ 6pm: arrive in Ushuaia. Once again collecting all the bags and loading them.
▪ 730pm: Arrival at final destination!
After close to 48 hours from when I left my house for the Toronto airport, two nights in a row with less 5 hours of sleep each night, and transfering 100 pieces of luggage about 6 times…we finally made it. Everyone grabbed a bite to eat, settled in and went straight to sleep, excited to wake up and get back on snow the following day.
So far we have had 5 days of training here in Ushuaia. It is my first time being here and although we are in a small town in the middle of nowhere, it’s been great so far. Exploring a new town and skiing new slopes is always very fun. The town is quite typical to most of the other places I have been in South America…. Quite run down, lots of graffiti, plenty of garbage, muddy, and tons of stray dogs roaming the streets. A completely different culture and lifestyle then we have in Canada, but definitely a neat experience and a new adventure.
As for the skiing, so far I am extremely impressed. The training availability at the mountain, (Cerro Castor) which is in the Tierra Del Fuego mountain range, is outstanding. The variety offered to teams for training is top notch. There are 6 or 7 different training hills that offer everything from flat easy slopes to steep and icy terrain. This is the main reason why so many National teams from around the World travel so far to train here in the summer. Some other Nations that are here include: the Italians, Austrians, French, Fins, and Slovenians. We started slow, on some easier slopes with soft snow and slowly ramped up the intensity as we worked through the first week on snow. Since we are located so close to the Ocean, the weather is constantly changing. They say, “If you don’t like the weather in Ushuaia, wait 5 minutes”. This has proved true so far. One minute it will be sunny and calm on the mountain and the next we are in a full on blizzard. Makes for difficult training where we are forced to adapt to changing conditions on the fly.
Today is our first day off on this long camp. We still have close to 3 weeks left here to hone in our skills as the season approaches. Although it is sometimes boring here off the hill, the on-snow training is incredible…which is what we are here for! I am looking forward to seeing what the upcoming weeks have in store for us. Although, I think by the end of the camp I’ll have had enough Ham, cheese and croissants for breakfast to last a lifetime LOL.
Till Next time, thanks for reading!