Ben Girardi – October 17, 2019
Originally posted in 2019 on www.bengirardi.com. Reposted by SBCSkier.com with permission.
Reputed to be brave, unruly and skilled horsemen the gaucho is a national symbol of Argentina, renowned in legends and folklore. However, the heyday of the gauchos has passed. But what does anybody do when their way of life starts to go the way of the dodo? They adapt, they change, they do what they can to remain relevant, and that is exactly what has happened at Mallin Alto.
The abuelo (the grandfather), as everybody refers to him, even those unrelated, is a 97-year-old gaucho. He owns a massive swatch of land that runs up an entire river valley and far into the mountains. While he is out less and less herding cattle and working the area, he does have many gauchos still working for him.
Two of his actual grandsons, one a gaucho, and the other who moved into the city and was introduced to skiing saw another option. The abuelo’s land included mountains, massive mountains, the perfect place for skiing. They decided to build a dome and then slowly build up around it, creating a compound of domes all interconnected at the bottom of 2200-meter tall mountains.
Being on a remote cattle ranch, there is minimal infrastructure. They have run a pump to a nearby lake to supply water and rely on the durability of trucks, ATVs and snowmobiles to make it to the zone. They have created an area that attracts people to ski and shoot commercials from all over Argentina and the world.
Queue us, Mauri, Mauri’s ski clients, Daryll and Ron, and myself. Mauri grew up with the one grandson and had worked at and experienced Mallin Alto before and wanted to share it with us. While we got skunked on snow (windblown, icy, and flat light), we were able to experience the adventure of the place, and the hospitality from the gauchos working up there.
Thanks to Ben Girardi for sharing this. Please check out his website www.bengirardi.com
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