South America Snow Sessions 2010: Pow, Snow Safety, and Abma’s Greenhouses

San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (August 2, 2010)

In 2004, John Sang Wilbur came up with the idea of opening a summer ski and snowboard camp in Las Lenas, Argentina. Six years later, SASS is now located in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina and is the largest ski and snowboard training program south of the equator. They offer coaching, Spanish and snow safety classes, and college credit through a partnership with Sierra Nevada College of Lake Tahoe–and the South American winter is in full swing.


James Heim loving life in Laguna. Photo: Ben Girardi


Head Counselor Lucas Moore saving some pow for the clients. Photo: Ben Girardi

Pro coaches include Michelle Parker, James Heim, Garret Russell and Dash Longe. For 2010, Skylar Holgate, head snowboard guide at Silverton Mountain, is running the snow safety side of things and is joined by Travis “T-Bird” Eliason (also of Silverton Mountain) and Miles Clark, who has come to Bariloche via Squaw.

New for this year are two sustainability projects. Professional skier Mark Abma founded 1Step in 2009 with the mission to mobilize the ski community to lesson their impact on the planet. Mark is down in Argentina helping SASS lower their impact on the area by building a compost bin, constructing a greenhouse made of recycled plastic bottles, and building a biodiesel reactor to help fuel SASS’s transportation, with the hope of transferring the technology to a local organization at the end of the season.

Michelle Parker holding up a section of a wall of the plastic bottle greenhouse.

Much respect to Mark and crew for getting involved in more than just the skiing down in Bariloche. If you’ve ever thought about skiing South America, now’s the time–hasta pronto.


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