What’s going on in Tierra del Fuego these days?
We’ve got a lot of snow for starters. It snowed starting back in May and we were grooming by mid—late May. Nunatak got its new Pisten Bully 160 in early June. The Kassbohrer representative delivered it and helped get it going. For now, the Club Andino Ushuaia is grooming about 7k at the Jerman, and Nunatak is grooming about 7k up by Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor.
What’s your role with ushuaiaski.com?
I work with the Club Andino Ushuaia both contractually, and as a long time member, to put on the Marchablanca. The big thing with ushuaiaski.com is that it’s the first time that virtually all the parties in the Valley of Tierra Mayor have joined to create a working organization to improve cross-country skiing in the Valley. The Tierra del Fuego Nordic Ski Festival helped achieve this, but most of all it has been a matter of creating a cooperative political environment.
Only 7k at each area, how come?
The local cross-country market cannot support more than that on its own for now. The Club grooms as much of the Jerman as often as it can, but they have limited funds plus the same machine has to go up the road and groom the Martial [downhill ski area] too. Same with Nunatak – they plan to groom more, but first a better revenue structure has to be in place. Alternatively, the Festival solves the limited terrain problem by creating a set period of time during which lots of terrain gets groomed, 12k at the Jerman and 30k in Tierra Mayor.
How does the revenue work now?
Ha, it hasn’t worked. It’s kind of a â€œchicken and eggâ€ problem, there has been limited skiing in Tierra del Fuego because there has been no good trail pass system. There have been no trail fees because there have not been a lot of well groomed trails. The Festival aims to fix this by establishing a basic fee for service agreementâ€”grooming for trail pass fees.
How is the Festival looking?
Up and down right now. We’re still not sure how many pass purchases to expect. The Spanish national team may or may not come, I don’t know yet. Alternatively, the municipal government of Ushuaia and the provincial government of Tierra del Fuego have begun to take some interest in the Festival. We’re all talking together about promotional help for the Festival as well as the possibility of government subsidized grooming for a period of time.
What are the goals for skiing in Tierra del Fuego?
Simple: Improved grooming equipment and funding for the Jerman, a minimum of 42k in the Valley of Tierra Mayor, expansion of the Marchablanca race to marathon length, and eventual Worldloppet status. Beyond that though, there is the big idea of â€œsustainability.â€ Maybe trails could move this entire region towards an improved and sustainable future based on trails, recreation, and open space. This may be a ways off though.
Does the Italian national soccer team really play fÃºtbol?
No, they play â€œanti-fÃºtbol,â€ all their players back on defense. Â¡Aguante Argentina!
Gracias a vos, Â¡yanqui!
Pablo Valcheff lives with his family in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. A physical education teacher by profession, he also operates http://www.ushuaiaski.com and is a passionate connoisseur of soccer or fÃºtbol.
More information and help with skiing in Tierra del Fuego is available through Matt Muir at Skifire Inc., visit http://www.skifire.com or email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org .