Magical lagoons. | p: Vickers
Shaken awake by the turbulence, I can hear the plane’s wheels touch down and immediately I know that we’ve made it to Lima, Peru. It was a quarter until six p.m. local time and we had one mission that night: rent a car and drive nine hours into the Peruvian unknown.
We get on the road and started our journey north towards the mountains. Driving in Lima traffic is no easy feat, so we were really looking forward to getting far north out of the city’s boundaries. After many coffees, snickers, and gummy worms we were finally working our way into the mountainous terrain.
Our destination was the Huascarán National Park - part of the Cordillera Blanca and the highest tropical mountain range in the world. This weekend was the Yaku Raymi World Cup race as part of the International Downhill Federation tour.
"WAKING UP ON TOP OF ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING MOUNTAINS I HAVE EVER LAID EYES ON WAS BREATHTAKING AND NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE ALTITUDE."
Roadside onlooker. | p: Ricker
Four a.m. strikes the clock and we’re deliriously driving up the front side of the mountain. Switch back after switch back of perfect pavement as the road leads up to the summit. It took a second for my brain to register but, as we approach the top, it becomes prevalent that we are driving into the heart of a snowstorm.
“...GET YOUR GEAR ON… YOU’RE SKATING DOWN!”
Tunel Punta Olimpica approaches and we enter the portal to the back side of the mountain. Exhausted from the drive we pull over on the side of the road and sleep for a few hours on the summit.
It’s a long way down and no one’s complaining. | p: Vickers
“Tap, tap, tap” I wake up to a Peruvian boy tapping on the window of our car. I open the door distraught and he says “Max… from the IDF!” Half asleep I couldn’t register who I was talking to but responded cordially. “Do you have a skate tool?” he asks next. I reach into the console and hand him a Paris tool for him to crank on his board.
The sun is poking its head above the horizon and we realize that we made it to the magic mountain. Snowcapped peaks surround us, waterfalls dripping along the sides of the rock, alpine lakes, and the perfect 20km long hairpin run descending down the ridge.
I yell to Ricker, “get your gear on… you’re skating down!”