Revelstokians’ old ski touring equipment earns new turns in Patagonia

Fernando Shammah is on his way to Patagonia with donations of ski gear and avalanche equipment. While most of the donated equipment is old and obsolete in North America and Europe it is considered a luxury in Patagonia.

The club in Patagonia organized a two-day course and an asado (Argentine barbecue) during the first year. Photo: Fernando Shammah

Fernando Shammah is on his way to Argentina along with donations of ski gear and avalanche equipment he’s been collecting.

Shammah began collecting donations of gear three years ago and says it is something he decided to do out of the blue.

“I remember how difficult it was to get into touring and before heading to Patagonia to do some guiding I thought about gathering gear and just taking it there,” said Shammah.

Shammah said during that first trip there was a person filming the group he was with. It turned out the videographer was one of the managers of Club Andino Piltriquitron.

“He offered to purchase some of the transceivers from me. They were all donations. I think I had five transceivers and a probe back then, so I handed them over to him,” said Shammah. “Last year I took more stuff and this year I am taking more as well.”

The goal is to set the club up with 10 complete units that include transceivers, skis with bindings, skins and packs containing shovels and probes. Shammah said the gear being donated will be a big deal to those using it in Patagonia.

“The gear being donated is obsolete in the first world. These transceivers are to be taking out of use according to the CAA since they generate signal overlap. Even though they function properly, technology has advanced a lot,” he said.

The skins and bindings donated are also obsolete for the most part and no longer used in places like North America and Europe.

“A person told me he was trying to sell the skins he donated for $10 on the Stokelist. Nobody even replied. The AT bindings donated are old … prehistoric to what people use in North America or Europe,” said Shammah.

Shammah said despite the age of the donated equipment it will still be put to good use in Patagonia. He said the club allows people to borrow the gear at the cost of the batteries needed for the transceiver.

“So pretty much for free. All of this is to help and none of this is to make profit and is to allow people without the economic means to enjoy ski touring,” he said.

Shammah said he’d like to see the donations continue but it is difficult to say.

“The best outcome of this project would be to have tourists leaving behind gear that they would be replacing,” he said. “For example, last season I met a couple from Rossland. [One of  them] was going to buy new boots for the upcoming winter. He left his old pair behind.”