Dear (Single) Ladies,
Tired of trying to meet Mr. Right through bad introductions, OkCupid, Match, JDate or Tinder? Sick of wondering if an axe murderer will show up or why the dude who's stiffing you with the check for his drink doesn't resemble the chiseled hunk in his profile at all? Do you ever wonder if there's one place in the world you could go and just be surrounded by hot guys -- kind of like MTV's Spring Break -- but in reverse? Or, on a night out with your girlfriends, looked around at the slim pickings have you thought: "Ok. Somewhere there has got to be a place full of eye candy for us. There's just got to be." Well, no worries ladies, I have the answer: Chile.
A few weeks ago, at the ripe old age of None-Of-Your-Business, I decided to learn how to ski. In Chile. In August.
I wasn't particularly excited as, let's be honest -- I've spent my entire life successfully avoiding comfortable yet hideous clothing with labels like "Patagonia" or "North Face" on them (side note: Why do these clothes have to be so damn ugly? Why can't they take a page out of Target or Adidas' playbooks and hire Stella McCartney or Phillip Lim?). And ever since owning a house in the Catskills near Hunter Mountain -- a.k.a. "Ice Mountain" -- I have a fear of being rammed into and/or falling off a cliff. Since then, I've stuck to my specialty: Apres skiing.
But, I'm also at that stage of my life where facing fears comes into play, so I borrowed some aforementioned hideous apparel and headed off on a LAN Airlines flight to Santiago. Or, more specifically, the Valle Nevado ski resort an hour south of Chile's capital.
I had no idea what to expect as the van I was in traversed the 62 gag inducing bends in the road on the way up the mountain. Finally, just as my Dramamine was wearing off, we arrived at Valle Nevado -- a resort compiled of three main hotels (and a host of condos to rent) for three different budgets -- high, medium and low -- four main restaurants (French, Italian, Cuban and continental) and one disco.
As I was checking in, I realized, with a few notable exceptions: My friends and I were four of the only women on campus.
Turns out, at Valle Nevado, the ratio of men to women hovers at around 35 to one -- and unlike other places with a similar ratio, like, say, Alaska, there wasn't a beer belly or unwashed beard in sight. Instead of flannels, the men were wearing jackets proclaiming their countries like "RUSSIA," "BRAZIL," "ITALY, "UKRAINE" or "GEORGIA." It was like I'd died and gone to single girl heaven, a Valhalla of men -- or Manhalla if you will. Somehow, by sheer accident, I'd wandered into the land of Olympic athletes training for this Winter's Games -- it was like my own private Olympic Village.
"They come here to train every August and September," an employee said. I swear, I heard angels singing. Mingling in between the Olympians were other ski-men from Argentina or Brazil with a few Americans thrown in (I met a gaggle of guys from the Upper East Side at check in).
That night, my friends and I hit the club and were immediately welcomed to a table by the Georgian Ski Team. Drinks were guzzled, bad dancing abounded and somehow my friend Heather ended up in a United Nations version of a Hora chair dance made up of two Georgians, three Ukrainians, an Argentinian and a Russian -- as an Austrian danced the Robot to the Black Eyed Pea's "I Gotta Feeling."
The next day, we put on our skis and, as I struggled down the bunny slope, the Russian team did aerial flips off a ramp on my right and the Brazilian team free skied to my left.
"It's like my own private Olympics," I sighed to my ski instructor Sebastian -- who, after 20 minutes, was like: "Enough of this drooling - get your ass down the mountain, I got kids to pick up from school!"
That night at five, the resort's pool-sized hot tub filled up with the Olympians and other mostly male visitors creating a "Man Stew" -- or, basically, every single woman's dream.
"I'm in heaven," Julie said.
"I wonder if they've ever cleaned that water," Robin wondered.
"Who cares?" Heather asked and dove in.
Three days later, I'd made it down the mountain without falling, Julie - who'd been tobogganed off the mountain after an accident -- had been patched up by the Russian Olympic team's doctor, and international relations were at an all time high. Even though my liver was in revolt, I was sad to go... but looking forward to returning. Next year, even if I'm married, I will go back. Because a girl can always use an ego boost and Manhalla.