Is sand skiing in the Peruvian desert the future of skiing?

Skiing is beautiful, but flawed. Could sand dunes be the ski areas of the future?

Now don’t get me wrong: no-one loves skiing more than us here at Fall-Line. We’re addicts, powder junkies, unashamedly fanatic worshippers at the altar of Ullr. But even we have to admit there are some fundamental disadvantages to being skiers, largely stemming to the climatic requirements of our chosen obsession: cold and snow. Sometimes it’s hard not to wonder if life would have been easier if another sport had sunk it’s hooks into us first.

Jesper Tjäder and Emma Dahlström contemplate their next line before dropping in

Like surfing, for example. If you’re a surfer and you want to make a pilgrimage to your sport’s most hallowed proving ground, you’ve got it pretty easy: simply hop on a flight to Indonesia, a tropical paradise of beaches, palm trees and coconuts where beautiful people swan around in bikinis and boardshorts. Or climbing, where the Mecca of Yosemite averages around 30°C in summer with little rain. Forget heated hotels, expensive down jackets, heavy ski boots, and complicated snowpack problems on a wind-blasted Alaskan glacier. Everything’s just free and easy when it’s warm and sunny.

And that’s before we even get to the real problem, and our need for cold weather and snow in an increasingly warmer world. When the Swiss authorities predict that all small and medium glaciers in the Alps will have melted by 2050 – just 30 years away – you do have to wonder about the long term future of skiing. But maybe there’s another way – in the desert.

GoPro: Dunes – Sand Skiing in Peru

Join Jesper Tjäder and Emma Dahlström as they go on an adventure through Peru and Ski on the slopes of one of the highest sand dunes in the world. The dune of Cerro Blanco sits at roughly 2100m above sea level and requires hours of hiking in the sun to reach the top.

Jesper Tjäder and Emma Dahlström decided to try exactly that in the massive dunes at Cerro Blanco in Peru. At 2100m high and yielding rides up to a kilometre long, the potential skiing in the area is way more expansive than you might think, and given the consistency of the sand technically every day is a powder day!

Sure, there are no lifts and sand probably gets everywhere, but you have to admit it looks a lot more fun than shivering through a zero visibility January blizzard in ‘Val D’espair’ despite 5 layers of fleece and GoreTex, desperately searching for the next piste maker through the whiteout as you try to work out which ways is up and which is down!