Team Member Summer Adventures: Christina Bruno
Catch up with PSIA-AASI National Team members as they share their summer adventures and how it keeps them on their game for winter. Here’s how PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team member Christina Bruno is spending her summer.
How are you spending your summer?
My summer has been packed with adventure! l am a full-time guide for Explorer Chick Adventure Co., an adventure travel company for women that brings unique itineraries, activities, and endless SHE-nanigans to amazing destinations within the U.S. and across the world. I worked multi-sport trips in the Smoky Mountains (Tennessee–North Carolina), Moab (Utah), and Zion (Utah), before spending a month in Croatia and Peru, and then a couple weeks in the Dominican Republic for a surfing, hiking, canyoneering, and beach adventure trip.
What’s been your big summer adventure?
My big summer adventure was working in Peru and ticking off one of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. I led an amazing trip that started with exploring the Cusco area and surrounding Incan Ruins, then hiking up to the top of Vinicunca, or Rainbow Mountain, to an elevation of 17,000 ft.
After summiting Vinicunca, I led my group on a downhill bike ride starting at 14,000 ft where we descended 7,000 ft through rural Peruvian villages to the Apurimac River. There we jumped on rafts to paddle class III and IV rapids for three days on our way to the Sacred Valley. Getting to sleep under the stars next to the river was special. We were the only people we saw for three days. Once we departed from the river, we journeyed our final leg to the Sacred Valley stopping for a Via Ferrata and Zip Line high up on the cliffs before getting to Ollyatambo.
The next morning, we got to experience the beauty of Machu Picchu, a truly incredible and spiritual place.
After saying goodbye to my group, I began a solo journey to one of the deepest canyons in the world, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Cotahausi Canyon. Few tourists reach the depths of the canyon and my journey there and back was quite an adventure!
Why was this on your to-do list?
I love to travel, and Peru and Machu Picchu have always been on my bucket list… so getting assigned to lead a trip to Machu Picchu was a dream come true.
What did you learn?
I learned about the culture and history of both Croatia and Peru, and that no matter what country you’re in, or what language is spoken, people skills are the key to fostering connection. I made so many friends in my travels, many who helped me navigate daunting distances and barriers I encountered in my solo travels to Cotahausi.
I learned to be bold, connect to everyone (even if you don’t speak the language, communication comes in many forms), and be open and adaptable (especially when you get on the wrong bus)… So many of the skills that make you a great snowsports instructor translate to traveling abroad.
How does this keep you physically and mentally engaged in the offseason?
My trips had a rigorous schedule with a variety of physical challenges and activities. Squeezing in time to stretch is super important to stay nimble. The problem solving involved in guiding keeps me mentally fit. Staying up to date with conversations on the task forces and meeting with regional committees keeps me engaged and active in the PSIA-AASI community in the off-season.