BD athlete Angel Collinson reports on her Freeskiing World Tour stop win in Argentina
Black Diamond athlete Angel Collinson rallied down to South America in late August and September to compete on the Freeskiing World Tour events in Chile and Argentina. Below is her report about both events, one of which she won. Nice work, Angel!
It’s exciting to see the leaves changing colors and feel the temps drop, reminding us winter is right around the corner! At the end of this summer I cut my raft-guiding season short and left for South America to the Freeskiing World Tour competitions. The first stop was in El Colorado, Chile. I headed down a day before the event to get my skiing legs back under me, and it was great to see everyone and be back on snow. My brother John, another BD athlete, was already down there filming with Sweetgrass Productions, and it was great to compete with him (he just moved up from the junior Freeskiing World Tour). The stokeage levels were running high, despite the difficult conditions. The snow was pretty firm and there wasn’t much of it… the takeoffs were melted back and created additional challenges for trying to pick out sick lines.
The venue was crazy: a big open face/bowl with an elevation loss that was about 2,000 vertical feet… so it was a long run. The area is permanently closed to public and all the athletes had to get permission wavers signed by the mayor of El Colorado giving us permission to ski there. Some people inspecting the run a day early had actually gotten arrested by police waiting at the bottom (the base of the run is right at a road leading to a different resort, Valle Nevado). It was a crazy place, and the scene at the bottom of the venue was one big fiesta: Smirnoff was the sponsor, and because the venue’s bottom was right next to a road, there were a lot of spectators cheering us on.
Despite the difficult conditions, the whole field skied awesome, creative lines. I ended up getting 2nd at that comp, skiing two lines that were pretty technical with a few airs, but it felt good to get back on snow and ski some sick lines. I was just as excited for John, who blew everyone away by placing 5th. To see my brother do so well and stomp airs as big as the top men totally added to the excitement of the whole thing.
After Chile the Tour trucked on over the border to Las Lenas, Argentina. Unfortunately there was hardly any snow there either. But what the mountain lacked in snow, it made up for in beauty. The views there were unbelievable, and the mountains were like rocky goddesses that jutted up out of the flat badlands. To top off the eerie feeling, there were no trees, just rock and snow. Crossing the border proved difficult for the cargo trucks carrying the event gear (as well as a few of the athlete’s equipment, including fellow BD athlete Jacqui Edgerly) and the truck never made it. I feel for those athletes who had to compete on rental gear—it totally sucks. Adding technical difficulties to a lack of snow and windy conditions, it ended up being a one-day event. I skied a fluid line with a few airs that I thought looked beautiful and fun, with little features like straight-lining through a narrow, tall, rocky chute. I ended up winning the event and John got 4th, so we both came away from South America ready to charge this winter.
After that I’m super excited for this coming season, and counting down the days until I’m out of the classroom and on the slopes, shredding with my bro!