BD athlete Jacqui Edgerly reports on her South American freeskiing competitions
Black Diamond athlete Jacqui Edgerly recently traveled to South America for three weeks to film and compete at the first two stops of the Freeskiing World Tour in El Colorado, Chile and Las Leñas, Argentina. Below is Jacqui's write-up from the trip and some killer summer skiing photos.
Ten guys and myself, for three weeks. Well, I actually kind of like it that way... for a couple weeks anyway. The way of a man's mind is so simple and straight to the point. Not much drama, just ski, eat, sleep, ladies and party... over and over again. For the few weeks that I was in Las Lenas, Argentina with the Sweetgrass crew we didn't have much as far as snow goes. Many days we would wake up to gray skies and torturous winds. There was about a week right when I first arrived that the snow came in with light wind and set up the mountains just right. We were able to hike up and ski some sick lines, in creamy South American powder.
We built some kickers, skied some pow, some corn, dominated foosball, rocked the dance floor, drank a lot of red wine and ate a ton of meat. When three weeks came up it was time for me to head over the Andes to El Colorado, Chile for the first stop on the 2011 Freeskiing World Tour (FWT).
After a long bus ride from Lenas, I arrived in Santiago where a friend was waiting for me at the metro station. We drove straight to an asado: a barbeque, where a bunch of hooligans from the FWT were cracking jokes and causing a ruckus... back again with the freeskiing family. It seems as though whenever a group of individuals that share the same passion get together, their energy, motivation and enthusiasm reaches another level.
We take over the mountain, like a bunch of wild dogs let loose. The competition was held on the backside of the mountain on a run that drops 2,200 vertical feel right down to the road. An outstanding venue! For inspection we either had to arrange a ride or hitchhike back down to the base of El Colorado. There was one instance where a beer truck stopped to pick us up. The driver got out and rolled up his 8 roller side doors, all the free skiers piled in like a bunch of cattle and we cruised down the road gripping for life in hope that the doors wouldn't fly open.
The snow was pretty thin and hard on competition day, I skied a simple fluid line with a big air at the bottom. I was expecting a hard landing like the rest of my run, but when I came to land I sunk in and took a tumble. I stood up, skied out, confused with one snapped pole. Shit happens, life goes on. The rest of the competition went amazingly well. Everyone skied unbelievably coming from summer and enduring hard conditions. Drew Stoecklein took it for the men and Jess McMillan rocked it for the women! After an amazing week with blue skies and blazing hot temperatures we packed up and took off to Argentina for FWT stop # 2.
Chopo Diaz, Drew Tabke, Sole Diaz, Lars and I packed into Chopo's Subaru. All of us thought it would be more comfortable and a bit easier to stick all of our stuff in the truck with MSI's (Mountain Sports International) gear. We drove across the border no problem: they just let us cruise on through. We showed up just in time for a brief meeting with the organizers from Lenas. All was running smoothly, snow was still looking slim, but the competition was on. Shortly after the meeting Barlow gave us the update that the truck with all of our equipment was still stuck at the border. Inspection was the next day and the competition the day after. I have never traveled without my boots on a ski trip, until this time. Large lesson learnt! Always have your boots if anything! Competing in rental gear is not the way to go.
Although, Chopo took first, Lars 2nd, Drew 3rd, Sole 3rd and myself in 5th. Super awesome trip... overall. I realized when things go wrong it is usually for one reason or another.