BD athlete Drew Stoecklein ripping it in South America——Dispatch #1
Black Diamond ski athlete Drew Stoecklein is spending the next six weeks skiing in South America, hitting the mountains in search of steep lines, blower pow and a cultural adventure. He will be providing us with weekly updates on his travels, complete with photos from the slopes.
Here is Drew's first dispatch from Chile:
After spending almost every summer of my entire life banging my head against the books in school I finally made it out of the system and for once had my summer schedule wide open. This made for a great chance to peruse my summer dreams of skiing and dancing in discothèques in South America. I have been hearing so much about the epic snow, terrain and ladies it was driving me crazy. As soon as winter ended in the States I picked some random dates on the calendar and booked the cheapest ticket I could. Turns out it is not possible to FedEx human beings to South America, but that would've been the way to go for the price. After Plan A was shut down, I had to go with Plan B: book a normal ticket online.
Planes, trains and automobiles don’t even describe what it takes to get down to South America on a budget ticket to ski in the summer. It’s amazing how buying a cheap ticket means the airlines will fly you to hell and back (Salt Lake to San Francisco to Los Angles to Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile) before arriving at your destination. The airlines must enjoy seeing what happens after putting a passenger in a tin can and rattling them around in the air for 30 hours.
After being thrown around in the tin can for multiple days, I finally arrived at La Parva ski area. Once there, I meet up with Rodrigo Medina, a connection I received from Skiing Magazine and the godfather of freesking in Chile. Right now there are only a few individuals that really explore the backcountry and ski heavy lines, but Rodrigo plans on making La Parva a Mecca for big mountain freeskiers. La Parva is hosting the first ever freesking comp in Chile this year during the first week of September. On top of this, La Parva has named a run in memory of our fallen hero Shane McConkey and will host the first day of the freeskiing competition on the run. It is going to be an incredible event to watch. Below is a picture of the venue and La Parva. Click here for more information on La Parva
Another individual that is helping fuel the freeskiing motion in Chile is Chopo Diaz. Chopo is a seasoned veteran on the World Freeskiing Tour and is the only athlete competing on the tour from Chile. He has created an organization with his friend Fabian Giavio named Circuito Bichos ("The Bug Circuit") that puts on freeskiing competitions for little kids in Chile. They host four events every year with three categories: Slopestyle, Skier/Boardercross and Downhill. The age groups are categorized by different bugs: ages 11 and under are “Fleas”, 12 -14 are “Crickets”, and age 15-17 are “Grasshoppers”. Kids from all over Chile travel to compete in these competitions. Click here for more information on the Circuito Bichos.
Lately I have been skiing with Chopo and shooting photographs with Claudio Vicuna. Below are some images Claudio captured the other day. I'm waiting for it to snow again in South America so we can get the goods. The beautiful ladies and the pisco have been filling my time until next snowfall. There is some amazing terrain in and outside of La Parva that I can't wait to properly shred. It is truly a great place to do some summer training!