BD athlete Drew Stoecklein ripping it in South America——Dispatch #2
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 second dispatch from Chile:
After spending my first week in Chile at La Parva, I witnessed the snow go from soft, playful conditions to bulletproof, teeth-shattering coral reef. I quickly lost my sanity and I had to find some fresh snow. After hours of searching weather sites on the web I found where the next storm was going to hit: Nevados De Chillan. The best single website I found to check the weather and get ski news in Chile is www.chilenieve.com. The next day photographer Claudio Vicuna, and athletes Chopo Diaz, Fabian Giavio and I set out in search of the goods.
We pilled into a small pickup truck and set out on our mission, dodging wild dogs, horses and cows on the windy road from La Parva to Santiago. Condors soared above us in the blue sky as we submerged into the brown smog from the city. The rain began to pour down as we made our way through the city. Thank god we had a tarp covering all our gear in the back of the truck or it would have been soaked to the bone. Charging late into the night in the rain and snow we finally arrived at Nevados De Chillan. The next morning we woke up to a foot of fresh snow on the ground.
We loaded the chairlift and started making our way up Volcano Chillan. Green parrots chirped in the trees and steam lifted off of the thermal water that emerged from the ground. The chairlift creeped along and it seemed to take days to get to the summit. The first turns where incredible, though… it felt so good to be skiing powder again. The terrain in bounds at Chillan is unreal; there are natural hits everywhere and plenty of rocks to fly off. Over the years the volcano has formed gullies all over the mountain, making it the ultimate playground (not to mention the amount of great backcountry access the mountain has to offer). Chillan also is the home of the longest ski run in Chile called Las Tres Maria. The run is 14 km long and takes two chairlifts and two pomas to get to the top. The ride down Las Tres Maria is great with all sorts of wind lips and cornices to jump off.
After three long days of shredding powder, drinking picso and floating around in the natural hot springs we packed up all our gear and set out again, driving late into the night back to La Parva.
Everyone in the truck was extremely beat from the action packed three days. It was so great to explore a new ski area and ski powder for the first time in months. Not to mention skiing on an active volcano for the first time. If you are skiing in Chile, I highly recommend stopping by Nevados De Chillan for a few turns. Below are a few photos that photographer Claudio Vicuna took on our adventure.