Southern Comfort: The Final Chapter

So the past few days have flown by quickly and now as I write this on my flight home I now have to write it in a condensed form. I’m by myself on the flight as I’m heading home 2 days early.

The rest of the crew is heading to the beach for a few days of rest. Lukas is leaving in two days and the others Nitro dogs are continuing to Pucon. Guillome is gonna go to the top of Pucons volcano on his board w/ kite. That’s right. He will summit the volcano by kite. First ascent.

Let’s see now when Lukas last wrote you all we’d just finished yet another 5 star dinner. Well, that next day was a biggie. I will tell you we definitely worked out all those calories and then some. Our French adventure squad was about to take us heliing. We were stoked. We got all together and took the Tres Puntas lift to go and meet the helicopter up top. Sometime up the lift Beb (our French adventure leader) got radioed that the heli was being repaired and wasn’t ready until tomorrow.

It was supposed to be a short hike back to the road. It wasn’t.

So, instead we would take a run on the backside of Valle Nevado and then hike up to the switchback road. It would take less then an hour to get out. Okay and we were off.

Our run actually had less wind affection than the resort and had great powder for the first few hundred feet. We shot some turns and a couple cliffs and basically had a good time. Boy was the backside a lot sicker terrain. It reminded me of Alaska with lots of chutes and cliffs. We got to the valley and traversed down it. Both sides of the valley had crazy lines to look at.

With good powder you can ride for days with new lines each time. Way at the top we could see the hotel. Lots of vertical. So we started to hike on this trail. Jean Robert told us that it was an ancient Inca trail used for ceremonies up at the summit of the mountains. They would sacrifice virgins to the gods up top there. Cool.

We figured the trail would lead right to the road and as I gazed up to see the French dudes way ahead hiking straight up I realized that, now we were hiking pretty well to the hotel. Our grueling hike took no less then 1:45 minutes straight up at 3000 some odd meters.

After I fell onto the road that lead to the hotel, I was happy. I made it and actually felt…..good. Of course, I don’t speak for Regis or Ricky who stumbled up an hour later. It seems Regis had frozen to one of the rocks we billy goated up. Ricky had to coax him up the rock, not an easy task. That night was real mellow as exhaustion took over. Oh yeah we ate sushi.

According to our hosts, this was Luke’s first turn.

Well, the next day we planned to return to the jump and make it flat so we could hit it like a tabletop. Well, Beb had another idea: heli. This time it came through. We had two runs near our excursion of yesterday and even better snow. Lukas learned a real powder turn, Guillome did a sick line with token cliff dropper and I got to thread a nice chute. Oh, Lukas of Italy was feeling bad (major teeth pain the whole trip) so he never came, but went to the jump to prepare it. To top it off we got dropped at the jump. It was the first time any of us had be dropped off at a kicker by a heli.

What kind of a week is this? Well, our jump session wasn’t all that as everyone was just too tired and our beatings off the jump reflected it. We packed it up and headed to Santiago. Of course we thanked Beb and Jean for the hospitality and told them we would return sometime.

The ride down the switchbacks was uneventful except that I almost puked . . . again. And we got to watch the video footage from the day on the laptop. Today in Santiago was nice just doing some shopping and checking out the city. Today was also the day of World Cup qualifying soccer match between Chile and Colombia so seeing the city getting all fired up was also a sight to see.

I am now back to the present time. In my seat on the airplane going home. On one hand I’m sad to depart my friends and Chile, but also excited to go home to Canada and to see my girlfriend, Maria.

Shin upside down on the kicker after being dropped off by heli.

Chile is always a great experience. There is nothing like seeing the culture and checking out different resorts. Termas de Chillan and Valle Nevado both have strong points. Termas has lots of windlips and good trees for when there’s bad weather, and Valle Nevado has lift access and amazing backside or backcountry terrain. Termas has a small resort attitude and local feel. Valle Nevado a European flair with all the amenities.

Lukas and I both were stoked to experience both spots. This trip was definitely and rags and riches affair! Both exceptional in their own way. Now I finish it off with our quotes of the past days and I hope y’all enjoyed our trip as we for sure did.

Quotes: “This is a mystical trail, do you feel the mystique?” Jean Robert in reference to the Inca sacrificial road.

“How do you feel, really?” Regis’ confused look, not soon after completing his almost 3 hour hike out of Valle d’Grande Bowl.

“Shin, how do my turns look?” Lukas after Beb (French adventure champ) tells him that he doesn’t turn properly.

“Are you okay?” Everyone as once again I bail hard either back or shoulder off that stupid jump.

“I have a hat fetish” Lukas Goller after purchasing his 7th beanie in Santiago today.