Our truck skids toward a barrier, we narrowly miss an oncoming 4×4 with trailer in tow. The dust settles and we almost shit ourselves. In contrast to the locals chilled out lifestyle and ‘Chilean Time’ they can be hectic drivers! Fortunately my co-pilots Sam & Keith were above average back-seat drivers and kept us safe while driving our late model Nissan truck.
Sam Smith, Keith Stubbs and I had just finished a super busy time representing SBINZ in Ushuaia, Argentina and it was time to enjoy some more of what South America had to offer. We said our goodbyes to the rest of the team in Santiago and checked into somewhere central city.
Chilean flags were everywhere as they celebrated their national day. We jumped at our first opportunity to buy one from a guy at a toll gate and strap it to the hood of our Wicked Camper 4×4. It almost helped us blend in although we were mistaken for Gringos most of the time until we said All Blacks or New Zealand when questioned. How instant their attitude changed, two islands off the coast of Chile we would say and it was all good from there.
Check this epic snap-shot of the trip by Keith Stubbs:
The snow in La Plava was average, firm and fast however the friendly locals – some of which the boys and I had met during Interski made up for it! The start of each day there would consist of packing up our camper, hanging out with the snow school and sampling their traditional BBQ. We met up the infamous Diaz family, all of which are somehow connected to the snow industry through instruction, professional riding/skiing and accommodation. We shared stories from where each of us had traveled to while we sampled the local beer.
From here we set off south of Santiago, deep into the hills of Chillån and rode Farrilones, Nevados de Chillan, and Corralco. Classic spring conditions for the most part with a couple of powder days in the Nevados area. There is plenty of terrain to choose from and super friendly local instructors to show us around which was great for us! Pretty much all our lift passes were taken care of in exchange for a couple of photos to help boost their social media. Corralco Resort was one of the finest we visited. Perched on the side of a volcano we had the pleasure of enjoying sun filled days as we build a kicker in one of the natural pipes.
After chatting with the locals, we learned of a locals hot pool 15km off the road down a winding gravel road. Nestled in the trees and bush – very similar to NZ was a wooden hut and natural springs. We soon realised we were the only foreigners there and it was not long until we chatted with each other, sharing an insight of where we had come from and where our path was to lead us.
After spending all this time in the mountains and sunshine, we figured a night on the coast was the perfect way to finish up our trip. Pichilemu was our beach town of choice on the way home. We packed away our snowboards after riding some of Chile’s finest mountains and decided to enjoy the coast. Expecting a bustling surf beach town with bikinis, boardshorts and BBQ, we turned up to find much of the town very sleepy! It did not phase us too much in the end because our bodies needed a break from the late nights and socialising. We used the 4×4 to drive along the beach until we found a spot to enjoy the sunset. Campfire, dinner and cervezas on the beach was definitely a highlight. Our accommodation that night – a million billion star rating. It was so refreshing to enjoy a complete contrast to the last few weeks and spend time reflecting on the trip in South America.
What a privilage to see such a beautiful country. Even though we were a huge ocean apart, because of the similar latitude many times it felt like home. The simple life, qualities of Chile & South America we can all admire.