YES Explores Chile For Their New Movie – Part 3/3
After a few days of dancing with the ocean, eating great food with new friends and soaking in the sun, we hear of tales of new snow and soon-to-be clearing skies. No more than a few hours later the crew is now complete in Santiago, as we meet Mr. Solberg at Mall Sport, a mall entirely dedicated to sports and a main sponsor of the Mekis’s company. Offering a store for every sport and with facilities like an artificial wave, climbing wall, race car simulator, etc, it is the coolest shopping mall we’ve ever seen. JP just got worked on the fake wave waiting for us and he’s now ready for a celebratory arrival drink. Back at the Villa, Jolgorio (a puppet who’s the actual “owner” of the Villa) welcomes us from above the table, ready to overlook games of cachos and listen to the stories of the reunited compadres.
Since this is the first official team shoot where all three founders of YES are together at the same time, an easy attitude and simple fun snowboarding is the plan. Now that we’ve received a new coating, the riding seems really good on the slopes next to La Villa but evident signs of a shallow base are still visible. Hand carved by the dominant westerly winds of the southern hemisphere that sweep the resorts sideways, countless ready-to-be-slashed windlips are awaiting us hungry snow surfers. Those waves are also where most the snow accumulates, therefore leaving open slopes with death peppers hiding under shallow pockets. In other words, ride on eggs until you hit the windlips.
La Parva, El Colorado and Valle Nevado are three neighboring resort that all offer great freeriding. On years where the snowpack is thicker, the area is a mountain goat’s paradise. Added to this is the simple fact that snowboarding in winter conditions while your friends north of the equator are sweating and dreaming of a simple winter breeze feels pretty good.
El Colorado has a good park and huge runs on the backside that end on the road to Valle. Valle Nevado has more terrain, the better park and the world's steepest T-bar . After only two days of riding off-piste, our fresh new boards look like they’ve been through seasons of rock war. We’re getting some good wave slashes, but the snowpack is way too shallow to trust any landings off bigger jumps. We agree that we should check somewhere else and our guides propose to migrate south to Termas de Chillan about six hours from Santiago. They apparently have a generous snowbase and if it didn’t get hit by the wind we could be lucky and find some deepness.
Since our Chilean super-guides require only 3-4 hours of sleep and are never tired, they drive our asses through the night down to Chillan with a total of 14 snowboards and surfboard and a jet ski in tow. We are ready for everything, but after two runs in Termas we were suddenly happy we brought ocean gear. The wind did hit it first. Snow on the otherwise awesome, forested, sulphuric gas releasing mountain is bullet proof. Pato and Fede were prepared for plan B and had a house reserved steps away from the Pacific to meet with a group of friends for another surf session.
The brothers also organized a day for us to take part of Save The Waves and help rebuild greenhouses in a small coastal village right near the epicentre of the February earthquake. Those houses will now be used to grow flowers that the ladies of the village will sell to support their families. On the grand scheme of all the destruction that we’ve witnessed caused by the quake and the tsunami along the coast, it seemed like there’s so much more to do. But Chileans that were affected keep smiling and living their peaceful lives, slowly rebuilding their community one brick at a time. The smile shining on the ladies faces repeating muchas gracias definitely made us glad to donate a bit of our time while being in the area. After all, Chile has being great to us; it’s only natural to give back as the chance presents itself.
After four days of riding some of the best waves we’ve ever seen, we return to ride Valle Nevado and El Colorado only to be greeted by a dusting with just enough snowflakes to fill in the waves off the ski runs. It really is a trip to go back and forth from the sea to the slopes in a matter of a few hours. We’re just happy to be back on the snow, riding great resorts and bagging a few more days of winter before going back to flip flops. Some serious dancing fueled with Piscola takes place, always ended with a late-late night final game of cachos at the Villa de Jolgorio. Pato, Fede and their friends have adopted us in their tight family; People who at first were strangers are now like our brothers, inviting us back to stay in their homes. It’s clear that we’ll see each other again next year , since when the snow melts and the flowers grow on my yard, another invierno is starting again, just south of our summer.
JP Solberg enjoying a cold one after a solid trip down south | Phil Tifo Photo