Chilean Freeskiing Championships: Q&A with Max Kuszaj
Kicking off the 2015 Freeride Series
With the dog days of summer comes the kick-off event of the 2015 Freeride Series. The sixth Chilean Freeskiing Championships will be held at El Colorado, Chile. August 20-25. We caught up with Max Kuszaj, Freeride Series host announcer, to see what the event has in store for the ski world.
POWDER: Of the tour’s five stops, El Colorado is the only South American venue. What makes it awesome?
Max: [El Colorado] is the same venue as we have used in the past, and we’re just really excited to go back down. It’s the best venue all season long. It’s outstanding, with a 2,500-foot vertical loaded with features. The snow is looking good now; there’s a decent base and at a month out, there’s a good forecast. The event is technically in the backcountry—it’s off the resort—but we ski straight down to a road which accesses another resort. You get the traffic…it’s right outside Santiago…stopping to see what’s going on.
Why is this event a can’t-miss?
The sport of big mountain freeriding is a household thing these days in the states and overseas in Europe, but it’s still growing a lot in South America. They’re playing a sort of catch-up game in the industry. It’s cool to be around this grassroots feeling with competitors from around the region. And $10,000 USD up for grabs for the athletes.
What’s this grassroots vibe like?
There’s not a ton of big mountain athletes to come out here, but [the athletes] are hungry and seeing the future, and what’s possible in the sport. [This event] gives athletes a great opportunity to kick off with some points. You see different countries and different cultures adapt, and what’s popular in the world. The Chileans are excited to have people from all around the world be there, to show them what they have to offer as far as a resort and what lies in the Andes.
This is the 2015 Freeride Series’ first event. What’s going to make it a good start to the Series?
It reminds you that it is August, but winter is right on our doorstep. It’s August and you’re skiing pow. It resurrects the winter vibes going into the fall. You come into the middle of summer and everyone starts jonesing again, and with all the movies coming out in September and October, you start feeling this vibe that the season is right around the corner. Can’t complain.
Where to find event information:
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