The Playground
Chilean Road Laps
South Am Slash
Volcano Land
From the Hotel Room
What Smog?
Beer Time
Adventure Scouting
See You Next Year

Good Vibrations: A Chilean Postcard

Nic Alegre's artful images del sur

Nic Alegre filed this journal entry with POWDER in late July:

In Chile, wheat bread is pussy bread. At least that's what many of the 20-something skiers who call La Parva their home resort will tell you. I landed in Santiago July 17, and have come to find that the Piscola-hooked Chilean ski scene is small, closely knit, and very, very good.

People here rarely like to be alone. Most nights, you can find talented big mountain skiers Vicente Sutil, Sebastian Vignau, and Raimundo De Andraca gathered around a table in a room with no television awaiting freshly grilled beef to dip in American Sauce—a mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard that you probably won't find anywhere in America. I have been embraced by this culture completely, and thanks to my Chilean family who I became connected with in North Lake Tahoe — De Andraca — I have been given a view of Chilean ski lifestyle that is rare and lasting.

I am not a visitor here, I am not an Eye of the Condor contestant – I am here on a much more culturally and personally significant level because of the generosity — and curiosity — of the beautiful Chilean people.

The road south from Santiago is straight. Not sort of straight — very straight. Ten hours until you arrive in the Lake Region of Southern Chile that is intense, raw and magnificent. We spent five days in Panguipulli — a town that rests in the shadow of three volcanos and sees most of its traffic in the summer months. The terrain is untapped and endless, and with enough snow, "Mocho" turns into a big mountain heaven. Unfortunately for our crew, the conditions failed to cooperate. And so our windy, visually staggering hike to the top turned into an adventurous scouting mission.

Once it started dumping in La Parva we jetted back north to take advantage. If there was ever a picturesque ski town, La Parva is it. The wild-west feel is gratifying to any skier who enjoys the sense of being out there — of getting lost. To watch Raimundo, Vicente, and Sebastian push their limits here and give their lives direction through their skis is to really witness focus and dedication. The Andes are bold, and they've shaped these three lifelong friends into hardened athletes capable of maintaining control in one of the most intimidating environments in the world.