In every event there are winners and losers. At the 2013 edition of Eye of the Condor, held in the tiny mountain town of La Parva in the Andes Mountains of Chile, everyone in attendance "won." Sure, Team Teton Gravity Research is taking home the best video produced during the week on the backs of skiers Colter Hinchliffe, Tim Durtschi, Matt Philippi, and intense shots of a condor. However, and this is not your standard kindergarten teacher "everyone is a winner" speech, all of the edits produced in five days are unreal. All are complete with different vibes, editing styles, and musical choices. The skiing styles were different. The only common denominator was every crew was having its own version of fun in a cold, South American paradise.
"It's really cool to be a competitor and see how much work really goes into producing an edit in five days," says Adam Clark, former E.O.T.C. judge and member of Team Valdivieso. "The level of professionalism is amazing. As a judge, it was easy to take that for granted."
On Friday night, Team TGR won best edit and Team Chill In, playing with a homefield advantage, won best photography portfolio, producing stunning imagery of the Chilean night and sunsets. Following the awards ceremony held at MallSport in Santiago, in front of hundreds, an after party was held at a Chilean night club, where competitors, judges, and event staff blew off the steam accumulated during a week of hiking, shooting, long nights editing, and stressful mornings rendering.
"We'd only see the other teams during dinners and parties," says 4bi9 team member L.J. Strenio. "We knew we were hyped, but we didn't know about the other teams. Once we saw their videos, we knew we all had the same hype about the week. It made for an awesome party to end the week. I had enough drink tickets to try every combination of disgusting Tabasco-inspired cocktails."
A Chilean jam band bounced the crowd around the room with funky bass licks and a bongo player that might've been using performance-enhancing drugs. A D.J. played Chilean and American club hits, while we danced, drank, and sang until the early morning hours.
"I almost paid L.J. a hundred dollars to punch me in the face," says Karl Fostvedt, a member of team 4bi9. "Way too much pisco. I wasn't thinking right."
The night wound down in the morning hours, a Chilean haze had set over Santiago and our brains. Did all that really just happen? Did we really spend a week in a beautiful South American mountain landscape in August? Was that a pow day the other day? Did I see L.J.'s balls in the 4bi9 edit? Yes.