I just got back from a brilliant trip to Chile. I think the fact that I had not been snowboarding for over 5 months was one of the reasons it was such a refreshing trip – having my board back under my feet and my body intact was great. I met the Relentless team at Heathrow airport (Gary Greenshields, Tyler Chorlton, JT, Dom Harrington and Les Brown, plus photographer and filmers) and we jumped on the plane. After a 10-hour flight via Madrid we arrived in Chile – my first ever Chilian stamp in my passport and entering a brand new country, woohooo.
I think we were all pretty excited and it was straight into the minibus and another 6 hours to get to the resort of Las Trancas in Termas de Chillan. Chile is a beautiful country and I actually enjoyed the drive – although long, we got to take in the sites and countryside with a lot of vineyards, men on their horses with their ponchos etc. Once we arrived we checked out the cool little cabins we were staying in and headed straight to the mountain to get an afternoon shred in.
There wasn’t a ton of powder but the snow was good on the slopes and the terrain looked so much fun. I think just feeling those first turns on my board again after the summer break put a huge smile on my face and it felt like the beginning of my season. There was a great atmosphere amongst the group all week and a lot of joking around went on. We knew we were there to film and get photos but we definitely had a good time doing it.
On the second day we played around in the trees as the weather was bad up top. We built a few small tree jibs and Dom, one of the riders, ploughed full steam into a tree on his run out. I didn’t see it but I heard a huge banging sound and we were all pretty nervous for what the result was going to be. Dom was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs.
Over the next few days we had some powder and found some wind lips, cornices and fun features to play around on, it was nice to bang out some big powder turns. I could definitely tell I hadn’t been hiking at altitude for a while haha – there was a lot of heavy breathing on my part, even after all my fitness training. There were also several natural springs at the resort which we checked out – the eggy sulphur smell was pretty powerful though.
While we were in Chile they were celebrating their 200-year anniversary of independence, so there was three days of celebrating, which was great to experience. Lots of flags were up outside homes and restaurants and we enjoyed wonderful meat and Chilean wine, plus Pisco Sour, the local drink, which I discovered was pretty strong. I learnt some traditional dancing from the Chilean men (who were all about the same height as me, I might add). The Chilean people were extremely friendly, no one tried to sell us things or asked us for money, they were just laid back and welcoming.
We also visited Valle Nevado, 60km north of Santiago. This resort had a lot less snow but again the terrain looked amazing for freeriding and I would definitely like to go back during their main winter season (July and August). Valle Nevado had a pretty decent park so we had a play in this then retired to the amazing outdoor hot tub right by the slopes. From there, we could have a nice Chilean beer, watch people ski, and listen to the live music and dancing of the Chilean locals who put on a great performance. I think we were very lucky to experience all this as the 200-year celebrations meant everyone was in great spirits. I really enjoyed the whole week and can honestly say I saw some of the most memorable sunsets I have ever seen.
Back in Bristol now nursing a tweaked ankle from the trip but looking forward to it healing fast so I can head back to the mountains, this time to Austria.