Returning to Farellones and Adios a Chile

Farellones, Chile – When traveling with a dozen people things take a little longer. Case in point? Missing the train to Santiago.

After a full morning riding spring-like conditions, we loaded up La Rosa and made for the town of Chillan. The hour-and-a-half-long ride took us through farm country where huasos (Chilean cowboys) line the streets and livestock lines the roads—including one lucky pig, who narrowly escaped an untimely demise after making a run in front of our accompanying minivan. Alas, we didn’t carry the speed of the pig and arrived two minutes late, sealing our bus-borne fate and adding an extra couple hours to the return trip to Farellones. And when we did arrive around two in the morning it was to a hostel-slash-night club with full bass pumping into the clear night. Unperturbed and exhausted, the crew fell into weary sleep in preparation for riding.

Nick DirksThe day broke clear and warm—t-shirt weather above 7,000 feet. While most of the crew sessioned the park at El Colorado, local K2 distributor Eduardo broke off with myself and Aaron Robinson to explore the sidecountry access above the road to Valle Nevado. Despite crusty conditions up high on-resort, we found windblown powder and a consistent pitch for a few thousand feet of vertical to the switchbacks below. A windlip off the top led to numerous rock drop options, which then funneled into a handful of chutes before exiting into a wide-open runout to the switchbacks and Gregg from Terra Sur waiting to shuttle back to the resort for another lap. The drive revealed a collection of steep, hourglass shaped chutes dropping from El Colorado’s boundaries—as gnarly as you want to get.

Nick DirksThe next two days were marked by diverse riding under a warming sun and a move to the Powder Lodge, a beautifully constructed house with gourmet food and a welcome upgrade in accommodations. Rarely ridden gullies inbounds produced spring-time hit runs and it was all capped off with a decadent barbeque from a cast-iron smoker and a quick afternoon visit to ride the artificial wave at “Mall Sport”, a kind of action sport themed mall on the edge of the city—the last thing that may come to mind when picturing a Latin American city, but a good time without doubt.

Thanks go out to Kevin from K2 Snowboarding, Gregg and Eduardo with K2/Terra Sur, Sebastien, the resorts of Termas de Chillan, La Parva, El Colorado, and everyone else who helped us out along the way—getting it done with a big crew can be trying at times but we managed to squeeze a multitude of good times and good turns out of the trip despite a lack of serious snowfall. I can only hope to return again and see the Andes on a big snow day, because if it was that fun in normal conditions, one can only imagine how remarkable the riding would be when serious storms hit the big mountains down south.

Ciao a Chile para ahora, y regresamos pronto.

Photo 1: Aaron Robinson

Photos 2 and 3: Nick Dirks


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