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Thursday, August 12, 2010
Ski bumming in Chile

It only takes 50 switchbacks to get this view of the sunset.

The time has come to leave summer behind and make the journey south to the winter wonderland of the Chilean Andes. K2 skis gave me the opportunity to come down and take part in a photo shoot based out of Farellones, a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Santiago.

After 50 or so steep switchbacks, we reach the small town and ski area of El Colorado, the location of the upcoming Chilean Freeskiing World Championships, which takes place August 17-21 and draws many North Americans. Having never been to this spot, it's a treat for me. Coming down here we leave the crowds of the U.S. resorts and enjoy wide-open alpine terrain all to ourselves.

The crew of K2's Factory Team riders, including Pep Fujas, Andy Mahre, Sean Pettit and Michelle Parker, light up the surrounding slopes. There are mostly beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders here, besides the park riders and ski racers from North America who come for summertime training.

It's been a long summer without powder, until now.

La Parva and Valle Nevado lay on either side of us, offering a massive expanse of terrain to choose from. A short hike in La Parva will get you to McConkey's, a steep snow and rock face named in Shane's honor.

This is my first stop on a trip of visiting new ski resorts. Many new experiences have been absorbed along the way, mixing culture, food, wine and good people. I look forward to my next stop in Termas de Chillan, or Nevados de Chillan as it has recently been renamed too. Look for the future installments from this ski bum in Chile.