There is no polite way to get out of an unwanted grinding sesh with an older Chilean man. You think you have been invited to the dance floor for a cultural Salsa dance and all the sudden, you are trapped, unable to break free, getting lower and lower and… dios mio!
This August I had the privilege of being invited down to Chile with Smith Optics for the marketing photo shoot. I was in great company with Mark Abma and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, as well as a slew of rad snowboarders ar Nevados de Chillan. After many hours on a plane, and more hours on a bus, we turned onto a bumpy dirt road that climbed up to the base of a skier’s oasis. Tucked in the moss-covered trees, the Nevados de Chillan Hotel served as host for grown up ski and board summer camp. In the center of the lodge was a big natural, ashy hot spring that served as the perfect place to ease the ache of jumping back into winter, getting to know some new friends, and tasting my first (of many) pisco sours!
Up on the hill, Nevados de Chillan offers a rolling, undulating, wind-lipped paradise. We got served up some lovely spring shred conditions with a little rain, abundant sunshine and tons of slushy fun. After photo sessions, I had the (every little ski girl’s fantasy) opportunity to bop around with Abma and Sage. Lucky me. I have skied, even pond skimmed, with Abma before and was excited to do more of that, but I had never skied or spent much time with Sage. He is awesome. I had a blast just watching him schucss around and bounce from feature to feature like a Mario Man game. The way he looked at terrain and the confidence with which he skied are two things I will never forget. When we stopped skiing, the fun didn’t. Sage is an animated, killer storyteller and Abma was the best pisco partner out! The snowboarders were cool too (really cool).
Nightlife consisted of family dinners and hanging in the lodge bar while enthusiastic hosts tried to rally us into Salsa lessons, karaoke, twerk offs… We mostly spent the nights sipping beverages, chatting and laughing. One night, we decided to venture over to the casino, the nighttime highlight of the area. I, not much of a gambler, immediately honed in on the Chilean line dance party happening in the back and jumped right in (literally). After hours of hair whips, attempted twerks, cheek kissing and multiple photos with random Chilean men taken by their wives, drenched in sweat we closed the place down, literally being kicked out for dancing to the clean up crew’s music.
It was a great time and a wonderful introduction to South American skiing. I learned I like pisco, I can’t twerk, Sage is legit, and, when in doubt, grind it out! Until next time Chile…