Termas de Chillan – Chile Part 1
No one really had a clue what to expect when embarking on the 20 hour journey from Mt. Hood down to Chile. Was there going to be any snow? Will the Rosetta Stone Spanish program pay off? Wi Fi anyone? Mike Hornbeck had spent the last 5 Summers coaching in Oregon and was anticipating a change in environment with coaching at Evolve Chile camps for the next three weeks up and down the expansive Andes mountain range.
The mission objective of the trip was to shoot the second installment of the Meltdown, a project created by Hornbeck, Moxham, and Perron last Summer in Mt. Hood, while being a part of the Evolve Chile program and all of its campers. This meant that pretty much every waking moment of every day was either spent coaching and hanging with campers, or dialing in shots for the movie, both action and lifestyle.
The first night of the trip was spent in Santiago as the rest of the camp began to filter in from destinations spanning from Europe, North America, and Brazil. The hostel that we all stayed at was sandwiched in a block filled to the brim with cafes, restaurants, bars, and bodegas. The sidewalks were loaded with street performers and hecklers. The percussion of the drums and tubs sounding off gave the city a unique and lively pulse. Santiago, a very beautiful city indeed, isn’t a skyline you would expect to see in a country assumed to be pure, clean, and not so heavily inhabited. Trash was everywhere. A layer of smog thicker than that of Los Angeles’ towered over the city. Santiago is in a valley surrounded by the Andes, trapping in all of pollution that the city creates on a daily basis. A 6 hour drive, however, brought us to Chillan, more like the “off the grid” Chile we were expecting to see.
We arrived at Roca Negro, a nice lodge just outside of Las Trancas, where we would be staying for the next week. We were greeted by two large dogs and a small goose named Patricio, who spent every waking moment with the dogs, even sleeping between them in their dog bed each and every night. Funny scene. When we arrived in Termas there was no snow. We were scraping to get by doing anything we could with the little piles of snow we had in our backyard, building little rails and trying to maintain a positive attitude while the rain poured down. Finally after a few days the temperatures dropped and the snow began to fall in respectable amounts, hitting about a foot of accumulation at the lodge; game on. The resort of Chillan is massive. Huge bowls, with spines and fingers, are everywhere. The crowds were minimal and hikes to get to big lines were very short or just a little traverse away. Sketchy coverage did not permit us to enjoy much of the terrain Chillan offers, but the snowfall was enough to ski a few cornice lines and build out a couple of booters into bowls. After Hornbeck, Moxham, and Perron sessioned each of their own booters, the Evolve kids sent it off of them as well without even blinking an eye, absolutely hucking their meat off of these not-so-inviting features. It was one of the wildest junkshows any of us had seen in a while, very impressive.
Despite the trying conditions, we were able to build a solid base for the edit, while all of the kids were beyond stoked to be riding with some of their skiing heroes in a land that was foreign to all. Mike Hornbeck was taken aback by Chile and the Evolve program at large. “Never have I been to a camp that feels more like a film trip and cultural experience. I am definitely going to make this my regular Summer spot in the coming years”. After wrapping things up in Chillan we headed back up to Santiago, where we are about to make our way to Valle Nevado, an iconic Chilean resort just an hour outside of Santiago in the Andes, populated predominantly by Brazilian tourists. This part of the trip will be more park oriented, with photos and updates coming next week.