Chile Part II: Valle Nevado + El Colorado
Mike Hornbeck, who was in a deep sleep, awoke to the multiple shutters of cameras and cellphones as everyone rushed back and forth from one side of the bus to the other, attempting to capture the sights and scenes of the base of Valle Nevado valley. We were just 10 minutes out of Santiago and already rapidly ascending the switchbacks that lead you 40km up to the legendary Chilean ski resort, Valle Nevado. The classic photos of the Andes mountains you may have once come across in your geography books were probably taken at or around Valle Nevado, whose surrounding mountainscapes were like no other that we had ever seen. The small village of Valle Nevado had a handful of trendy hotels and lodges spilling off of the cliffs and steep mountains that it integrated itself into, all of them being inhabited by worldly travelers, with the predominant amount being from Sao Paulo and the rest of Brazil. A discotheque rested on top of our hotel, Tres Puentes, that had Ibiza-style club bangers echoing throughout the valley until the wee-hours of the morning, sometimes so loud and unavoidable that one had no other choice but to join in on the fun. A pool-sized hot tub graced the deck of Puerta del Sol, overlooking the Valle Nevado valley, with a dj on hand every day for the apres ski scene.
A shot of the backside of El Colorado shot across the valley at Valle Nevado. Real mountains.
The Andes Express will get you everywhere you want to go in Valle Nevado.
Can you find Mike Hornbeck in this photo? Hotel Tres Puentes, framed with the Andes in the background.
Brady Perron enjoying the scenery.
Just like everywhere else we had been in Chile so far, the locals were completely down and excited to make friends with us foreigners. Despite the language barriers, entire nights were spent with once strangers, playing SKATE, shooting the shit, playing ping pong at the rec center, or enjoying a cold one at the disco. It is no lie that Valle is suffering a painfully slow snow season, one much worse than even Termas’ at the moment. Pals who worked at our hotel pointed out lines that Ian Provo famously skinned and skied just a couple years back, that are now just complete dirt and rock. The locals commented that they had not really received a single cm of snow in over a month, a hauntingly similar story told throughout North America during the same time in our 2012 winter.
None of this mattered, however. We were out on a filming mission, and Valle Nevado had a park and a very willing and able park staff and crew who were down to help us get some features together and stack shots. Hornbeck and Brady weaved effortlessly in tandem throughout the Valle park doing full run continuous shots, switching off feature to feature in the style of the cinematography in the first “Meltdown” movie. Moxham went over to El Colorado and put on a clinic on their jump line and creative little rail and box features. After 5 straight days of perfectly sunny and warm park lap filled days, we were happy with what we had as we wrapped up the skiing part of our film trip.
At the top of El Colorado, Brady points out to Mike the thick smog clouds that cover up Santiago, just 40 km below Valle Nevado.
- At Valle Nevado you could see both the sun and moon in plain sight for most of the day.
After saying our goodbyes to all of our new friends in Valle, with our assurances of a return in the very near future, we were off to the coast of Chile, to Valparaiso to try our hand at some good-old Chilean winter surfing. Despite the fact that it was still Winter in Chile the streets of Concon, a beach city with a beginner-friendly surf break, were filled with beachside empanada stands, beautiful women, wildly colorful homes, and prime skate spots. Valparaiso provided a perfect end to a trip that none of us would soon forget. As we all touched back down in North America, the excitement continues as we begin to hit the cutting board for the film that we will be releasing at the end of September.
Downtown Santiago, near the capital building.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the teaser dropping soon! Cheers!