Chile: Day 2

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Yesterday we awoke to bluebird skies and warmer temperatures, which had all of us stoked to hit the slopes. Jamie Oman, lined us all up with new goggles to test to compare styles, cuts, lenses and more from the previous days eyewear testing.

We shredded around the entire mountain for a good three hours and then took a much needed lunch break with some cervezas. The decks were packed with tons of sunray seekers from across the globe enjoying the few remaining weeks of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. After an hour lunch break we split up into two groups, where we would test new snowboard and ski backpacks for the Fall 2008 season. I unpacked my camera bag and grabbed a few lenses, a body and flash to capture what laid a head of us into a snowboard backpack.

Jamie Oman, Ryan Evert and Erik Leines headed to the sister resort of Colorado to take some laps on Ryan’s friends sleds and shred the gnar. Seth Morrison, Dave Steiner and myself rode to the top of Valle Nevado to hike out and up a neighboring peak that was out of bounds.

Seth, Dave and I started our trek at 3:30pm, not really the best time be heading into the backcountry at resort that shuts their lifts down at 5pm. But none the less we charged forward, knowing full well the hike would take about an hour. Half way up the hike I heard the sound of glass sloshing around in my Oakley Snowboard Backpack that we were testing. So, I stopped and opened up the pack to find that the filter to my 70-200mm lens had shattered. For one it was my fault for thinking I could carry camera equipment in a snowboard pack and two it took me a while to clean out the shards of glass. By the time I looked back up Seth and Dave were long on their way to the top.

I continued to hike, only to find that the snow pack on the ground was very hard, I mean so hard that my snowboard boots could not even break the surface of the snow. After giving some thought to this and realizing it’s pretty stupid to follow skiers up hikes out of bounds due to how they can skin, ski and hike faster than snowboarders; I ventured off to the side to take a break and snap some photos.

Time passed and I started to wonder how the boys were doing, just as I was about lose hope at 4:45pm Steiner called my cell. They were ready to drop and get the hell out of the backcountry as the clouds had moved in at this point. Seth and Dave fired down the steep icy run that would later be labeled the “Fanny Pack Hell Run.” Once they made it to my point on the mountain we checked out our best way to get back to the resort. After we figured out our game plan it was a free for all to get down to the Poma lift. Once Steiner and I made it down to the Poma, immediate disappointment set in as we realized the lifts had stopped running and Seth was taking off behind a sled by rope tow. Not knowing if we would get the same pull out, Steiner and I began another hike in the white abyss that was sky had become. After about ten minutes of hiking the sled was back to save the day.

We finally made it down to the resort and jumped right into the man sees-pole, aka – the hot tub at Valle Nevado. After a few beers and watching Steiner receive a not so pleasant face shot climbing out the pool, it was time for dinner.

Today we hit the backcountry on sleds, the story will be up tomorrow morning first thing with tons of photos – so check back soon as the crew ventures into the unknown.