“The Making Of”: Oakley Ski Team Rider Pep Fujas’ Commentary From Chile Film Shoot
You’re about to take a peek backstage. But this isn’t your ordinary behind-the-scenes film commentary from the studio…this time, it’s on a massive, snowy mountainside. In Chile. With some of the best pro skiers in the world.
Oakley’s Seth Morrison is the center of attention in an upcoming ski film – and his O teammates are on the road shooting alongside him in some majestic scenery that can only be found in the Chilean landscape. Hear what Oakley Rider Pep Fujas had to say about the awesome experience – all recorded in his memoirs.
In Pep’s own words:
“There’s always something” was the mantra of our first trip to Chile this summer while working on a movie based on and around Seth Morisson. The first stop of the trip took us to a place called Nevados de Chillan, located about 70km outside of Chillan and a short 6hr bus ride from Santiago to the South located on and amidst many volcanoes. Our spirits were high as we checked the forecast. A medium sized storm loomed in the forecast predicting plentiful snowfall on top of an already seasonably deep base. As we rolled in on the bus and checked in, the weather seemed unusually warm but having lived on the west coast of the US I was unperturbed. The next morning we woke up to heavy fog and high winds at the top which closed the “longest double chair” in the southern hemisphere and rendered us incapable of doing anything. That night, snow and rain intermittently fell and while sleeping a 5.2 earthquake shook the night and the living wits out of us. Maybe not Seth. I glanced over as the shaking commenced and he just laid there undisturbed. Meanwhile, my thoughts were racing back to the days of my youth to when we did earthquake drills in elementary school. What is protocol? Stand under a doorway? Or a sturdy beam? By the time I developed a plan for if it got worse, it was over. Small tremors proceeded throughout the night reminding us of the earth’s power.
Snow finally began to fall on the second day but the top still didn’t open. A couple of us skied a few runs on some low level mank. Throughout the day temps fluctuated and so did the precipitation. Snow. Rain. Snow. Rain. Hot tinning commenced. Ski vocab lesson: hot tinning – The act of getting excessively worked up for nothing. This happens when conditions aren’t working out in your favor and you start exploring all of your options in a frantic cranial scramble. What should we do? Should we move on? Find some sun? Where’s the snow going to fall? Should we stick it out? The next morning we woke up to rain.
“OK boys, it’s time to pull the rip cord!”
We packed our bags and began the process of organizing a shuttle to Portillo. As we lugged our bags to the lobby, huge snowflakes blanketed the ground and temps started to fall. Just as Seth was trying to check out, the power went out. Now what? Is this a trick? Are we the subject of some cosmic joke? It certainly seemed that way. Considering the conditions elsewhere in Chile, we had to stay. About face. Unpack the bags.
The clouds parted and filming began. Throughout the day temps rose and clouds moved in and out creating very challenging filming conditions. In the evening we were able to hitch a ride on a cat to the top of the volcano where an epic sunset shoot was in the making. The landscape was breathtaking and the sunset didn’t disappoint. Seth and I felt like the ultimate tourists, busting out our point-and-shoots every couple of minutes to capture the ever increasing beauty.
After one more day at Nevados de Chillan skiing a couple bigger lines and another evening shoot, it was time to move on to Portillo where we hoped to ski one of the most famous and classic lines in the Southern Hemisphere, The Super C Couloir. Unfortunately for us our shuttle van had a problem with the turbo, so shifting into third gear wasn’t a possibility. The hike went smoothly booting up a well traveled route until 500ft below the crux when the snow turned to rotten slush. We found ourselves slogging up the hill sinking to our waists every other step. Needless to say we tucked tail and turned around having been defeated by the increasingly warm temps.
For our last day of riding before heading back home we went to a small cat skiing operation to the south of Portillo called Ski Arpa. The location was beautiful, the terrain enticing and the snow nonexistent. Well I shouldn’t say that, there was snow but it was as variable as snow can get. It was a mix of ice, crust and punchy rotten grains until it baked and turned into epic corn. We apre´d at the base with a couple of Cristal beers while our hosts threw some meat on the bbq and cued up the sunset. It was a great way to wrap up a mentally and physically challenging adventure!
We high tailed it home in hopes of returning to Bariloche Argentina a week later with deep snow and blue skies. Argentina produced. Check back for more on that story.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Oakley Ski Team’s adventures in filming the new movie.
All Photos By: Pep Fujas, Mark Lassetar and Christian Pondella