Chile: Day 3
The Oakley R&D Crew in Chile has been challenged by the elements during our stay in Valle Nevado. Snow cover has been suspect at best during our stay, so Ryan Evert (Rolling O Lab Manager) hooked us up with his local boys Cristian Wehrhahn and Juan Paulo Audisio.
These guys have Chile dialed when it comes to backcountry shredding with their five snowmobiles, aka Dos Tiempos. Even though there was no fresh snow, Dos Tiempos showed us the goods in Chile. The key to proper R&D testing is putting our goggles in all the possible conditions, whether that be snowboarding, skiing, sledding or hiking. Cristian and Audisio provided all these conditions for our crew to test in one afternoon.
Dos Tiempos had scouted out our lines prior to our venture and the result was an epic day in South America. So, we charged to the top of Valle Nevado to meet up with the boys on sleds. Upon arrival we were greeted with smiles and high fives as we knew today would be different from the past days of chairlift nonsense.
I would be lying if we said the ride out was easy or safe. But with Dos Tiempos’ guidance we charged into the unknown, and the result was something straight out of a Hollywood script. Going up and over three different peaks we reached an area that still had chalk for us to shred on.
Stoked that we made it out in one piece, we all took turns doing laps on a 12,000-foot peak, cheering each other on while downing some mellow Chilean red wine and smoked salmon. One thing we learned about the South American backcountry was how quick the conditions can change. One minute you are staring at 18,000 foot peaks under bluebird skies and the next you are socked in with a white abyss that reminds you of the “Nothing” from the Neverending Story. At one point Erik Leines and myself were chatting no more than two feet away from each other, but could not see one another.
Knowing these were not the best elements to remain in the backcountry, we ventured home. The sled ride back was interesting from white clouds of nothing to bright sunny skies challenging the E and A Frames we were wearing. Stoked on the results of testing our goggles in all possible conditions the crew wrapped up our day over some more red wine and great conversation.