Editor’s note: Our friend Ian Gil of Steep-N-Deep South American Powder Tours sent us this Chilean Trip Report of what he and Curtis Woodman got into a few months back. If you didn’t already want to make a trip to the southern hemisphere this pictorial is sure to change your mind. Be sure to keep your eyes out for Woodman’s “Surf the Earth” video series that will be dropping this fall!
& – Ian Gil
This past Chilean winter STEEP-N-DEEP South American Powder Tours and Pro snowboarder Curtis Woodman linked up once again to film and shoot some of the best backcountry Chile has to offer. With no real plan other than finding powder and some epic spots to camp we set off into the Chilean backcountry for 3 weeks of splitboarding the Andes.
We started this trip in typical fashion by dropping into the restricted backside of Valle Nevado in order to get some sunrise shots of Curtis riding down the valley and splitting back up. From there we headed over to La Parva and started our way into the backcountry in search of some fresh powder. Since it hadn’t snowed in a couple weeks this was no easy task. But as always with a little determination and a lot of hiking we were able to find a couple amazing waves of the white stuff we all love.
One of the things we’ve learned throughout the years of guiding down in Chile is that the weather is about as unpredictable as it gets. With that said we scraped all of ours plans headed 10 hours south to what was going to be our last stop the town of Pucón and the volcano that looms over the town, Volcán Villarica. With packs fully loaded with all of our camping gear weighing in at 60-70lbs or so we started our 5,000ft accent up to the top of Volcán Villarica. After a grueling 4 hours of splitboarding we reached our goal of setting up camp halfway up the volcano. I myself have never camped at a more beautiful spot just above the clouds with a million stars overhead.
The next morning we awoke to blue skies and favorable conditions to make the final split to the top. In true Andes fashion in the blink of an eye all of this changed and was replaced with clouds and 50mph winds. We pushed on as we saw a couple of other groups trying to make the top turn back. The satisfaction of summiting a mountain let alone an active volcano with smoke billowing out of its crater is something that is very hard to describe and can only be experienced. With the goal conquered we rode the 5,000ft vertical drop back down through huge open bowls and valleys to the bottom.