Thursday, September 24, 2009

Powder South

After a few days of enjoying the Raddisson Hotels accommodations and a trip to the Santiago Zoo it was, at last, time to go skiing. This turned out to not just be another day on the hill, it turned out to be a much great experience. Instead of going to the Powder South Heli Lodge we got in the elevator of the Raddisson Hotel and headed up to the roof where the heli picked us up and brought us into the mountains, and to our amazing guide Jerry. Once Tim Konrad(God), Ralph Backstrom, Mattias Sullivan, and myself got acquainted with this legendary guide we started on our mission.

Jerry our guide was very experienced. He was one of the founders of Valdez helicopter skiing and new the business very well. Once Tim had explained to Jerry what we wanted to accomplish Jerry took us straight to the goods. Bump after bump we found ourselves on top of amazing terrain with perfect snow conditions. It was as if Jerry could just smell the goods from a mile away. We skied run after run and by the end of the first day we were all wondering if it could get any better than this.

At dinner that night we sat and talked to Jerry about what kind of terrain we liked to ski and showed him some footage of the past couple weeks. We decided that we could go down and check out the map of the area and see if we could pick out a spot to go after. Once we found a spot on the map we followed it up with a Google Earth session and went out looking for new terrain the next day.

For the next three days we flew around to new zones and skied every line we could. We had skied multiple first descents and multiple lines that had never been skied before. With Jerry's great knowledge and our madness for skiing we made this amazing experience happen. After being back in Argentina for a couple of days, I look back on the journey and still can not find words to really explain how this all went, just a shit eating grin with some laughs is all I can muster up. So with that said HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heli in the Andes

The past couple of days I experienced some of the most amazing skiing I ever have. Tim Konrad(God), Mattias Sullivan, Ralph Backstrom, and I set out into the Andes with our guide Jerry. We managed to get multiple first descents and shared a ton of laughs. Once I get a chance to sit down I will post some pictures that I took, but for know enjoy the edit.

Powder South, Heli Skiing Chile from Timothy Konrad on Vimeo.

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Remarkable Day

The other day we went out on a mission to fight the weather and hoped that we could get some shots. Chris Booth, Ingrid Backstrom, Tim Konrad(God), and myself set out with the legendary Tom Day in search of something remarkable. Convenient for us there is a ski resort about 2 1/2 hours from where we are staying called The Remarkables. With some scepticism with us we turned the cars in that direction. As we drew closer to the resort, to our surprise, it was indeed pretty %^&$% remarkable. The Remarkables has some of the most amazing in-bounds terrain I've seen here. Once Tom dropped his business card on the marketing manager we stuck our tickets together and went out to give the weather a shot.

We took a short hike off the top chair lift to set up a time laps and to check out the snow. The view off the backside is, most definitely, remarkable. It looks straight down into Queenstown and has some sweet rock formations. Tom set up his time laps and we set off to find some sun.

With no sign off the weather giving in we set out to scout for lines just in case we got a window. After we found some zones we liked we sat and waited patiently to see if we were going to get a chance. After hiking to the top and holding on to our hope we finally admitted defeat and headed down. The weather was not going to give in on this day.

The weather stopped us from filming for the day, but did not stop us from skiing on. We found a run off the back side that took us back to the road where we could catch a shuttle back up to the lodge. Once Tom and I got some pics of Ingrid standing next to the sign for the run, we turned on the tunes and let them go. At the end off the day everyone was smiling ear to ear. We got in the car cranked the radio and mumbled to ourselves, "what a remarkable day!!!!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

World Heli Challenge

After waiting for seemed like years, the sun came out and the World Heli Challenge was on way.

The first event to get off was the Freeride event. They dropped us off at the top of the venue and gave us all one hour to cruz down the course and build whatever jumps/jibs we could find. It was pretty amazing to me how well everyone worked together to make this simple hill turn into madness. There were multiple jumps and little features in every direction you looked. The event was phenomenal. It was everything that i had expected it to be. Kids were throwing down all kinds of sick tricks and stopping them. At the end off the day we skied down to the pick up zone and got back into the heli. This turned out to be just as exciting as the event. The pilots that were flying us are complete cowboys who are not afraid to push their machines to the limit. After getting the ride of my life we set down, gave some high-fives and went back home to get ready for the next day.

The sun came out even stronger the next day for the Big Mountain event. I was thinking that since there were some athletes that skied in the park most of the time (and didn't even know how to put a beacon on) that the event venue was going to be pretty simple. But Harro and his crew were looking to put on a show and dropped us off on the most amazing venue I have ever competed on. There were spines, cliffs, exposure, jumps, shoots, everything you could imagine was somewhere on this venue. My expectations for this event weren't even scratched tho. I was under the impression that this was going to be one of the gnarliest Big Mountains events I had ever witnessed. Most of the athletes that I was looking forward to watching skied more conservatied lines to stay in the race for the over all title. In a competition point of view that sounds like a good game plan, in an entertaining point of view it was pretty unimpressive. But that is just my point of view, I'm sure there are others. Harro managed to squeeze in two runs for everyone and by the end of the day everyone had shit there pants at least once. After the skiing was done we got back in the helicopters for a hell of a ride back down to the base. Everyone (except me) had a beer and went to bed.

After two days of competition the third day started. The third event was a "Chinese Downhill." Now I grew up in Squaw Valley and I guess the people in Squaw have a completely different view than the rest of the world on what a "Chinese Downhill" really is. There were no pads, helmets, fire crackers, smoke bombs, ninja starts, knives, swords, guns, spires, spikes, boxing gloves, tight suits, or even shaped skis needed for this one. The event consisted of a 50 yard downhill to about a 90 yard bench to another down hill that ran about 300 yards to the finish. The most challenging part of the course was a little roller at the bottom. The only thing you needed to bring to this event was a pair of tuned skis, nordic poles and your dinner from the night before and you would have done well. For a "Chinese Downhill" I was pretty disappointed, but for a speed race it went pretty well.

Everyone (including the pilots) celebrated the event at the bottom of the race with VnC Cocktails and a wind lip session. Once the VnC was gone and everyone had worked themselves on the jump we packed up and headed out towards a surprise we had waiting for us. At first I thought the surprise was that all the pilots are shit-canned and we had to walk home, but to my surprise the pilots jumped in their helis and fired them up. I have driven in cars with drunk people but I have never in my life been in an aircraft with a drunk pilot. And my god! this was the best heli ride I have ever had. I thought that these guys were loose cannons before, but this brought it to a hole other level. We flew down to our surprise which was actually a jet boat ride back to the base. it was a fun full day with tons of surprises. All in all the World Heli Challenge was an amazing event. I want to thank Harro and his crew for putting in there time and effort and Tim Konrad( for continuing to play his part as "God."

Check out clips on