I woke up when our plane’s wheels hit the tarmac in Santiago, Chile. The airport was wet from a recent rainstorm—promising snow was falling in the Andes.
With my ski boots thrown over my shoulder and a heavy travel bag stuffed with two pairs of skis, I made my way from the bustling cosmopolitan of Santiago to the small town of Los Andes, home base for the athletes competing in the 2011 North Face Chilean Freeskiing championships.
Jagged mountains encircle Los Andes, snow-capped and striated. In town, however, tangled phone lines droop towards the sidewalk, cacti is more prevalent than trash cans, and tumbleweeds blow when winds race down from the nearby Andes.