Four hours after getting back from a shoot in PA it was back to the airport to leave for a shoot in Portillo, Chile. The ski resort of Portillo is located about 3 hours drive northwest of Santiago, right near the Argentinean border. This shoot marked the start of filming for the 2011 Warren Miller film and we had a truly all star cast of skiers to work with for the segment. (Daron Ralves, Julia Mancuso, Tommy Moe, Chris Davenport, Julien Carr, Jess McMillan and Colby West to name a few.)
The gathering of such a group in late August was arranged by Spyder clothing and along with Chris Patterson and still photographers Ian Fohrman and Mike Artz we had a great time working in the rugged, but gorgeous Chilean Andes... Unfortunately it was not a great snow year for Portillo so many of the very picturesque, easy to access ski lines lacked sufficient coverage. We mostly ended up filming in the higher elevations, ( around 13,000 ft) where most of the descent snow seemed to live.
While it is always challenging working in these conditions the caliber of the athletes we had on hand made such a huge difference. The talent and ability it takes to make variable snow conditions look good is impressive.
Despite the snow, the Portillo lodge is an iconic part of the ski world that was great to visit. With some of the most friendly and accommodating staff, great food, and storied past, (national ski teams have made Portillo their summer training home for decades), it still has a great local ski mountain feel with enormous ski vitality... The hotel even allowed Colby West to jump out of a helicopter into the pool!