Words by KC Deane
Photos by Daniel Rinzler & KC Deane
This second and final session started in Santiago with the arrival of a few more campers to join those finishing up their third consecutive week. Rather than a bike tour of the city, Evolve Chile Founder Dan Rinzler changed things up with a few days surfing.
Like the bike tour, this gave the campers a chance to acclimate and get a feel for Chilean culture. No metropolis this session. Dan wanted surf the first few days away in the small town of Concon.
View from the Hotel in Concon
We settled in late after a long ride from Santiago and woke early to the sound of the ocean pounding outside our hotel room. A short ride from the hotel and we were on the beach getting ready for a mid-morning surf session. The surf instructors got everyone ready and soon all the campers were in the water catching waves. Off-shore storms stacked up and took aim at the coast – making great surf for us in Concon with great snow forecast up at Valle Nevado. The cold water shocked the campers awake and got them pumped to surf all day.
La Playa la Boca
Campers getting ready to hit the surf
Beach front Empanadas. Perfect after a 2-hour surf session
Getting down on some Empanadas with the campers
Post-surf we tried a small empananada stand for some local cuisine – an absolute must if you come to Chile. Our accommodations were at the amazing Radisson Hotel. Not only is it great to be in Chile, but here at Evolve the campers get taken care of. The hotel had an amazing ocean-front view complete with an indoor pool looking out to the ocean. This isn’t your typical bunk-with-a-meal summer camp. The pampering is great for warming up after a long surf session.
Warming up after a morning surf session
After the surf session we burned off the late afternoon exploring sights, sounds and tastes in the coastal town of Valapraiso. The town has a mix of ocean culture from fishing boats to a bustling inner city. It serves as one of Chile’s main commercial fishing outlets and hot spot for killer fresh sea food.
Fishing boats of Valapraiso
Inner City Life
Day three we left our plush hotel and pristine surf to head up toward the mountains. The drive up to Valle Nevado is a crazy single lane road that winds through the hills and up into the Andes. The road is often shut down due to snow. No guard rails and vertical drops for thousands of feet make the road extremely dangerous with even the smallest amount of snow. Luckily we were ahead of the storm.
Back in the Andes, the road to Valle Nevado
We found blue skies and the Andes rising outside our windows the next morning. Termas was a great mountain and Valle Nevado also did not disappoint. With time before the storm, the campers set out with the coaches and started exploring the mountain. Valle Nevado has everything from steep narrow lines, to mellow bowls, perfect jump zones, and a top-notch terrain park.
Sunrise in the Andes
The hotel in Valle Nevado
Session 2 campers
The park director and crew took time off from work to figure out where and what we wanted set up. The entire park staff was eager to build and got right to work getting the park set up with whatever we needed. We (the coaches) loved having a private t-bar for the park. It allowed us to do more with the campers in less time. The campers use more of their energy skiing and less of it hiking the same feature. Of course the campers love it too for the same reasons. The park crew stayed on point all day. They even broke out the Piston bully during lunch to groom out the features to keep everything in perfect shape throughout the day.
Getting things ready
KC checking out the park
Jon Harris feeling out the jumps
Finally, campers and coaches alike were eager for fresh snow after watching the approaching storms from the ocean to the mountains. When the snow finally came I got sick. What luck! It took me out for about three days – which just so happened to be the best days!
Heading out for first tracks
Still getting lines after lunch
The end of the first storm day brought campers and coaches alike to my room for high fives and video evidence of their progress. Even though I couldn’t be out there, they came to me talking about cornices, fresh lines, and face shots – with proof! Of all the days to get sick! But at least all the campers finally got the snow they had been wanting.
Campers learning to send a drop to pow
Snowboard coach Jason Robinson with a back 180
After the storm it was back to the park for most of the campers. It’s great being a coach and watching the campers excel and learn throughout camp. We had campers who were at all different levels, from doing cork 7’s to 180’s, or even just learning to slide a box. It doesn’t matter what the trick is, it’s great to see how stoked they are to set a clear goal and accomplish it. The best part for us coaches is helping them develop a plan and find success with a smile. And of course this is best talked about over more food!
Back to the park
Rider testing out some Moment Jibs
KC Deane, flatspin
Camper sending it in the park
On the hill the food of choice is Cevicha. It’s a mix of Chilean-style barbecue seafood and beef. The stuff was so good, campers were just as stoked to take a break for lunch as they were to ride!
BBQ Chilean Style
The sun then quickly set on the last session. And before we knew it, we were packing up and heading back to Santiago. The last day of each session we take the kids to Mall Sport to do a little surfing on the indoor wave. It’s a great way to kill some time and energy before heading to our final dinner with the campers. Once the water started flowing everyone quickly found out how tricky it was to stay up on the board. Soon all the campers were shredding the wave and getting tubed.
Warming up before an indoor surf session
Camper getting tubed
Post-surf we had a final dinner for the campers here in Santiago. You can’t seem to have sushi without someone eating a large ball of wasabi for gear or a prize. The youngest camper stepped up and took one for the team. He also ended up drinking a nearby fountain nearly dry to get the feeling back in his mouth.
That is all from down here in Chile. Session 2 is wrapped up and everyone has headed back just in time for fall. Something tells me the wait for winter will be a little short this year for everyone who came to Evolve Chile.