Snowboarding in Chile
Horizon Lines Episode 3

Skies of the condor, land of the lefts, gateway into the Andes.
For those that live life sideways, Chile is a powerful vortex that attracts us to its towering, jagged mountains and barren coastlines. This appeal results in an annual August pilgrimage south of the equator and teleporting back into winter. A point comes in the summer where withdrawals reach their tipping points, and the only way to alleviate tension is to drop in on a plane ticket. For a modest fee, an escape into a Southern Hemisphere haven awaits. The Andes have become one of my favorite mountain ranges in the world simply because of the physical release and mental ease they produce. For me, the appeal of foot-powered freeriding is grand. Relying on your own strength to get you up mountains where no one else has been is profoundly rewarding. Jeremy Jones, Forrest Shearer and Josh Dirksen are three guys who have led the engineless charge over the last decade, showing the world the benefits of splitboarding. It was an honor to accompany them on a mid-summer exploration for fresh tracks.

Surfing inspires the type of riding that we do. From seeking out windlips and rollers on the mountain to the board shapes Jones has designed with Chris Christenson, it was only natural to take a couple days to explore the Chilean coast. The beauty of the landscape is overpowering. The lack of concrete commercialism and neon lights has left this part of the world untainted. It is the land before time. The crew’s roots in surfing shined as they paddled out into powerful Pacific currents. Along with a local legend by the name of Coco, the goofy footers took turns ripping the lefts and entering the elusive tube. The lineup is composed of a small community that shares a strong love for their home break. Initially weary of gringo visitors with cameras, we soon connected with the common passion for standing sideways. Coco graciously accommodated us at his farm house less than a kilometer from the beach. Family values are a staple in Chile, as a typical household has several generations living under the same roof. His mother and sister-in-law kept us full with some of the best food we had ever had in our lives. A BBQ with the local crew was the perfect cap to our long weekend, sharing cervezas and jamming into the wee hours of the night. Batteries recharged, it was time to head back into the mountains for more.

Pointbreaks to powder is a mantra repeated and cherished on these trips. Few places in the world make it possible to ride off of 14,000 peaks and get barreled the next morning. Down here, I often find that I am the lone regular footer—well, and Andrew Miller—in this heavy crew of right-foot-forward surf turkeys. Chile is geographically lined up with the perfect features for this majority stance to thrive. Highly revered and intimidated by many, Forrest Shearer, Josh Dirksen, Alex Lopez and Jeremy Jones are all highly adept in both snow and water. Surely the picture-perfect tubes must have something to do with their yearly passport stamp. It's always a gamble traveling this far away from home. So many stars need to align in order to do the type of snowboarding that we attempt to document. We've learned that things cannot be rushed. Chile-time moves a little slower. It is when you surrender yourself with uncontrollable forces when a trip starts to go your way. Tranquilo.

Chile, nos vemos!

The Horizon Lines crew booked it 10 hours south to explore the Malalcahuello National reserve area.

The Horizon Lines crew booked it 10 hours south to explore the Malalcahuello National reserve area. Mid September is hit or miss with snow conditions, but your chance of good weather to shred the volcanos is a sure bet.

Nick Russell stylin through some spring slush.

You don’t need pow to make a good turn, Nick Russell stylin through some spring slush.

Alex Lopez finding some familiar Mt Bachelor windlip vibes in Southern Chile.

Alex Lopez finding some familiar Mt Bachelor windlip vibes in Southern Chile.

Josh Dirksen sniffed out this perfect plantable lip after a long day exploring the Lonquimay Volcano.

Josh Dirksen is the ultimate windlip connoisseur and sniffed out this perfect plantable lip after a long day exploring the Lonquimay Volcano.

Forrest Shearer couldn’t wait to get to the coast and was warming up his surf vibes on the snow.

Forrest Shearer couldn’t wait to get to the coast and was warming up his surf vibes on the snow.

Here Dirksen trying to blend in to his surroundings.

One of most unique things about this southern Volcanic region of Chile is the “Araucaria araucana” or Monkey Puzzle trees. Here Dirksen trying to blend in to his surroundings.

There are no lifts to top of Lonquimay Volcano, but with a quick 45 minute hike, you're in for a good time.

There are no lifts to top of Lonquimay Volcano, but with a quick 45 minute hike, you're in for a good time.

Watch out for this guy when you run out of snacks deep in the Chilean backcountry.

Watch out for this guy when you run out of snacks deep in the Chilean backcountry.

Alex Lopez flowing through the textures of Lonquimay.

Alex Lopez flowing through the textures of Lonquimay.

The Cordillera de los Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world.

The Cordillera de los Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world. After a couple of ridiculously long approaches to try to ride a few distant peaks we learned our lesson in size and scale real fast. Here Josh Dirksen turns with epic view of the lava flow from the Lonquimay massive eruption in 1988 that lasted for almost 13 months!

In case you were wondering, yes we did sleep here.

In case you were wondering, yes we did sleep here. #youdidnotsleepthere

In typical Chile explorado style when the snow goes bad and forecast looks dismal a mandatory coastal recharge is always in order.

In typical Chile explorado style when the snow goes bad and forecast looks dismal a mandatory coastal recharge is always in order.

While down on the southern coast a nice swell filled in and it was a rad surprise to find the familiar face of Chilean big wave surfer Ramon Navarro, camping on the same break we had been hanging at.

While down on the southern coast a nice swell filled in and it was a rad surprise to find the familiar face of Chilean big wave surfer Ramon Navarro, camping on the same break we had been hanging at.

Ramon Navarro in the land of the lefts.

Ramon Navarro in the land of the lefts. If you haven’t checked out his Patagonia documentary “The Fisherman’s Son”, I highly suggest watching it. He has put Chilean surfing on the map along while helping to guard and protect some of its most pristine coastline.

Forrest Shearer & Josh Dirksen head out for a session.

Chile or The South Pacific? Besides the cold water and wetsuits pretty hard to tell the difference. Forrest Shearer & Josh Dirksen head out for a session.

Our buddy Coco, El Hefe of many misty Southern Chilean breaks, lays into an epic afternoon session in his backyard, always stoked to share a few with a bunch of snowboard gringos.

Our buddy Coco, El Hefe of many misty Southern Chilean breaks, lays into an epic afternoon session in his backyard, always stoked to share a few with a bunch of snowboard gringos.

A bunch of snowboarders who love to surf.

A bunch of snowboarders who love to surf. Clockwise from top left: Forrest Shearer looking for mini a cover-up. Alex Lopez dawn patrol. Josh Dirksen lays a mean turn on the snow and water. Jeremy Jones hiking back to the point after a long ride.

It always hard to leave to coast, but once the arms are shot and the legs are rested the mountains call with plenty of new snow.

It always hard to leave to coast, but once the arms are shot and the legs are rested the mountains call with plenty of new snow.

Forrest Shearer stoked to be shredding a nice frozen right after a solid week of lefts in the water.

Forrest Shearer stoked to be shredding a nice frozen right after a solid week of lefts in the water.

Weather is no joke this close to Patagonia.

Weather is no joke this close to Patagonia. Jeremy Jones trying not to lose any gear in the middle of a serious storm cycle.

Jeremy Jones surfing the backcountry of Neavdos de Chilean.

These crazy southern storms always pack plenty of wind which helps create some amazing features. Jeremy Jones surfing the backcountry of Neavdos de Chilean.

Jeremy Jones channelling his inner Iceman.

Jeremy Jones channelling his inner Iceman. Ever heard of the Wim Hof method? Worth a google.

Always end a good soak on cold. Forrest Shearer starting a new chapter of the Chilean Polar Bear Club.

Always end a good soak on cold. Forrest Shearer starting a new chapter of the Chilean Polar Bear Club.

After being hunkered down for almost a week, the snow settled and we booked it to this epic camp zone on the hunt for some rare Chilean spines lines.

After being hunkered down for almost a week, the snow settled and we booked it to this epic camp zone on the hunt for some rare Chilean spines lines.

Nick Russell, Forrest Shearer & Jeremy Jones skinning out to ride that epic spine face in the background.

Moving meditation - Nick Russell, Forrest Shearer & Jeremy Jones skinning out to ride that epic spine face in the background.

Forrest Shearer expanding his Horizon Lines in the Andes.

Forrest Shearer expanding his Horizon Lines in the Andes.

Jeremy Jones, aka The Spine Doctor, got amazing lines in the Andes that could easily be mistaken for Alaska.

Jeremy Jones, aka The Spine Doctor, got amazing lines in the Andes that could easily be mistaken for Alaska.

Horizon Lines camp vibes, Chilean style.

Horizon Lines camp vibes, Chilean style.

Nick Russell chasing light on one of the best days any of us have had in the Southern Hemi.

Nick Russell chasing light on one of the best days any of us have had in the Southern Hemi.

Mate hour. Until the next time, thanks for tuning in. Viva Chile!

Mate hour. Until the next time, thanks for tuning in. Viva Chile!