The condor glides, descending through the frigid air of the Andes mountain range. Far below, a perfectly shaped, snow-covered volcano cone spits out long wisps of white steam that fade into the electric blue sky. At its feet, a creek bends through a narrow gorge and turns into a river running through the valley. In the distances beyond, the mind can easily picture the ocean’s rocky shores, Chile’s southern coast. This storybook scene is no hallucination—it’s a very real natural spectacle taken in by riders Bjorn Leines, Marius Otterstad, Sylvain Bourbousson and Shayne Pospisil—their backdrop while building a kicker somewhere deep among the countless, jagged peaks of Nevado de Chillan’s vast backcountry.

Words and Photography: Eric Bergeri

7,500 miles south, Bjorn Leines unleashes in the Valle Nevado backcountry.

7,500 miles south, Bjorn Leines unleashes in the Nevado de Chillan's backcountry.

Marius Otterstad knows how to spice things up.

Marius Otterstad knows how to spice things up.

Sylvain Bourbousson was the only French guy the crew wanted to hear from on this trip. And then he shut them all up with this hefty jump over a hole in the earth’s crust.

Sylvain Bourbousson was the only French guy the crew wanted to hear from on this trip. And then he shut them all up with this hefty jump over a hole in the earth’s crust.

The local marketplace.

The local marketplace.

Better here than the Jersey Shore. Shayne Pospsil's summertime situation is all about Japans in Chile.

Better here than the Jersey Shore. Shayne Pospsil's summertime situation is all about Japans in Chile.

A collage of Chilean scenes.

A collage of Chilean scenes.

Don't let the sun set on your chance to enjoy the South American snowboard experience.

Don't let the sun set on your chance to enjoy the South American snowboard experience.

Chile has a good infrastructure and, compared to most of the other South American countries, it’s quite safe. So there’s nothing special to worry about when you travel, just don’t be stupid.

There are three easy ways to get to Chillán from Santiago:

•Hop on one of the south bounds trains that go from the Estacion Central. Check: terra-sur.cl

•Grab a bus at the “terminal de buses.” There are several companies going to Chillán and different classes of bus. Check: terminaldebusessantiago.cl

•Rent a car for about 80 to 100 dollars a day at the Santiago’s airport and drive south down the Ruta 5.

Lodging

Cabanas are the best bet—they will cost you about 140–180 dollars for a six person cabin per night. Don’t forget that foreign clients don’t pay the country nineteen-percent GST tax.

Cabañas Los Andes—Stu, the owner, is English and very helpful. cabanaslosandes.com

Cabañas Antué-Chile—Really nice and comfortable two-story cabin located right in front of the Snow Pub disco. It makes the way back to bed at sunrise easier. antue-chile.cl

The Mission Impossible Lodge—Another option if you want to stay in Las Trancas. It’s more expensive than the cabins, but it also has more to offer including an in-house mini ramp. misnowchile.com