Bode Merrill
Blake Paul, Mike Ravelson

First evening we arrived, Rav started flipping out. p: Morgan

Parker Szumowski

Parker Szumowski is on his way up from down south.

words: Blake Paul

photos: Colton Morgan and Max Warbington

video: Jon Stark

captions: Blake Paul, Colton Morgan, and Max Warbington

After ever trip, every journey, every experience, there is a departure. A flight home, a time to reflect, take in, think, listen, learn, and enjoy. I’m sitting here, thirty minutes into my flight from Santiago back to the U.S. and I can’t describe what I’m feeling adequately. I think every person can relate to a similar experience: that moment, that sense of serendipity when you know where you’re supposed to be and what lies on the path before you. It’s pure enjoyment. Looking back on how I ended up in this moment, flying north after an August trip to Chilean Andes, it seems almost as if the adventure materialized completely on its own. It was never planned, it wasn’t a thing, it was not talked about. There was no outside involvement; it just happened. This journey was laid out in front of us somehow, everything from the players involved, the location, and the everyday occurrences. It just existed in time and we happened to be apart of it. I can’t even tell you how the crew assembled, it just came together. Filmer Jon Stark was a driving force. All of a sudden Max and Gus Warbington were in. Then Mike Rav and Parker Szumowski. In need of a photographer, Colt Morgan came through and booked a ticket two days before the departure day. Next thing I know, all the details had fallen into place. And just like that, I’m walking toward a person who is holding a sign reading, “Paul Blake” outside of security at the Santiago Airport.

The grey skies made Blake feel a little melancholy. photo: Morgan.

Gus Warbington, Max Warbington

(left) Is it against the rules to go "lento" under the sign? Gus Warbington. (right) Max tucking his hip to flip on the hip. photo: Morgan

Bode Merrill

Blue Spiral Emoji. Mike Rav. photo: Morgan

Mike Ravelson

Why wood'nt you? Mike Rav. photo: Morgan

Blake Paul

Blake has carved out a soft spot in his heart for Chile. photo: Morgan

After touching down in Chile, we packed into a van and headed for the hills. We made it fifteen minutes before having a minor engine problem. The van started smoking inside a tunnel in the middle of the city. We proceed to wait for back-up, assured by our driver that it was, “On way.” Fumes billowed from the traffic around us as we hauled our boardbags along the side of this underground transportation frenzy. The excursion had started before we could even grasp the fact that we had all arrived in South America, but we pushed on, got back on course and headed up the forty-plus switchbacks on the arguably single-lane road to Farellones, a Chilean mountain town nestled in the heart of the Andes.

“When a inside joke takes you to Chile.” - Jon Stark

Parker Szumowski

Does the carpet match the drapes? Does the truck match the carpet? Parker Szumowski. photo: Morgan

As we arrived at our cabin, the kindhearted owner remarked, “You’re all so happy!” Boardbags flew up the stairs to our room: seven beds, a teeny-tiny kitchen, and a small table, all complemented by a stone floor and a fireplace for warmth. The porch overlooked one of the prettiest sites: the city of Santiago, sparkling with golden light, dressed by the reds, oranges, and purples of a classic Chilean sunset. We had arrived. A bar seven stairs down, groceries to last (almost) nine days, and a positive, ecstatic vibe to welcome us to our humble abode. There was no going back now, we were stuck in the mountains. No car. No obligations. No worries. The tone had been set for the trip and the time was now. Drinks. A round of Pisco Sours (the locals’ favorite) in celebration of the present, and whatever could possibly lay ahead.

Blake surfing the clouds, surfing the snow? Who knows. photo: Morgan

Parker Szumowski, Max Warbington

(left) There's a method to Parker's madness. (right) “No way he’s gonna do it unbuckled!” - Max's night terrors. photo: Morgan

Mike Ravelson

Mike Rav is far from a one trick sawhorse. photo: Morgan

snowboarders

Nightly art session. photo: Morgan

Mike Ravelson

Rav fully feeling out the features. photo: Morgan

A trip is a trip, an experience an experience, but the real reason we all traveled twenty-plus hours from Northern Hemisphere summer into below-the-equator winter was simply to ride our snowboards and document snowboarding. Our assembled crew shared an affinity for creativity and a striking ability to make the most out of all meteorological and topographical conditions. This worked out well, because we did not receive any snow during our trip. Most days were cloudy and most mornings the snow crunched below our feet as we walked to the T-bar. Many people chase the snow, the terrain, the picturesque, ideal conditions--Chile Con Pollo 7 does not. We were at El Colorado to ride whatever was in front of us, for that is the spirit of Stark’s chikenmeat unlimited video series. Fact is, half of Chile Con Pollo 7 was filmed within a one-mile radius of our cabin, itself. A perfect sense of camaraderie and productiveness lingered in the air. The amount of action that went down on snowboards flew over the top of my head and into Stark and Colt’s lenses.

“An artistic, intellectual, creative, mind-expanding, profound, ethereal blessing of a trip.” - G Don

Mike Ravelson

We come in peace to drink your wine. photo: Morgan

A lot happened in the nine days of our trip. One thing that cannot go without mention is the spring hip session. After almost getting shut down by ski patrol, we navigated the language barrier and ripped on. Countless nightly views of Subjekt Haakonsen sparked new ideas. Everyone blasted off the hand-dug snow popper into something uncomfortable, ending back on their feet and riding away as crowds of onlookers cheered along with us. There was no way to tell what the people were yelling from the chairlift above, they were either surprised or utterly confused. It seems as though we kind of took over the resort and embraced a role of collective cluelessness, just in order to get away with what we wanted. At first most people were completely pissed off, then later awed at the stunts happening in front of their eyes. It worked out.

Blake tapped out shortly after hearing this was a locals home. photo: Morgan

Bode Merrill

No matter where you are in the world, you should probably slash. Mike Rav. photo: Morgan

Max Warbingto

Max pole jam kickflip. Extra flick. photo: Morgan

Final Section

snowboarders, Chile

The boys hanging out in a very special place. photo: Warbington

Gus Warbington

G don ripping a classic heelside in the fog. The snow is Chile is very good for heelside turns. photo: Warbington

Mike Ravelson

This was a BMX only park but Rav thought it would be cool to skate the vert ramp for a few runs. This dog was trained to attack skaters! Rav barely escaped with his life. photo: Warbington

“This trip made me realize many things. The most important being the fact that our group of friends have reached the seemingly impossible goal of making whatever we want to happen, a complete reality.” -Max Warbington

Farrellones, Chile

Our place was at the top of this hill. Very fun to slide on your back down the ropetow at night after a few piscos. photo: Warbington

We’ve all heard the saying, “You had to be there.” Its cliché, but it continually applies to those adventures that exist between a few close friends. To put in words and jot down each and every memory or happening would fill these online pages to the brim. There was the time when we awoke to a surprise porch party ten-feet from our beds. Motioned to come outside, eat steak, and drink with our neighbors, we obliged. This was in addition to the nightly, red wine-fueled dance parties that were always followed by an art and meditation session within the walls of our cramped cabin. And then there was the day when we slid down the resort on our backs, skateboards in hand, to find and skate a ramp seemingly held together by scrap wood. But the most memorable daily event was riding back to the cabin every evening, disappearing into the sunset, hooting and hollering from the day’s surprising productivity and even moreso, the utter bliss. A rogue trip to Chile garnished by proper company and ultimate flow, A-Rob spirit present in the air. Aaron Robinson was the pioneer of this area for me and showed me that anything is possible even if you don’t really have your shit together properly. It’s easy to float through life, and become comfortable in your current situation, but when opportunity like this trip comes knocking on your door, it’s mandatory that you answer. For that I am forever grateful, because it’s these experiences that teach you the important things in life.

Special thanks to The North Face, Gnu Snowboards, Dragon Alliance, and Rev’d Provision Co. for making this trip a possibility.