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Part 1: Travels in Chile

The truth is that wherever you are out there, the magic of winter is happening somewhere. You just have to pack your bags and go find it. As for the gear you’ll need when you get there, we’ve got you covered.

Part 1: Travels in Chile

Packing for a 2-week ski and snowboard trip on the other side of the globe is no easy task. Explore the gear and clothing that made our final cut.

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The Araucanía Region of Central Chile

The Araucanía Region of Central Chile

Part 1: Travels in Chile

We went SLC to Dallas, Dallas to Santiago, Santiago to Temuco—24 hazy hours of travel and a very long way south. So far south that everything flipped upside down. When the plane door cracked open in Temuco we felt the cool air and knew things had changed. Summer was behind us.

A long, skinny strip of land wedged between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, Chile is home to a diverse range of climates and landscapes: desert, grasslands, temperate rainforests, coastlines, and glaciated 20,000-foot peaks. Located nearly at its center, the Araucanía Region is the heartland of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people. As we drove east, the city of Temuco quickly faded to plowed fields and hardwood forests, with the snowy Lonquimay volcano looming on the horizon.

The Land of the Monkey Puzzle Tree

The Land of the Monkey Puzzle Tree

Part 1: Travels in Chile

Araucaria trees, called Monkey Puzzle trees by gringos, are unique to central Chile. They are living fossils—the big ones are well past 1000 years old—far predating the arrival of Cortez in the New World. They produce pine nuts the size of your thumb, a staple food source of the native Mapuche people. They’re something from a Dr. Seuss story, an odd mash-up between a pine tree and a yucca plant, an icon of a landscape that is unlike any other.

Welcome to Malalcahuello

Part 1: Travels in Chile

Dead tired and excited all at once, we arrived in Malalcahuello and settled into our lodgings at SledChile. A snowmobile rental and guiding operation, it caters to sled heads, skiers, and snowboarders looking to access the area’s unlimited and virtually untapped backcountry terrain.

The snowy peaks, evergreen trees, wood stove-heated cabins, and the sight of our breath in the air all felt familiar—we were home. And then a detail would surface, a stark reminder of how far we’d really come: the foreign smell of eucalyptus wood burning in the stove; songs of birds we’d never heard; trees unlike any we’d ever seen; an entirely new blanket of stars in the night sky. It was both home and away. We found winter.

Stay Tuned, More Winter is On The Way

Part 1: Travels in Chile

Getting down there was just the beginning. Putting skis to snow on the Lonquimay Volcano was a whole other story. Part 2 of our Search for Winter in Chile launches on Oct 11.