The trip started off jumping right into a 12-passenger van after landing in Santiago, Chile after 20+ hours of travel from the US. Automatic transmissions are a bit of a rarity down there and, being the only person who felt comfortable driving stick, it was my responsibility to lug the crew and our gear up the 8,000 vertical feet of sketchy switchbacks to Valle Nevado. It was exhausting, but it put me in the mindset I needed for the rest of the trip: Jumping into situations with many unknowns headfirst and with an open attitude. (Shoutout to Icelantic for the opportunity).
We were in South America for around five weeks, but with less than ideal conditions in Las Leñas and one of the worst winters South America has had in a long time, the majority of the video was shot in four or five days. Not out of the ordinary for a ski trip, but my parents found that pretty wild to imagine. Needless to say, there is some serious hair pulling when you’re stuck somewhere like Las Leñas for weeks without skiing. For those who don’t know the area: you’re about 5 hours from the next “town”, there’s very little fresh produce, and even less access to WiFi.
That said, it would have been ten times worse if I weren’t with Aiden. We grew up making ski videos together and we aren’t strangers to making our days count, creating poppin’ ski videos with only a few days of clips. I owe him a lot when it comes to my skiing and motivation.
To prove a point, the ending trick of the video was a struggle. It was one of our last days on snow and the sun came out strong. We knew there was a cool natural take off feature, but we weren’t sure of its potential. After battling this trick and getting beat up on landings as well as the hike up, I was losing steam. Aiden met me at the jump with a squeeze packet of applesauce (essentially baby food) and his headphones. He told me to listen to Suicidal Tendencies on full volume and give it one more go. Watch the video and you’ll see what happened from there.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to address the fact that we are presenting a story with people traveling across continents to do a luxury sport, and flying in a helicopter while also talking about mother earth saving the planet. I recognize the irony here, and I don’t want to act as some self-entitled climate warrior. However, words can’t explain how grateful I was to be able to witness and take part of such a beautiful ceremony that will stick with me forever, and I also wouldn’t take back the opportunity to heli-ski. It has been a dream since I was a kid and it was an incredible powerful and humbling experience. I wouldn’t trade in either of these opportunities—I have grown through both of them and I couldn’t be more appreciative.
I’ll shut up now and let you watch the video. (If you already did, you should watch it again and send it to your mom and dad to watch too).
Samuel Winship | @samuelwinship
Sam Winship is a new member to the Icelantic family, but he is no stranger to looking at skiing terrain with a fresh eye. Growing up in Victor, Idaho he was on the slopes young. With his artistic nature it wasn't long before he got sick of competition confining and defining his riding, and he transitioned to more video based pursuits.