SOUTH AMERICA AND THE COMPADRES CLIQUE
By: Zach Aller Photos: MOB
SOMETIMES PLAN, SOMETIMES DON’T
If there’s one thing I learned this past year, it’s that last-minute spontaneous decisions are often the best and usually result in epic stories later on. I was itching to travel, see new places and ride bigger stuff. After six months of chasing snow in Austria, riding world-class parks and Euro-trip- pin’, my decision to head south to Chile this past summer was based on two things: riding with my best homies, and the possibility of scoring some high-quality pow (which I got none of in Austria). Of course, I was pretty broke, but sometimes you just gotta focus on the pow and figure those other things out later.
THE CHILE CONNECTION
Eric Ramirez was born and raised in Quebec but has lots of family in Chile, whom he visits every year no matter what. He is a family guy with strong values, plus I can’t blame him for wanting to go down there all the time. In August, you can surf breaks of all kinds or head a few hours up to snowboard that fluffy white above the city smog. We’ve been roommates for two or three years now, and he brought the hype about South ’Merica. We’ve since taken two trips down there, both epic beyond any of my wildest expectations.
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Eric’s mom lets us stay at her apartment in downtown Santiago and get lost in Chilean culture. Imagine the hustle and bustle of NYC, but with worse traffic and more Spanish. Seafood markets, farmers’ vegetables, butcheries, bars, restaurants, cafeÌs, parks and bazaars everywhere, with viewpoints of the Andes around every corner. Eric made a bunch of good Chileno homies who know the hookups we needed to make another epic southern hemi trip this year. Although I’m all for exploring new places, going back somewhere more than once can be rad; you can prepare better, connect with more people, look at things differently. And so came about the Compadres Clique project.
For the past year or so, Eric and our Peruvian homie, Brown, raised funds through bar events and slanging limited clothing lines to help South American kids in need. More specifically, encouraging kids to hold onto their passions, because you never know where it may take you. Deep, but true. Jeremy Cloutier and I came on-board as ambassadors, as well as our Uruguayan homie Bruno Egeli, who flew out from Brazil to meet us after his exams. They used the money raised to buy school supplies for 180 boys and girls from seven to 12 years old, plus they received clothing donations from Pop Headwear, Awsm, Volcom and Billabong
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NOT YOUR TYPICAL SNOWBOARD TRIP
We drove coastward to La Ligua, where we met up with the princi- pal of Diego Portales elementary school. This was nuts; they’d set up an outdoor stage with projectors, brought the kids out to sing the national anthem, and we handed out bags of goods to every little kid. Eric gave a speech to a sea of children about the good vibes we were spreading (in Spanish, of course), and we showed them our video parts from Brothers Factory. We even had cake for 180 kids. We kicked their asses at soccer for a few hours until they’d burned off their sugar high, and went home feeling like eight-year-olds ourselves. It was unreal to see how stoked everyone was.
With Santiago’s population just busting the 7,000,000 cap, you need to live on the slopes if you want first tracks. Because this ain’t our first rodeo, we stepped it up and rented an apartment at the top for three weeks: Eric, Brown, Jeremy, Bruno, our filmer (and master of media) MOB, myself and our skier homie, Laurent-Olivier Martin (he’s a G). Be- sides Bruno breaking his femur (so rugged; shout out to him for taking it like a champ), the remainder of the trip was spent riding fun parks in bluebird spring conditions, one epic sunset shoot, taking over the throne at the Rey Del Park contest, and a few really good parties. But still, zero pow. Damn global warmin’, man.
All in all, it was one for the books—the trip you want to tell people about for years. Hope-
fully there are many more Compadres missions on the way.