Hola amigos! It’s your boy Anthony one again with some exciting news about my recent trip to Valle Nevado to go snowboarding! Valle Nevado is a large skiing and snowboarding resort located in the Andes Mountains. I had never snowboarded in my life and this experience will be something I will remember for the rest of my life. Now, this was a somewhat expensive trip as I had went with a group and not on my own (which I recommend if you do not want to get lost and also have a ride to and from the ski/snowboard resort).
I did not mention this before, but for all future students considering Chile as a study abroad choice, during orientation at La Pontificia Unversidad Catolica de Chile (PUC) there will be a booth for students to sign up so that they can receive notifications from a student organization called CAUC (Comision de Acogida Universidad Catolica). The focus of CAUC is introduce foreign exchange students to Chilean culture, sights, and help them explore different parts of Chile. The students at CAUC are also really kind and friendly and are more than willing to help foreign exchange students with any questions they may have from adjusting to Chile to where things are located on campus. It was through them that I managed to go to this resort. All attending students paid 60,000 Chilean pesos (roughly $90 USD) to go on the trip which covered the boots and ski/snowboard, the ride to and from the resort, skiing/snowboarding classes (not mandatory), and lunch (burger, french fries, and drink). However, we were in charge of getting the other gear like gloves, helmet, pants, and goggles. Thus, we stopped at shop in order to rent the gear for 25,000 Chilean pesos (about $37.50 USD).
Another bit of advice I would recommend is to not eat something that will leave a strong taste in your mouth before the ride to the resort. The morning of, I did not eat breakfast so I decided to grab a bag of Doritos to calm my hunger until we made it to the resort and could eat lunch. However, this proved to be a terrible idea because all of the turns when driving up the mountain WILL MAKE YOU SICK. Literally everyone in the van I was in had to force themselves to nap in effort to ignore the nausea, but with the taste of Doritos in my mouth I almost did not make it to the resort. I had to ask the driver to crack the window.
Finally making it to the resort, the process to get all of our ski/snowboard gear took borderline forever. We had got their at about 10:30am and I was ready by 1pm (especially since all those who wanted classes were put at the end of the line). By 2pm I had ate my lunch and was showing up for my snowboarding class. The nerve-wrecking thing was that we were leaving around 4pm so I wanted to do as I much snowboarding as I could in that time. The instructor showed up and we headed out to the top of the trail to practice. To my surprise, I was doing pretty well. My stance was almost perfect, it did not take me long to do the movements the instructor had showed us, and when we did the practice trail, I swirled and maneuvered around smoothly without falling; however, this all went down hill (literally) once the instructor left.
I began to make it down the trail and in the matter of minutes my confidence was obliterated. As all the other people I had class with were shrinking in the distance, speedily charging ahead, I was stuck behind tumbling and falling. There was a good 6 times I want to say that I was not even snowboarding, I was just rolling down the trail like a barrel with my legs going in directions I had never seen before. To make matters worse, no one even bothered to help me and would just watch me struggle my way through the snow. I remember getting so irate a couple times that I attempted to just walk down the trail, but it was too steep. After about 30 minutes of this, I was so happy to see the end of the trail approaching and tried to reach it as fast as I could. My entire body was in pain and I looked like an avalanche was dropped on me. Although the process of me making it down the trail was absolutely painful and atrocious, looking back, it was completely comical. Once I had made it on the van, I was already cracking up by the hilarious idea of me rolling down the mountain like a tumbleweed. I definitely want to go again to tackle the trail another time and maybe even try skiing (as someone had told me it is way easier than snowboarding). Another awesome thing about it all was that I got to meet a bunch of cool people while there. I had grouped up with some student volunteers from CAUC who were sophomores likes me and got to know them. Surprisingly, conversing in Spanish was getting easier for me and I could actually express myself more in-depth.
All in all, I really enjoyed the trip and consider myself so fortunate. Not many people get to go to Chile nor even snowboard in their life, and for that I am thankful to have this experience.