The World’s Best Skiers* Take Over Portillo. (*They’re All Women.)
Last week, I flew down to Chile to spend a week at Ski Portillo, arguably South America’s most iconic ski area. Surrounded by tall Andean peaks, sitting next to the much-photographed Laguna del Inca, and home to the iconic Super C Couloir, it’s a bucket-list spot for many of us in North America who are not-so-patiently awaiting the return of winter.
I didn’t plan it this way, but many of the world’s best women skiers also decided to come down for the week as part of brand photo shoots or private training camps. Everywhere I looked, pro rippers were charging down big lines or sending it off Portillo’s famous rock cliffs. Many were kind enough to let me tag along for photos.
Photo: Claire Brown, an ambassador with the Blizzard Tecnica team and the publisher of SkiRacing.com, finds a pocket of snow on a bluebird day in Portillo.
Blizzard Tecnica brought several of its staff, pro women athletes, and ambassadors to Portillo to test new prototypes and for a women’s initiative photo shoot the company is rolling out in 2017. Pictured left to right: Leslie Baker-Brown, Claire Brown, Jackie Paaso, Angelika Kaufmann, and Brenna Kelleher.
Jackie Paaso in front of Laguna del Inca with Los Tres Hermanos (15,587 feet) in the background. Paaso is a Blizzard Tecnica athlete based in Sweden who won the Verbier stop on last year’s Freeride World Tour and finished second overall.
Paaso slashing a turn on the very springlike conditions at Portillo.
Angelika Kaufmann is a pro skier with Blizzard Tecnica who lives in Lech, Austria. She’s also a trainer for the country’s ski area association, a mountaineering guide, and part of the avalanche control team at her local resort.
Crystal Wright was the 2012 Subaru Freeskiing World Tour Champion and the 2009 Freeskiing World Tour Champion. She also owns Wright Training in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In Portillo, she was coaching women as part of Keely Kelleher’s ski camp.
Paaso sending it off a cliff near the base of Portillo.
Claire Brown and Angelika Kaufmann booting up a line.
Keely Kelleher is a former U.S. Ski Team and World Cup skier who won the 2010 National Super-G Championship. She now runs Keely’s Ski Camp for Girls. In Portillo, she was teaching a private big-mountain training camp for women.
It was hard to make a bad picture in Portillo, with its amazing light and stunning views.