Lava Flow: Endless Winter
Brooke Edwards’ Constant Pursuit of Making Turns
“…On the top of Villarica…staring down into the summit caldera with lava growling and spitting and spurting up at me…then turning and dropping in to ski perfect corn snow for thousands of feet at a perfect 38-40 degree slope? I mean, how crazy is that?”
Corbeaux Emissary and telemark skier Brooke “Shiny” Edwards on the pursuit of passion, the power of women, and the mysticism of skiing active volcanoes on a trip to Chile in the Summer of 2016.
In order to cross train for her summer season of guiding in Alaska, Corbeaux athlete Brooke “Shiny” Edwards needed to find challenging routes on the up – and of course stellar skiing on the way down. In the vast Chilean countryside, from which corn snow laden and very-much active volcanoes spring forth strikingly as monuments of the earth, she found it.
Edwards, along with a team of four hard-charging ski women – Kasha Rigby, Mary K. McKintyre, Sydney Paez Duncan, and Alexa Rana – struck gold with some of the most ideal late season ski conditions in the world as they set out to climb and ski six active volcanoes– Antuco, Lonquimay, Sierra Nevada, Llaima, Villarica, and Osorno. Alongside them was world-renowned mountaineering guide Damian Benegas, who lead the charge as he filmed a mini series for ESPN.
To climb an active volcano is “mystical.” “…On the top of Villarica, staring down into the summit caldera with lava growling and spitting and spurting up at me…then turning and dropping in to ski perfect corn snow for thousands of feet at a perfect 38-40 degree slope? I mean, how crazy is that?”
Whether crazy, or merely the next logical step in a diehard skier’s pursuit of constant snowy turns and the ever elusive flow state, Edwards marveled at the juxtaposition of the environment. Climbing up pure ice sheets, and hours later reaching the summit to sit their weary bones down on steaming warm volcanic rocks. Needless to say, with surroundings ranging from snowless forests to snow laden couloirs, the expedition could play poster child for the constant sweat and cool down inherent of earning turns and late-season skiing. A true renaissance mountain and action sport woman – who’s background includes everything from sailing, to climbing, to stand-up-paddle boarding – Edwards chose her silkweight Amie Ankle Pant for everyday wear, and relied on the quick drying abilities of her Everyday Tees and Smuggler Tanks over the trek.
As the only telemark skier of the group she skins and skis with a far heavier setup. And admittedly being a tad older than the other athletes, Edwards found solace in the abilities and honesty of the team and marveled at the camaraderie born on these peaks. Battling 100 km winds on the very first summit push, the team was doubled over, clinging to both the rocky crags and each other to maintain traction in their ski boots. “I hate wind.” Edwards adds. “But it made the blissful descent down even more ecstatically rewarding.”
“It was enlightening…an expedition celebrating true teamwork and the power of female athletes.” Remarking on their hike out at night from Antuco, Edwards remembers winding their way through jumbled lava rock, by starlight, under the expansive Chilean sky: “I was on cloud nine.”
After the expedition wrapped up, Edwards chose to remain in Chile to summit both Lonquimay and Villarica several more times. Corbeaux is thrilled to stand behind an athlete with such passion for the mountains and the drive to never stop pursuing turns.
Following her season in Alaska this summer, Brooke will return to Chile to continue her hunt for snow in Portillo, Chile. Come October, she embarks to lead the flagship trip for Wild World Wanderings, a company she co-founded.
– Words and Editing by Christian Johansen