Cerro El Plomo Foothills, Chile
For the past decade, Seth Wescott has made sure to get down to South America to snowboard for a few weeks every off-season. Chile was the first place he ever did a heli trip – back when heli-boarding operations were first starting in the mountains east of Santiago. "In that section of the Andes, you can get really close to Aconcagua after just a half-hour flight," he says. "There's huge terrain down there. It was an eye-opening experience for me."
On most of Wescott's trips, he's with the team. They fly into Santiago and then drive an hour and a half out of the city and up into the 10,000-foot Cerro El Plomo foothills – home of Valle Nevado, EL Colorado, and La Parva ski resorts. "They're all kind of interconnected, and there's really good backcountry access from all of them," he says.
Wescott's favorite way to spend the day is with a group doing laps out of either Valle Nevado or El Colorado (they're in the same basin). One person stays with the car, and the others take the lift up and traverse out into the backcountry, where several thousand-foot drops full of cliffs and chutes lead back toward the road. "It's all above tree line, this incredible high-alpine environment that's wide open," Wescott says.