Wanna Race to the Top of an Active Volcano? | ‘Avalanche en el Volcán’ presented by Patagonia

SnowBrains |


Patagonia® presents the 3rd Annual Avalancha en el Volcán Event: back and bigger than ever

PUCON, CHILE:  Everyone wants to ski in the summer, but if you’re not ready to jump in and do the Freeride World Tour, chances are you will be on your own to find some adventure. Not that it’s too hard in Chile—between finding a cab willing to take your oversized ski bag and figuring out that $20,000 pesos isn’t $20,000 US Dollars, it can feel like the adventure starts right from the moment you land in Smoggy-ago (Santiago).

Of course, from the airport it’s a beeline to the nieve (snow). With over 36 active volcanoes in Chile, chances are at some point you will be skiing down one and that’s where the 3rd Annual Avalancha en el Volcán event has the adventure-seeking traveller figured out. In this open-invitational race, any expert or advanced skier/snowboarder has the opportunity to descend Villarrica volcano at mach-10.


The event will be held on Villarrica volcano September 13-16. The premise of the race is simple, but ridiculously fun. Everyone hikes up in a guided group (untimed) to the summit of the volcano. Upon summiting, there is plenty of time to chill out and enjoy the view of all the surrounding volcanoes. Stare into the crater for a few minutes (with a bandana on: its daily puffs of ash and smoke can give you a sore throat) then get ready for the part where you don’t enjoy the view: a balls-to-the-wall descent down 3,000+ vertical feet of perfect corn snow.

Each rider descends in individually timed heats and must pass through five safety checkpoints. The fastest time in each category wins.


Spencer Francey, field producer in Chile of The Art of Flight who has twenty years of chasing winter under his belt thought he had seen it all: “Holding a race on an active volcano is like taking a ski event to the moon.”

The record of this timed descent is currently held by Chilean freeskiing super-star Chopo Diaz with a time of three minutes and 12 seconds on Villarrica. And with a time to beat like that, the Avalancha event is catching the attention of more Freeride World Tour competitors and professional riders alike. This year, the event is extending a handful of free entries to Freeride World Tour athletes with about 30 spots open to the general public.


Of course, regardless of how fast you make it down to the bottom, there is guaranteed to be a Chile-style celebration waiting for you. Complete with free beer, pisco, and snow-sliding enthusiasts from all over Argentina and Chile. It’s a great way to meet people that aren’t normally on the tourist-path of a southern-hemisphere winter trip.

smallwoo@gmail.com or phone +1 (505) 480 3338


ONLINE REGISTRATION: http://avalanchaenelvolcan.wordpress.com/registration-pucon/



September 13-16, 2013


$40,000 CHP for 2011 Competitors

$50,000 CHP for 2012 Competitors

$60,000 CHP for New Competitors



Transportation to/from Pucón
1 Lift Ticket (day of event, only)
Crampon rentals
Guided ascent of Volcano
Race Bib

Competitors are required to provide their own ski and snowboard equipment, and must be advanced or expert level riders to compete. English registration available soon.

Claire Smallwood
Avalancha en el Volcán
smallwoo@gmail.com (English)

Related Articles

One thought on “Wanna Race to the Top of an Active Volcano? | ‘Avalanche en el Volcán’ presented by Patagonia

Got an opinion? Let us know...