He’s known for his hard-charging backcountry lines but that doesn’t stop Riley Leboe from enjoying a little in-bounds time, too, especially at a place like Valle Nevado. Although, he’s no stranger to Valle’s top-notch out of bounds skiing. Most recently, he visited the area to shoot “Towers Above the Sea,” the latest installment of the film series Seeking Nirvana. “What sets Valle apart,” says Leboe, “is its options for great skiing no the matter the conditions or weather. The variety and aesthetics of the terrain make it easy to have an amazing trip.”
Local Beta: Valle Nevado
Here’s the inside line on where to eat, sleep, ski, repeat
Hometown: Vernon, BC
Sponsors: Armada, Backcountry Access, Giro, Rockstar Energy, Tyrolia, Whistler Blackcomb
Best groomer run: Momia, the groomer off the top of the Andes Express lift, is steep as hell. The race teams use it for part of the year, but if you can get a couple of laps on some fresh cord there, it’s the best spot to lay an edge in.
Best in-bounds line: A sneaky spot that’s worth checking out is below the hotels on the lower lifts. If the snow is wind affected higher up, this zone is more sheltered and holds good snow. There are lots of poppers and cliffs to play on.
Best lift to lap on a pow day: Tres Puntas has lots of fast laps and great terrain to traverse into.
Best place to scare yourself: Tres Puntas also provides access to the massive backcountry outside of Valle Nevado. From the top of the poma, you have your pick of couloirs, from ones you can ease into to those that straight up scare the sh#t out of you.
Best place to stay for fancy digs: Hotel Valle Nevado
Best place to stay for affordable digs: Hotel Puerta del Sol
Best breakfast spot: The breakfast buffet in the Hotel Puerta del Sol is insane. With all of the omelet options, you may find it difficult to drag your full belly onto the hill.
Best dinner spot: If you’re feeling fancy, head to the La Fourchette [in the Hotel Valle Nevado] for some well-executed French cuisine. For our crew, we liked to hit up Don Giovanni’s [in the Plaza del Sol] for some pizza and beers after a long day of ski touring.
Best après spot: The Hotel Puerta del Sol has a giant slopeside hot tub with a server bringing you cold cervezas and club music blasting.
Best nightlife spot: Party in the bar of the Hotel Tres Puntas. Disco, pisco sours and karaoke will keep you stoked.
Best ski shop: Mall Sport in Santiago has anything you could be looking for, from skis to backcountry gear.
Best part of the surrounding backcountry skiing: The unique rock formations that make the walls of the couloirs are insane. They make every line super-unique. And the heli-skiing is incredible. A short flight from the hotel gives access to some of the most amazing terrain in the Andes.
Strangest yet coolest thing to do in the general area: Go birding. Valle Nevado is home to massive condors. These sneaky pterodactyl-like birds don’t like to stay in one place very long, so getting a close-up view is tough, but worth it.
Best place to visit on a down day: The amazing proximity to Santiago gives you so many options in terms of tourist activities and sightseeing. [For a longer excursion], hop on one of Chile’s awesome public buses and head to the coastal town of Pichilemu. Stay at the Alaia Hotel and have private beach access to Punta de Lobos, one of the world best surf breaks.