Chopo Diaz – Athlete Profile & Helmet Cam Video
Chopo Diaz opened eyes and dropped jaws with his performance at the innaugural South American Freeskiing Championships in his home resort of La Parva, Chile, this September. We caught up with him to get the lowdown on his trade secrets and plans for the coming winter.
Home Resort… La Parva, Chile
Sponsors… The North Face Chile, K2 Skis, Ski La Parva.
Favourite Place to Ski in the World… So many! I like a lot Nevados de Chillán in Chile, but I think Snowbird UT kill it!
Twin Tips or Flat Tails… Twin Tips, semi rocker would be perfect.
DL: So Chopo, how did it feel to win the first stop on the 2009 Freeskiing World Tour… right in your own backyard?
Chopo: It was really cool, have this comp at my home resort was more than an honor, we all felt very lucky and honored to have all this good skiers arround, locals were facinated.
Also this comp brought more than good skiers, it gave to Chile the open minded that it needed for a long time, now people talk about mountain and skiing more than in the slopes, it is a good start for the people to understand that backcountry skiing means more than good skiing, it means safety meassures, knowledge, equipment, resccue tecnics, and lots of prevention.
Helmet Cam of Chopo Diaz’s Winning Line
DL: This wasn’t your first World Tour event was it? Did you do Snowbird? Or if not, was it your first podium?
Chopo: I did the whole tour last year and I never got a podium. Actually my best place in a FWT comp before was 18th at Crested Butte this past seasson… I never thought I was going to be capable of being on the podium because there is so many really good skiers doing their best as well. And there are many things that you must deal with, starting with nervousness wich is extremly high some times. I crashed in every single comp I did in the FWT before La Parva. I never got really upset about that because I knew I was giving my best… but I knew I had to start working on my concentration and controling the nerves, there was definitely something wrong.
DL: How about the venue, were you stoked on it? Too bad there was only one day of competition, but I guess it worked out well for you eh?
Chopo: The venues were pretty cool, both of them, definitely diferent of any other on the tour, because it was super sharky, and looked super sckechy from the top. Day one venue (just named McConkey’s) had tonnes of features, it was super fun to ski. Day two venue looked sick, it had many diferent options, and a huge cirque at the bottom, definitely a final venue. Shame that we never skied it because the crazy weather we got at the end of that week, and shame because we only did a one run comp. It definitely worked out well for me, but I would have preferred to win with more than one run…
Andres Braun Photo
DL: Your old room mate Chuck Mumford was in the competition, did you guys make bets about who would win?
Chopo: Chuck actually wasn’t my roomate, I met him skiing at Snowbird on one of the deepest days I ever skied. I was super stoked about finding such a good skier to ski with. For the Crested Butte comp he invited me to go and stay with them in Lars’ van, and also with John, so yes I was Chuck’s room mate for a couple days. He appeared in La Parva by surprise right at the opnening party of the comp, he is a kick ass dancer. In every comp I’ve seen Chuck he was definitely one of the most fun skiers to watch, he makes you feel pretty much the same adrenalin you feel when you come down. Judges don’t really like how Chuk flies down the mountain, I know they love to watch him as much as we do, but they cannot show the same on the paper, he is not on the judging parameter…
Sergio Vidal Photo
DL: How about all that craziness after the competition ended? We left for Portillo, but saw all sorts of things on the news… refugio fires, fatal mudslides, etc. Serious stuff. Do you know if the other competitors made it out to their flights OK? Were you stuck up there, or did you want to be there anyway?
Chopo: That whole week was pretty crazy, first of all the comp, and all that crazy skiers ripping and doing things on the resort that we never even thought of before. Next, that crazy weather, I’ve never seen anything like that before… crazy tropical non-stop rain down low for more than a whole day, and that huge mudslide which took a few houses with it down the river, apocalyptic. So many people lost their flights, I think they were like “what’s wrong with this country!!!”, it was definitely something not normal. I live here so I wasn’t really stuck, but I had to drive some people down to the airport, it was very tight but we did it.
Claudio Vicuna Photo
DL: So now that you have a World Tour win under your belt, what are the plans for this winter? I mean, Northern Hemisphere’s winter. If you do the full tour, we might see you in Canada!
Chopo: That’s definitely one of my plans, I really want to go to Revelstoke and do the first comp there, I’ve heard lots about it. Once about five years ago I did a seasson in Whistler, it was the 2004-2005 season. Pretty cool except it was one of the worst seassons in the history of the ski resort… but the rest of it was nice, the skate park, the people, the parties, and also the snowpark. This season I would like to go all around, so maybe I’ll invest in a van or a car, and spend the season road tripping all over, and try to do most of the comps.
DL: Come to think of it, do you ever get summer? How many years have you been spending winters down south and then more winter up north?
Chopo: I started doing 2 seasons per year 7 years ago, so this next season will be my 14th in a row. I went to Europe for 4 seassons, 1 to Canada, and 1 in USA. Now I think the target will be Washington state, and Canada of course.
Luis Felipe Oliva Photo
DL: Is there any other South American rippers we should watch out for in the coming years?
Chopo: There is a couple good skiers that left everybody very impressed at the comp, such as Moises Vargas, a very strong and solid skier. Also there is a very motivated new generation coming, extremely talented kids. You will hear about them in the future for sure.
DL: OK, well good luck with the upcoming season, hopefully we’ll bump into you along the way. Any thanks you want to give to friends, family or sponsors?
Chopo: Yea, thanks to every body who worked so hard to make the FWT happen in La Parva. Thanks to The North Face for being so cool, thanks to K2 and La Parva for the support, and thanks toskiing or all it has given me. I also want to say hi to all the cool people I have met doing the comps and skiing arround the world, and of course thanks to my family. Now keep reading and watching Doglotion.com!
Claudio Vicuna Photo, Lift Magazine Cover