Things came full circle for the third and final chapter of the Eye of the Condor competition in La Parva, Chile. The weeklong photo and video contest, which pits teams from around the world against each other in creative combat in the heart of the Chilean Andes, ended on Saturday.
Despite impressive photo offerings from North American heavy hitters Adam Clark of Team Valdivieso, and Greg Von Doersten of Team TGR, the hometown heroes of Team Chile walked away with the win for the photo category.
Photographer Juan Luis de Heeckeren and his local crew of friends and family capitalized on local knowledge of the terrain to get the most out of a dry first half of the competition before the heavy snowfall arrived. No stranger to the podium, Juan and his team were the driving force behind winning the contest's inaugural edition in 2011. It was a fitting closure for the contest to have the trophy back in the hands of its original owners in Juan's home at the base of La Parva.
Former TGR intern Nick Kalisz headed up Team TGR by pointing the camera at athletes Tim Durtschi, Colter Hinchliffe and Matt Philippi. TGR's testament to the Chilean condor and astounding cinematography gave them the edge in the eyes of the judges for the video category. Eye of the Condor is the brainchild of Rodrigo Medina, a fan of freeskiing and the director of marketing at La Parva. The contest was designed to feel more like a celebration of skiing culture and community than a competition.
The growth of Eye of the Condor has also paralleled the exploding Chilean freeski scene over the past three years. Teams in the competition could be found dusting off jumps built by locals prior to the competition, and Team Chile athlete Clemente De Heeckeren even made the front page of a local newspaper.