Behind the Scenes in Chile & Patagonia: Winter 2017

What do you do when you have a Winter photo shoot in July, and need to find snowy mountains? You head to the southern tip of Chile, where it’s arctic tundra of forests, fjords, icebergs and glaciers awaited the Athleta production crew in its quiet off-season. We’re #gratefulfor our crew and models who braved freezing temperatures to get epic shots featuring our newest cold-weather approved Winter Arrivals.

The geography of Chile is perhaps the most diverse of any country, ranging from the rugged southern Patagonian tip, to the driest place on earth—the Atacama Desert— in the north, to Pacific Ocean coastline on the west, to the sky-scraping Andes on the east. Chile’s diverse landscapes and weather made it an ideal location to shoot our winter catalog and test our new products in the elements.

FIRST STOP: SOLLIPULLI VOLCANO

After landing in Santiago, our photography crew hopped another flight to the Araucanía Region of Chile, one of the most volcanically active regions of the world, featuring untouched forests of Bay and Cypress trees. 4×4 vehicles shuttled our crew to the base of Sollipulli, a 2.5 mile wide dormant volcano, where they stayed at a lodge at the base.

Getting the equipment to the top of the volcano was no easy task – and required a helicopter and snowmobiles. Once at the top, a snowy landscape marked by jagged rocky formations made for a breathtaking backdrop. This particular volcano has one of the largest and deepest icefields within its caldera.

SECOND STOP: TORRES DEL PAINE

From there, it was nearly a twelve hundred miles trek to Chile’s southern-most tip, Torres del Paine National Park. Here, the Paine massif, a group of mountains belonging to the Andes range, dominate nearly every view, with the highest peak soaring 9,462 feet. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field, stretching 4,773 square miles makes up a large portion of the park, while vividly turquoise lakes nestle into valleys. Our crew was stunned by the incredible landscape, and a few people even called this part of the world the most beautiful place they’d ever seen.

When location scouting in the park, our crew found the beautiful Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, a building with beautiful architecture that almost blends into the gorgeous landscape and provides a magnificent view of Torres del Paine.

Though this region boasts little wildlife, guanacos, a relative to camels and llamas, can be found in nearly every part of the park. Guanacos are usually quite shy, but our crew was able to grab a few shots with this grazing herd. The elusive pumas had been spotted days before in the park and our crew did spot the giant flightless bird, Darwin’s Rhea, wandering around outside the glass walled hotel.

Temperatures hovered around freezing, but our crew decided to commemorate a successful and memorable trip with one last daring move—a plunge into a glacial lake!

Can’t get enough of this breathtaking landscape? See more incredible photos of Chile in our winter catalog.

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