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“Upon arrival, the sheer untamed wilderness struck me to the core.”

YEAR AND SCHOOL: Junior at Colorado Rocky Mountain School

TITLE: The Endless Winter: Dropping a Knee and Lending a Hand


        In March of 2012, Lucien commenced his Dream Project by flying across the equator in search of his “ideal summer”; being part of a group of a dozen telemarkers, including two veteran coaches, he embarked to the city of Portillo, Chile. Heading into the mountains, they were surprised to encounter not the waist deep powder they had imagined, instead the mountains were covered with hard snow pack, slush, and exposed rocks. Bringing somewhat of a novelty to the remote region of Chile, these telemarkers made better of the conditions and tested their minds and bodies, doing double yoga sessions and pushing laps on the mountain well into dusk. While “epic free-heeling” and long training days in the heart of the rugged Andes characterized aspects of his journey, Lucien had plans to do much more than just that.

“This love of the sport (telemarking) has come to drive much of what I do, and my experiences with it have informed much of the person I am today.”

       After polishing his technical skiing skills, Lucien moved onto pushing himself in other ways by working with the Full Circle Project, which was facilitating sustainable agricultural practices in the small community of Amaru. Specifically addressing the issue of waste, as exposed pits contaminated the local environment, Lucien helped construct a recycling and waste sorting facility. Taking two weeks to gather foundation stones, cut trees, and prep adobe, he dedicated long days at high elevation to do “some of the hardest days of work” of his life. Working with the locals that would directly benefit from the project, Lucien was humbled by the will and character of the people. By the end, he found that the community of Amaru not only gave him many new perspectives in life, but also “a new drive to improve other’s lives and lead a passionate life of my own.”

       Continuing to adventure through life, Lucien is often reminded of the experiences and lessons he learned throughout his Dream Project. Whether it is an adobe building or a simple cup of tea, he will always remember the friendships he formed and how he made his dream of the endless winter come to fruition.


      I was with the FullCircle Project, a group of professional skiers and cinematographers, in Amaru for the purpose of building and recycling center. The town dump was, to the locals, an affront to Pachamama (the Earth mother), and a needless waste of materials that could otherwise be made use of. So the next two weeks were spent gathering foundation stones (more like boulders if you ask me), cutting down trees, and preparing adobe for the center. It was perhaps some of the hardest work I’ve had to do, at the highest elevation I’ve ever been, but it seemed negligible, even easy when I remembered the group, the locals, and location I found myself in. Thinking back on the trip, the things that I remember most are the small things; the little details that, while unnoticed during the moment, now remind me that it all really happened. A cup of tea in the states brings me back to the meals in our home-stays, where multiple thermoses of hot water would be expended as we guzzled cup after cup of freshly-picked herbal tea with our meals. The inundated herbs would pile up in our cups, making them look like Dagobah by the time we were finished, and now Herbal Essences just doesn’t quite compare. The hard pack of singletrack of Colorado, one of the prides of this state, sends me to the trails that spiderwebbed throughout Amaru, which we would hike daily to get to our various work sites.

       Days went quickly, from our 8:30 breakfast to finishing work around four or five, and then heading to bed well before ten. The sunrises and sunsets were incredible; in the morning the sun would ascend behind the glaciated peaks in the background, and at night setting behind the terraced mountains in the fore. Everyday held new challenges, most of them physical, and seeing the ease with which the Peruvian locals carried stones and trees which doubtless weighed well over a hundred pound, the experience was a humbling one to say the least. Even now, seeing an adobe building reminds me of the work we never finished there, but I rest confident it will get done, especially now that all the materials are in place, the construction site is level, and the will of the townspeople is strong.  Getting to see a community like Amaru was a much needed faith-in-humanity booster for me, as much of the media we’re exposed to in our daily lives chooses to center on the darker, more marketable points of human nature. And now, now that I’ve left and I’m sitting comfortably in my dorm room in Colorado, I have a new drive to continue living my life in the spirit of the project.