We're off and running! As of this morning, Ollie landed in Santiago and is making his way to Los Andes today. Principle photography should begin tomorrow. Please follow our production production blog at: http://sentprod.blogspot.com/ . Thanks again to all of our wonderful Kickstarter supporters and to our commercial sponsors, the High Society Freeride Company ( http://www.highsocietyfreeride.com/ ) and NW Adventure Company, a proud distributor of Buffalo Systems ( http://nwadventuretrading.info/ ), for all your support. This project would not have been possible without you.
We've reached our minimum fundraising goal! Thank you so much to everyone that has contributed, we couldn't have done it without YOU. Our plane tickets are purchased and we can't wait to make it down to Chile. However, every dollar contributed goes to make the project even better. Any additional funds we raise will go a LONG way in helping with post-production expenses, licensing fees, film festival submissions, as well as travel to do some additional interviews. Again, THANKS A LOT! and continue to pass this on to your friends!
Breaking Trail: A Skiing Family's Great Dream
The Story: When the lifts stop running in the Rockies and most Coloradans set their sights on other seasonal pursuits, the Sponars pack their bags and leave behind a wife, girlfriend and loved ones to work a mirror winter season in the Chilean Andes. Toni and Anton Sponar, 77 & 28, working as ski instructors in Aspen, Colorado during the North American winter months, endeavor to establish a destination backcountry ski operation, El Arpa, located outside of Los Andes, Chile. Here, skiing is seen as an oddity, at best, far removed from the beaten path of the traditional ski industry.
The snow is deep, the peaks rugged, and the views are spectacular, making El Arpa one of the most unique places to ski in the world. In the past four seasons, the Sponars built El Arpa from the ground up – financed by the modest life savings of Toni – who worked as a ski instructor and guide for more than 40 years. Toni first arrived in Chile in the 70s driving a well-used VW bus all the way from Colorado, in search of the eternal winter season. Working many years for the benefit of other business owners, Toni hopes to build a stable skiing operation of his own that he can pass on his son. But for the Sponars nothing is certain, many hurdles lay before them and any season could be their last.
This is a labor of love. The two men leave behind so much each time they travel to South America. The business relies on a niche market limited by high operating costs, a short business season, and a dependence on the whims of mother nature to deliver favorable skiing conditions. El Arpa can only succeed with full lodging facilities. The family is currently searching for capital to build a lodge, but they cannot secure financing. The most notable interested investors are local mining companies that would like to buy into the project in exchange for mining access on resort lands. However, this would undermine the values that embody the Sponars’ connection to the oudoors, and they have yet to consider the offer.
The Money: The Sponar's story is one close to our hearts. We believe so strongly in this cause that we are diving into our own savings. We are maxing out our own credit cards. Our plane tickets are purchased - We WILL go Chile. However, we are reaching out to you and the Kickstarter family to help cover some of our equipment, production, and travel costs. To those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, we are only granted the funding if we reach our goal, otherwise we don't see a penny. We are keeping our funding goal low, but the more we raise, the more we can spend on post-production, festival submissions, licensing, and to ensure that your contribution makes this project a success.
Why: We believe in Mountains. And we believe in Dreamers. They challenge us to push the limits in our daily lives. We share inspirational stories rooted in the outdoors that highlight passion, adventure, and lives lived a little less ordinary.
Thank you for your time and please pass this on to any friends who might be interested.
-Ollie & Zach, Sent Productions
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