the stunning landscape
Your ski adventure in
Chile is a country that is over 4000 km long and only 180 km wide, bordered by the Pacific on the west and by the magnificent and impenetrable Andes to the east. Thus it has always been a virtual island, isolated from the rest of South America. These features have produced a very unique culture, offer amazing geography, and make for an incredible ski experience on fantastic snow.
In central Chile at the resorts of Portillo, Valle Nevado, La Parva and El Colorado you are skiing the Andes at altitudes over 3600m / 12,000ft. The base areas are above the altitudes of most ski resort summits in Canada and Europe! Combine this altitude with the arid climate (cacti grow up to the snow line) and you have the most unique snow conditions in the world. The snow falls as a small particle and is extremely dry offering some of the best powder in the world. The snow is so dry that on the piste there is no such thing as hard pack or ice. It stays soft and playful. A fact worth experiencing as a skier just to believe it!
In the south of Chile at the ski resorts of Nevados de Chillan (formerly Termas de Chillan), Corralco, and Pucon, you ski on volcanoes - live volcanoes! Their conical peaks tower over the ski resorts with steam rising as you ski on the lower portion at altitudes between 1800m/6000ft and 2700m/9000ft. The snow here is of the same extreme dryness and offers incredible snow conditions and powder skiing. At some of the volcanoes you have the opportunity to hike up or take a snow-cat to the top, look right into the mouth of the volcano and then ski it from top to bottom.
In both central and southern Chile the ski resorts have no trees. You are either at high altitude above tree line or skiing on a volcano which consists of old lava flow where no trees can grow. This results in large open acreage for skiing. Combine this with the fact that not many Chileans ski, as outdoor sport is not a big part of their culture yet and skiing is only for the wealthy, and you have virtually empty slopes. In addition Chileans do not ski off-piste. Skiing is a social event for them, not an athletic endeavour. This all adds up to you being able to ski fresh tracks in-resort for days and days after a snowfall! No need to hike or head into the back country – the fresh is all chair accessible.
Chile ski resorts offers unique and varied terrain, from challenging expert slopes and endless powder, to amazing intermediate skiing that no one else talks about. There is loads of long and rolling terrain that makes for great fun and great skiing, whether cruising is your style or ripping it up!
During the winter Chile is sunny 80% of the time as the weather fronts come in from the Pacific, dump for a day or two and then move on, leaving sunny skies. The temperatures are mild averaging -5C or warmer yet the snow is dry and light, due to the unique climate and geography. You will be spring skiing on winter snow!
You must mention the people of Chile when talking about the skiing. They are the friendliest and warmest people you will encounter. They are happy, easy going, and always willing to help you. This contributes to a very relaxing ski experience as well as Chile being a very safe place to travel. As well it is politically and economically the most stable country in South America.
Of course there is wonderful Chilean wine to be had with lots of great new food experiences. You will get to experience the infamous “Pisco Sour”, the Chilean national drink. Nightlife in Santiago, a city of over 6 million, is abundant and you can carry on into the wee hours of the morning.
Chile does not have the infrastructure at its ski areas that other countries do for accommodation, restaurants or entertainment. This is due to how few people ski in Chile and the isolation of the resorts. The three ski area that tour operators offer week stays at (Valle Nevado, Portillo and Nevados de Chillan) have a hotel for your week stay and that is it.
Consider exploring Chile and it’s skiing with a guided tour so you can experience more than just a ski resort hotel as Chile has so much more to offer.