Snow, the capital’s eternal winter companion, is the guest star of the colder months that are heralded by the first rain each June. Chile’s major ski resorts, which sit two thousand meters above sea level, get a white makeover and invite skiing and snowboarding fans to join the icy, adrenaline-packed winter party.
If you’re interested in skiing South America’s best slopes, travel 40 km east of downtown Santiago towards the Andes. Some of the most famous ski resorts quickly come into view as you leave the city, including Farellones, El Colorado, La Parva and Valle Nevado. All of them have hotels, restaurants, equipment rental and ski slopes for everyone from beginners to experts who might even prefer off-piste skiing.
Portillo, one of the Southern Cone’s most traditional ski resorts, is located at the Los Andes border crossing only 164 km northeast of Santiago near the Cristo Redentor pass (2,850 m). It has long been a training ground for European and North American Olympic teams.
The options at these resorts go beyond skiing and snowboarding to include both more affordable and more radical activities such as snow motorcycling, catskiing and all-terrain skiing, which has become quite popular among more experienced sports lovers. The most exclusive option remains heliskiing, which involves having a helicopter take you to places where only a lucky few have set foot. Or skied.
|The season generally starts in June or July and lasts until September or October, depending on the year. The ski resorts’ websites will provide daily updates on slope conditions.||Skiing is not an inexpensive sport, but there are affordable options such as visiting the mountains without skiing or plunging downhill with minimal equipment. Don’t let money deprive you of the opportunity to enjoy nature and the snow- it can be done on a minimal budget.||All ski resorts have medical staff on hand in case of accidents, but it is important to follow the rules at all times and recognize your limitations.|
|Snow sports require waterproof gear as well as a change of clothing. Snow can get you wet and cold quite quickly, and winter mountain temperatures are low and conditions can change rapidly. Don’t forget the sunscreen.||Waking up to a snowy landscape is quite a spectacle, and we recommend that you stay at least one night in the mountains if you can. The ski resorts and surrounding areas offer a wide range of lodging options including hotels, cabin and condominium rentals (daily or weekly) and hostels with shared rooms.|