The bounties of the Andes Range
Where to ski in Chile
High elevations, a variety of fully equipped slopes and top-level infrastructure are some of the features of the most sought-after skiing centers in the country.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Chile is without any doubt an ideal place to ski
Amid the beauty and peace of the Andes Range,
the white landscape is much more than a pretty backdrop for the city of Santiago. Chile is without any doubt an ideal place to ski because of its geography, climate and first-rate infrastructure. You can
find modern ski centers just a short distance from Santiago
and, farther to the south, the longest run in Latin
The skiing season in Chile extends
from June to October, i.e. when there is little snow in the northern
hemisphere. During this period it is
possible to find tourist packages offering lodging, rental of ski equipment and
also many other activities to enjoy in the snow, such as snowboarding and trekking.
And although there are a variety of ski
runs throughout Chile,
most of the more salient ones are near the capital. According to the Revista del
Domingo magazine and Chileanski.com, the main skiing centers are Farellones and El Colorado, La Parva, Valle Nevado,
Portillo and Termas de Chillán. Each has different characteristics and caters
to a different public depending on the level of skill they possess and their
Main skiing centers:
One of its greatest advantages is that it
is the nearest skiing center to Santiago, where you can be enjoying snow sports just 45 minutes after leaving
The Farellones complex has a total of four rope tow lifts, and
also offers the possibility of training in a ski school. But if the idea is
to have a pleasant outing with your family, the sector also has restaurants,
lodges and hotels with an unforgettable view.
This year the area underwent a change that
surprised its more frequent visitors: it was extensively remodelled, leading to
the inauguration of the first mountain
park in the Santiago
area. This offers a variety of adrenalin-packed activities such as
climbing, mountain biking, trekking, paintball, mountain cars, in addition to
practicing the more classic winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
Farellones recently had another
improvement to offer its visitors. The Ministry of Public Works, together with
of Lo Barnechea, began to
remodel the routes, installing new
asphalt on the roads and better signalling to make the journey easier for
El Colorado, in turn, is undoubtedly one of
the best ski centers in Chile.
Andrés Ferrer, from the Skitotal shop, explains that El Colorado is preferred
by visitors because it has “steep slopes, the best personalized attention and a
large variety of services for tourists.”
In addition to its renowned 22 ski slopes, 18 lifts and excellent
quality of snow, El Colorado
constitutes a perfect meeting place for its visitors. The so-called “parador”
(inn) for this ski center is a building offering all kinds of services. You can
find everything you need in terms of clothes and equipment for practicing snow
sports, both for rent or sale. It also has a pub, a restaurant serving
international food, lockers, a cafeteria to relax and watch the sunset and even
a handy ski-school for children, where they can learn to master their first turns
in the snow.
The glow of the sun on its admirable snowy
peaks make La Parva
a preferred destination both for Chileans and tourists.
The singularity of its 38 km of ski slopes
is that from the base of this sophisticated winter resort you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire valley of Santiago.
La Parva also has great
diversity in its slopes, with gradients that range from 2.5 to 412 m. Another advantage of this center is that, by
buying a special ticket, skiers can cross over to Valle Nevado.
Considered the largest and most modern ski
center in Latin America, Valle Nevado is fully
equipped for snow sports. Its wide runs
and the natural beauty of its surroundings make it a favorite for many
At the “Ski El Colorado” tourist company,
Juan Pablo Fuenzalida, in charge of transporting tourists from Santiago to the
different ski areas, considers that the top center is “Valle Nevado, because in
my opinion it offers the best conditions of the central zone of the country. It
has a greater number of runs and good snow from the beginning to the end of the
season. La Parva
has very good runs but the quality of its snow is not as good as Valle Nevado, which
meets all the requirements.”
If you want to experience true adventure
in snow heaven, this is the right spot for you.
Portillo is the oldest and -for
the same reason- most prestigious ski center in Chile. It is renowned far beyond just Latin America. Being the highest ski resort, it is the
nestled in the Andes mountains, at an altitude
of 2,852 m above sea level.
Due to its elevation, this great ski
resort has excellent slopes and is a
favorite among the more skilled and experienced skiers.
But Portillo is not only for sports. You
can also enjoy the finest cuisine at the famous Gran Hotel Portillo, a large luxury hotel that is a landmark you can spot at a distance when
approaching the area.
Visitors call it “the Portillo
experience”, because to stay at this hotel is to live a magic moment in the
middle of the snow.
405 km south of Santiago,
via Route 5 (Pan American highway), is the city of Chillán, in the region of Bío Bío. Traveling
by road 82 km from Chillán toward the Andes Range
amid abundant and green forests, you reach this spectacular ski center that
offers a wide range of slopes that can be enjoyed by beginners and experts
de Chillán center has 28 perfectly
groomed ski slopes. Its nine lifts give visitors the wonderful opportunity
to view the native forests of Chillán from above and enjoy the scenery while
getting to their destination.
But that isn’t all. This center has the longest ski run in Latin
America: “Las Tres Marías” is 19 km long. And apart from snow
sports, visitors can also enjoy bathing in thermal waters in an indoor/outdoor
swimming pool in the midst of the snowy landscape.