In Farellones

Snow time! Chile’s 2011 ski season is officially open

Resorts along the Andes open their slopes to skiiers and snowboarders eager for fresh powder and unrivaled views of the world’s second-highest mountain range.

Friday, July 15, 2011  
Snow season has officially arrived in Chile. (Photo: johnlamb/Flickr) Snow season has officially arrived in Chile. (Photo: johnlamb/Flickr)

Snow season in Chile has officially started. Ski centers are boosting infrastructure and diversifying their offerings in preparation of an expected increase in both domestic and international tourism this year.

At the official opening of the ski season on July 14, Tourism Undersecretary Jacqueline Plass predicted that “foreign tourists at ski resorts could increase more than 15 to 20 percent compared to the 2010 winter season.”

Last year, Chilean snow attracted more than 22,000 foreign tourists, mostly from Brazil (48 percent), Europe (28 percent) and Argentina (12 percent). About 35,500 Chileans reported staying at one of the 16 major ski centers in Chile during the winter vacation in July. 

The mayor of Lo Barnechea, an upscale Santiago neighborhood nestled into the foothills of the Andes, invited everyone to visit the mountain this season. “The idea is to stop looking at the mountains and come on up to enjoy it with your family,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the nearby ski center of El Colorado/Farellones, general manager Peter Leatherbee said the resort was well-prepared for the 2011 season. “For us to open the season early, despite the scarcity of snow, was an award and acknowledgement of the constant work we have carried out on our slopes, 365 days a year,” Leatherbee said.

Still deciding on the best place to test the Andean powder? Check out This Is Chile’s list of favorite ski resorts, or our ski school recommendations for beginning skiiers. And after a day of skiing, make sure you have a game plan for all that aprés-ski relaxation you deserve.