“White paradise”

Spanish paper calls Chile’s ski resorts best in Latin America

The famous Portillo ski resort and the new craze dubbed “Volcano Avalanche” in the south are among the highlights in this international review of winter sports in Chile.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 Category: Ski resorts
Portillo is one of Chile's premiere ski destinations. (Photo: Juan Pablo Figueroa C/Flickr) Portillo is one of Chile's premiere ski destinations. (Photo: Juan Pablo Figueroa C/Flickr)

Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo has published an article declaring Chile the principal skiing destination in Latin America, naming it the region's “white paradise.”

After months of heavy snowfall, the Spanish paper reports that Chile has produced one of its best ski seasons in years, confirming its reputation as one of the top places for practicing for winter sports in the southern hemisphere.

El Mundo praises Chile's world class ski resorts that stretch along the majestic Andes mountain range from Santiago to Punta Arenas, including Valle Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado/Farellones and Portillo. It says that on Chile's slopes, tourists can find top conditions for skiing, snowboarding and even heli-skiing from June to October, depending on prevailing weather conditions.

In particular, the article highlights the Portillo ski resort, located just 93 miles (149km) from Santiago, which it describes as one of the most famous ski centers in South America. It is the only ski resort on the continent that has hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships (in 1966) and several skiing speed records have been set on its Kilómetro Lanzado slope.

Attention is also given to the massive Puma Lodge which boasts 50 glaciers, seven lagoons and more than 50 mountains suitable for skiing. Located just 56 miles (90 kilometers) from Santiago, the resort has its own private heliski center with four helicopters at guests' disposal. Surrounded by virgin forest, Puma Lodge also doubles as a luxury resort in summer offering day spa services, heli-hiking trips to the glaciers, heli-fishing and fly fishing trips, among other activities.

But the latest and most exciting winter sport phenomenon in Chile is set to begin later this snow season, according to El Mundo. Its name? Avalancha en el volcán (“Volcano Avalanche”). Throughout October and November, 40 invited guests will ski and snowboard in freestyle formation along a 3.1 mile (5km) track down the sides of the active Villarrica Volcano in Chile's south. After completing a four-hour glacial trek to the summit, participants will compete in a thrilling race to the bottom. Just another aspect of winter life in South America's “white paradise”.