Canada may be famed as the frozen land of the north, but even they have a summer.
And when they do, there’s a hardy band of snow heads left craving their fresh powder fix, and few places in the world can match the pulling power of the Chilean Andes.
In 2012 those crazy Canucks may well have one particular destination in mind, after Toronto Sun – one of the most widely circulated papers in Canada – became the most recent international publication to advise its readers to head to Chile’s Portillo ski resort.
And with its prime location – 9,448 ft (2,880 mt) high in the Andes mountains yet only 99 miles (160 km) from the cosmopolitan Chilean capital of Santiago – and the kind of world class facilities that give it bragging rights for being the only ski resort on the continent to have hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. . . who can blame them?
The Toronto Sun article captures one of the highlights of Portillo, when it describes skiing past the Northern European ski teams that choose Portillo’s well groomed pistes, but being able to ride fresh, untouched powder off the trails – the kind of snow that North American skiers covet but that their South American compadres tend to ignore.
Then there’s the resort’s unique natural setting, from “the Plateau” – the vast, treeless plain that is almost always bathed in sun (when it’s not snowing) – to the “hypnotic views” of the Laguna Del Inca (“Lake of the Inca”), where skiers set up barbeques and marvel at the peaks of the jagged mountains that surround it.
Accommodation at Portillo is limited; in fact there is only one hotel at the slope. But in many ways this is one of the resort’s biggest drawcards. Just a little further away from Santiago than most other resorts, Portillo attracts few day skiers, and a cap of 450 guests means that you will never have to wait for a line at a Portillo ski lift.
Throw in a range of facilities including a disco, wine bar, cinema, outdoor heated pool and a spa and you’ll see why Portillo is shaping up as one of the hottest ski trips in 2012.