Skiing in Portillo, Chile (photo via Chile)
Some seek an “endless summer”, but others go in search of an endless winter, and for those who are disappointed to see the snow melt and spring take hold, a winter wonderland still awaits in the Southern Hemisphere.
Snowsports enthusiasts can pack their bags and “summer” at one of many ski areas in Chile. From popular, well-known resorts such as Portillo and Valle Nevado to lesser-known ski areas in the Lakes and Volcanoes area of the country, winter and fresh powder await diehard fans.
Portillo and Valle Nevado have long been drawing international visitors, but these off-the-beaten-path ski centers in the Andes highlight Chile’s natural beauty, diverse terrain and breadth of winter activities for visitors.
Corralco, located in the Malalcahuello-Nalcas Natural Reserve, is a world-class destination with more than 1,200 skiable acres of terrain as well as 7,500 backcountry acres. Visitors can not only explore the skiing on the slopes of the Lonquimay Volcano or hiking in the region but can also engage and learn about local indigenous communities and rest and connect with nature.
The facilities at Corralco Mountain and Ski Resort include a luxury hotel, with fully-equipped guestrooms, a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, a spa, a heated indoor pool, meeting space and more. The hotel provides transfers to the ski center, where guests will find snow in abundance from May through October.
Snowboarding at Corralco, Chile. (photo via Chile)
Las Araucarias is located in Conguillío National Park on the western slope of the Llaima volcano. The ski center is surrounded by ancient Araucaria forests and beautiful mountain lakes, providing unforgettable landscapes to those who visit and offering more than 850 acres of terrain.
Unique to Las Araucarias is the descent of torches on the volcano’s slopes, lighting up the mountain every Saturday night. The resort includes fully equipped facilities, ski slopes, ski lifts, apartments, an inn, a cafeteria-restaurant and more.
Snowboarders will want to experience Geopark Los Arenales, located in the Cordillera de Las Raíces, and those who are fans of the backcountry should be sure to head to Nevados de Vilcún, which is near Las Araucarias and focuses on randonée (ski touring) and snowshoeing adventures.
Valle Nevado and Portillo are still the largest and most popular ski resorts in Chile, easily accessible from the country’s capital, Santiago.
Valle Nevado in Chile. (photo via Chile)
Valle Nevado is a year-round mountain resort with some of the highest trails in the country. The resort offers a world-class experience with a ski and snowboard school, several hotels, restaurants, bars and nightlife. The resort is just 44 miles from Santiago’s International Airport (SCL) and sits at approximately 10,000 feet. IKON Passholders can also use their passes (depending on which pass you purchase) in Chile at Valle Nevado.
Ski Portillo is one of South America’s first ski resorts and is located in the heart of the Chilean Andes. The ski-in/ski-out resort is ideal for skiers and snowboarders of all ages with several lodges, a ski school, 35 slopes and more than 1,200 acres of skiable terrain.
The resort is two hours northeast of Santiago on a scenic route through vineyards and fruit groves and is easy to reach with private transport from the Santiago airport.