Winter is coming to Chile. Rumor has it that the Ski and Snowboard are opening this weekend as snowfall arrives in the central region of Chile. Are you planning to head up and enjoy the slopes? Here is everything you need to know:
Cile’s ski resorts have built a reputation for great powder and spectacular heli-skiing with several resorts marketed particularly heavily in North America as summer skiing destinations.
Ski Centers near Santiago:
There are 3 main ski centers located within one hour of Santiago that make up part of the “Tres Valles” resorts of Chile. There is also another ski center that is located about 2 hours from Santiago is that worth mentioning.
The La Parva ski center it is the largest ski area in South America with a large variety of trails (38km with 30 slopes). The majority of the visitors have skied before and definitely make the most of their time on the slopes. There is even a slope that connects with Valle Nevado. First timers are also welcomed. It’s services and its equipment and infrastructure guarantee an impeccable offer in accommodation, gastronomy, equipment rental and ski school.
This ski center might a favorite among tourist and first-timers This ski center has 37 kilometers of tracks prepared for all types of winter activities. For snowboarders, Valle Nevado snowboard park offers two tracks: Half Pipe and Border Cross, along with the La Escondida ski lift.
This ski center is probable the locals favorite spot to enjoy the snow. El Colorado is one of the oldest ski centers in Chile with 20 tracks and 18 lifts allow you to enjoy skiing and snowboarding with very good snow quality, as well as offering the possibility of off-piste skiing, both for beginners and experts. El Colorado has a system to create artificial snow, thus ensuring the duration of the snow throughout the season.
A little more down the mountain is the town of Farellones, there is also an offer additional snow activities if maybe skiing or snowboarding isn’t your cup of tea. Head up to farellones and enjoy the snow and go tubing, canopy, or fatbike.
While the other three resorts are perfect for a day trip up the snow or even an overnight day, if your looking for something a little bit quieter, then Portillo might be a better fit. Just two hours away from Santiago, this ski center has everything you need for a weekend getaway or a full week of snow activities. Everything revolves around the only accommodation in the area: the Gran Hotel Portillo.
Where do I buy my tickets?
Almost every place that rents gear has the option for buying tickets to your choice of ski center. Groupon also has great discounts for those who want tickets for the whole season. You can also buy directly from each ski center.
For those who want to bring their own gear, go for it. Each airline has different costs associated with bringing your gear as a checked bag. American Airlines allows your gear to count as one checked bag for your international flight but LATAM does have an additional baggage fee. Please double check the conditions of your airfare.
If you don’t have gear there are plenty of places that allow you rent everything and anything you can imagine for the snow. Prices can range from 15.000 CLP for basic gear to rent the entire package of transportation, gear, and 1 day-slope ticket for averaging around 100.000 CLP. It really depends what you need. Just do a google search of ski rentals in Santiago and something will pop up. We want to check out these places ourselves before recommending in place.
Tips from the experts:
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We asked one of our favorite travel bloggers who absolutely love to Ski and snowboard. Ale and Jonah from Universo Viajero have been skiing since they were able to talk and walk. We asked them to share their secrets and tips about enjoying the snow in Chile and this is what they said:
- Ski or Snowboard?: It’s easier to adjust to ski if you’re a first timer than snowboarding but it’s faster to master snowboarding than it is master skiing. If you’re just coming for the day, jump on some ski because you’re going to enjoy the day much more if you have never tried snowboarding
- Avoid the winter vacation week: There are two weeks in July when the kids from Santiago have a break from school. Many people come up to the mountain so the slopes are pretty crowded.
- 100% cotton: Make sure your wearing breathable clothing. Remeber you’re practicing a sport so you will sweat. Let everything breath because that trapped water will lower your body temperature and then you will be cold and run the risk of catching a cold.
- Sunscreen: The reflection from the sun bounces off the white snow and can leave a sunburn worse than the beach. Even on cloudy days. Same rules apply as if you were going to the beach. 30 SPF and apply frequently.
- Chase that fresh power: Since the ski season is quite short, natural and fresh powder can be hard to come by in Santiago. Try going up during the week when most Chileans are working. If you’re looking for that fresh powder, your best place to ski is any ski resort south of Chillan. Plus it’s less crowded and you’ll have much more room to enjoy.
Universo Viajero has several posts about how to prepare for the season that you can read about here.
When are you headed up?
Stay tuned for updates. The snow season is just getting started!!!