Thanks to its location near the base of the Andes mountain range, Santiago, Chile, is essentially South America’s “ski town.” With multiple major resorts within a couple of hours from Chile’s capital city, ski tours from Santiago – even if just for a day or two – are entirely possible.
Chile’s most popular resorts are located in an area often called the Three Valleys, which sits at an elevation that approaches 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) in some places. The resorts in this area include:
One of Chile’s most popular ski resorts, La Parva is located an hour east of Santiago. With 30 slopes and an average snowfall of more than 270 inches (685 centimeters) per year, La Parva offers skiing and snowboarding suitable for all skill levels. Heli-skiing is also offered here for those seeking fresh powder and more of an adrenaline rush.
Also roughly an hour east of Santiago (and adjacent to La Parva), Valle Nevado is one of South America’s largest and most modern ski areas. With more than 100 runs at varying skill levels, a terrain park, heli-skiing and an average snowfall of more than 300 inches (762 centimeters) per year, Valle Nevado is also one of the area’s most popular skiing and snowboarding destinations.
Lastly, there’s El Colorado, which rounds out the Three Valleys. With 77 trails, 20 ski lifts and two terrain parks, this resort caters mostly towards intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, but also is suitable for families and beginners. It sees an average of about 196 inches (500 centimeters) of snow each season.
Passes can be purchased for each of the Three Valleys resorts singly, or
you can mix and match entry to two or three at a time. Skiing/snowboarding
lessons are also offered at the ski schools at each resort.
Located two hours from Santiago, it is Chile’s oldest – and perhaps most famous – ski resort, having opened in 1949. It is renowned for its beauty, as well as its world-class facilities. People go to Portillo year-round to see famous Inca Lake, and the western hemisphere’s highest mountain, Aconcagua, is also not far away.
Note: The ski season in Chile generally begins in June and ends in October.