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Portillo boasts the best reputation for international skiing in Chile. The United States, Italian and Austrian Olympic teams come to these magnificent hills next to the alpine lake Laguna del Inca near the Argentine border for summer training on slopes with altitudes that range from 2590m - 3310m, with the longest run of 3,200m. Valle Nevado, La Parva and El Colorado are also popular destinations, and all welcome snowboarders as well.

Ski and snowboard season run from June until late September or early October. Be sure to check your intended resort’s web site for up-to-date weather conditions. Most of the resorts have equipment shops to rent gear. Companies also generally have transportation offers to get you to and from the capital to the resort - though prices vary.



The best skiers come to Portillo not only for the first-class slopes, but also the top-notch resort. Hotel Portillo has world-class accommodation options for financially established visitors, while also offering dorm-style sleeping arrangements. The powder is a favorite of several Olympic teams for summer training, and novices can find hills that are more their level as well.

Tel: 56-263-0606, URL:, E-mail:



The cozy ski resort of Lagunillas has slopes that range from 2,220 to 2,580m in altitude, and is located less than 70km from the capital in San José de Maipo. The best part about this resort is that its prices tend to pale in comparison to the more popular resorts such as Portillo - and that cheaper price does not necessarily detract from the experience. There are four lifts and 13 runs at this locale. Check the Web site for up-to-date seasonal rates.

Tel: 9-8253578, URL:


Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado is conveniently located 60km from Santiago at an altitude of 3,025 meters in the middle of the spectacular landscape of Andes. More importantly than the great views, the powder is perfect for snowboarders and skiers, and the resort also offers heliskiing for those who need to push the limit.

Tel: 56-2-4777000, Fax: 56-2-4777734, URL:, Avenida Vitacura 5250 office No. 304, Vitacura, Santiago.


La Parva

La Parva bills itself as the most exclusive and family-oriented resort around Santiago. It is suspended on the mountainside high above Santiago (2,750m above sea level) and located less than 50km from the capital. There are more than 1,000 houses and condominiums in this small town which can accommodate as many as 7,000 people during the high season. There are also a few choice restaurants in the area.

Tel: 56-2-431-0420, URL:, Isidora Goyenechea 2939, office No. 303, Las Condes, Santiago.


El Colorado

El Colorado has 22 different slopes for skiers and snowboards of any level. There are 18 lifts that go as high 3,333m above sea level. However if you are truly new to skiing nearby Farellones is probably the better, tamer option.

Tel: 56-2-2463344,, Apoquindo 4900, office No. 47, Santiago.



This ski town is located only 32km from Santiago and makes an easy day-trip to some nice slopes. It has the distinction of being the nation’s first ski resort and is generally much cheaper than other options. Because of its price, combined with lower hills, it is a draw for beginner or the less adventurous snow tubers.

Tel: 56-2-3211149, URL:

By Chris Hughes
Traveling South America to give Viva readers the most up-to-date information...
22 Apr 2009

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