Ski Areas in Chile – Skiing in Chile
From a skier´s perspective, the Andes mountain range is Chile’s ultimate blessing. Strategically located, the immense Cordillera de Los Andes catches all of the cold fronts that the Antarctic storm systems can dish out, and unmercifully dumps fine fluffy powder on its slopes all winter long. There are few places on the planet that produce snow known as champagne powder, and the northern Andes is one of them.
Chilean ski resorts do not compare with the extreme areas found in Crested Butte, Aspen or Telluride. Nor are there any bump runs to be found that can measure up to Mary Jane’s knee busters. However, the beauty of skiing at a resort high in the Andes on mountains that are dwarfed by 5000 meter (16,500ft) peaks is breathtaking. Though short on runs for the extreme skier (though the backcountry is wide open for this), Chile’s resorts are perfect for the varied needs of families. The country also offers all types of resorts, from the well developed lakeside Portillo to one-lift, two-run slopes that send one back to a bygone era.
Resorts can be found from two hours north of Santiago to nearly the tip of Patagonia, with the snow conditions getting somewhat wetter and heavier the farther south you go. The ski season normally runs from late June to early October, depending on the severity of the winter. Chile’s best overall resorts, regarding terrain and facilities, are within the vicinity of the capital. Three of these ski areas are within an hour and a half drive from Santiago. If chairlifts and gift shops are of little importance to you, but breathtaking scenery is, the areas farther south should not be overlooked.