Summer skiing makes me think of skiing in slush. Fun to try and we have skied glaciers in both Saas Fee, Stryn, Tignes and Stubaital and laughed at the fact that we are skiing in the middle of the summer. But to be honest, it was not great skiing.
South America, however, is something quite different. Since it is located in the southern hemisphere it's winter when we have summer. Add to this the Andes mountain range which runs along South America's Pacific coast, through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina and ends in the far south of Cape Horn. In total it's 7500 km long, making it the world's longest mountain range.
Off-piste skiing from the lift, cat skiing and a bit of ski touring
There are many ski resorts in Chile. However, only certain areas are interesting to visit as they have the terrain and vertical to provide good skiing. We will visit 5 different ski resorts and one cat ski resort. Cat skiing is skiing from a converted groomer that serves as our private lift. In several places there are opportunities for heli-skiing and this can be added to the trip if you wish.
Weather systems and snow
Weather in Chile is dominated by periods of sunny clear weather and big snow storms that often bring a lot of snow. Snow statistics show that there is about 6-8 meter of snow per season but it varies from year to year and between the ski resorts. Therefore, we think it is good to get a variety in the program.
We want to ski as much as we can from the lifts but to get the flexibility we want everyone to have skis with ski touring bindings and skins. Then we can go to great runs that is a bit further away and reach places not everyone else can go to.
Small groups provide better skiing
We are up to six skiers per mountain guide. We know from experience that larger groups do not give as good skiing and flexibility is significantly reduced. To find accommodation in the right place, we receive a maximum of two groups at a time.
Level – snowboarders and skiers
This is a pure off-piste product for those who have previous experience from off-piste and have reached an intermediate to advanced level. For those in the beginning of their off-piste career we arrange special off-piste introduction trips where all skills are trained from scratch. Due to ride-technical issues we choose to have separate groups for skiers and snowboarders. Please contact us if you are uncertain of your level or if you need help finding what you want in our program.
As we are moving between resorts we recommend that you bring your skies with ski touring bindings.
The following program describes the trip as a whole. The number of days can be customized for groups who book together. Which resorts we go to depends on where the snow is good.
Day of travel, departure from Europe. If you travel from the US, you might be able to leave the day after. This is the date specified as the start date for bookings.
Arrival in Santiago and travel by car/minibus to Farellones, about 1.5 hour from the airport.
First ski day of skiing and we get to know the skiing in one of the four ski resorts close to where we are staying. During the day, we also practice how to use the avalanche equipment.
The distances between Farellones (where we usually stay), Valle Nevado, La Parva and El Colorado are all less than 30 minutes by car. All ski systems are linked by lifts.
Hopefully the jet lag from the trip is gone and we can step up the pace a bit. There are many nice runs to do. Depending on how long since the last snowfall, we might hike on the skins to get to the soft snow.
More off-piste skiing is on the agenda. If there are some requests from the group, it is possible to do helicopter skiing in a couple of places, that will get us farther into the mountains.
Our fourth and final day of skiing in the area. After today's skiing we will drive to Los Andes. It is usually appropriate to drive down from the mountains and eat dinner in Santiago and then do the last 80 km on the highway to Los Andes.
Today we ski in Portillo. That means steep skiing near the border to Argentina. The upper lift is a funny drag lift that takes five people at a time! The beautiful lake and the big yellow hotel (which was luxury when it was built) is an impressive sight. But in general we do not think it's worth to stay here more than one day.
Cat skiing! Today we're going to Cat Ski Arpa. This is an experience that is unparalleled in the ski world. We don't want to describe it in more detail, then we would destroy the experience.
Our seventh and last day of skiing. We have left this as a flexible day where we can decide what we want to do. A ski tour, one extra day with cat skiing or ski one more day in Portillo. It is up to you to decide. After skiing we will drive down to Santiago where we spend the last night.
For those who want and have the time we recommend to stay a few days in Santiago before you go home.
The following personal equipment you need to have with you, this is not included in the tour price.
• Ski equipment – including skis with bindings for ski touring and skins
• Ski backpack
Included in the price
• Professional guidance and instructions by certified mountain guide (UIAGM/IFMGA)
• Seven days of skiing
• Safety equipment for off-piste skiing (transceiver, shovel, probe)
• Accommodation including breakfast for 8 nights, shared double room at hotel
• All transportation during the week, including transfers to and from airport
• Lunches and dinners
• Ski passes
• Insurance for off-piste skiing