Chile has been on my bucket list for several decades now. I produced and skied in a sequence in Antarctica during my Warren Miller film days, but never in Chile itself. Usually the weather and snow conditions are not all that reliable, but I got lucky. At the beginning of the season they had a huge dump of nine feet of snow. I kept checking the weather forecast through the season and finally in early August a forecast turned into nothing but sunshine for two weeks. I went and hit the jackpot.
I decided on Valle Nevado with adjacent areas el Colorado and Parva, combined they form the biggest resorts in Chile. The skiing was good, but not great if you look for variety. The runs are well groomed, great for carving and great for a powder day (unfortunately I was too late for the powder). Most of the runs are the same, flat with no contours or steeps. Also since the high altitude, the base of Valle Nevada is at 3000 meters and the top 3800 meters. No trees and when It’s cloudy or it snows your blind as a bat. Not like Whistler in the trees. Make sure to check the weather for cast regularly and don’t book until the for cast is good.
You don’t want to be stuck in flat lite for a week.
But the most interesting is, that the vintage of the majority of the lifts are from the fifty’s and sixties. Nothing but Poma’s, be careful when you put them between your legs otherwise you could hurt you self, the slowest double chairs, a few tripples and a couple of quads. In Valle Nevada actually has a modern gondola that is about as long as the Excalibur gondola at Whistler from the village to the mid-station parking lot.
1. Flight to Santiago takes about 20 hours and it’s not cheap.
2. All the prices a in US$.
3. Transportation from Santiago to Valle Nevado (50km) takes 2+ hours on the most horridness road, price between U$ 350.00 –U$ 450.00. Very expensive.
4. Make sure you book all your reservations directly with the hotel. Packet prices for 7 days, including half board and lift tickets, run between U$ 3.500.00 – U$ 7.500.00. Very expensive.
5. Do not make you reservations with agencies. Some of them are prone to pull bait and switches on you. Be very careful!
I had a good time and I ‘m glad I got it off my bucket list. But considering the cost of the trip, I think I could have spent my money a lot better elsewhere. Like doing some helicopter skiing in British Columbia.
It’s not a go back.