From Chile’s central zone to its extreme south, ski centres receive thousands of visitors each year between June and September (high season). Chile’s capital Santiago is located very close to some of Chile’s most famous ski resorts, just 40km (approximately 1.5 hours driving up a steep winding road) east from the city centre. Skiing and snowboarding day trips
make a popular winter excursion, or alternatively there are hotel resorts up in the mountains.
Well-known resorts include Valle Nevado
, La Parva, El Colorado and Farellones. It’s possible to buy a joint ticket for Valle Nevado and El Colorado, making the joined resort the biggest ski centre in Latin America. Ski resort Portillo, located further into the mountains at about 164km north-east of Santiago, reaches heights of 2,850m and is used as an Olympic training site by North American and some European ski teams.
Valle Nevado has a big snow park for those wanting to practice their skills, and there are also lots of off-piste runs for those wanting to explore a bit more. In most areas in the Andes in Chile’s central region, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also possible. Heliskiing is becoming increasingly popular in Chile and all-inclusive lodges dedicated to the sport are starting to open.
Further south, Las Trancas in Chillán boasts 28 ski runs and 9 lifts, with nearby hot springs, and is very popular with tourists in winter. Heading further south to the Pucón area you have the chance to ski on Villarrica’s active volcano, and also on Llaima volcano in the same area. In Puyehue National Park further south it is possible to ski on Casablanca Volcano at the Antillanca Ski Center, on slopes lined with native forest.
In Punta Arenas, at the tip of Chilean Patagonia
, you can ski looking out over the Straight of Magellan and, on a clear day, you can even see Tierra del Fuego. For an even more extreme experience you can head further south to Antarctica to ski on ice platforms in Villa las Estrellas.