I am looking to go to Chile for a week in early to mid September. I am most interested in skiing rather than apres. I am an expert and like off piste. Which one is better that time of the year? Also, I saw an insane deal for the Inca Lodge at Portillo. Has anyone stayed there? Would it be miserable if you are over 30 since it is dorms? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Portillo: Open Your Mind to the Full Chilean Mountain Experience
Edited on 5/4/13
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Portillo v Valle Nevado in September
september is really towards the end of the season and can be iffy especially given the conditions over the past 2 seasons, this year seems to be better but its hard to say where it's going. Valle Nevado is not nearly as nice as Portillo but it does offer access to El Colorado and LaParva both of which offer excellent skiing. LaParva opened up a big section of sidecountry that used to be skied but it was technically OB and not patrolled or maintained for avi. THere is a lot of Hike to stuff there and El Colorado hasd the st Terissa zone which is very cool but you need to either hke back up the road, hitch or arrange a taxi to pick you up. The only thing you always need to be aware of is if the connector lifts are running. if not, you will be hiking out of the bowl that connects VN and Laparva.
Portillo offers a lot of hike to stuff as well and is a more upscale resort than VN. I don't know if i Would stay in the dorms.....
Both offer a package deal consisting of lodging food and lift pass's although the Laparva tickets are extra.
Hi there, I don't think FinnDog has been to Valle Nevado in a long time, all of the resort's three hotels have been renovated over the past 3 years and the economy lodging in Tres Puntas is by far better than the dorms at Portillo, even better than their Octogano rooms. The Hotel Valle Nevado's rooms are much larger and newer than Portillo's equivalent. Portillo's hotel is grand but then the rooms are tiny and you eat in the same restaurant night after night. Both resorts offer a totally different experience, the major difference is that Portillo is much smaller but steeper with lots of traversing and hiking, it's definitely not a place for intermediates. Also they require a 7-night stay, Valle has shorter stays available and can be visited for the day only if you like. A friend of mine is staying at Valle this year and she bought a week package and they include 2 interconnect tickets so that you can ski El Colorado and La Parva for a day. Put together, the Three Valleys are huge, Teresita is good as FinnDog says but you will indeed need to hitchhike back. If you can afford it, heli-skiing is phenomenal and you can get up to 4,500 - 5,000 feet in one run.
If you plan for September definitely try to go w/in the first two weeks.
The Inca Lodge is a great deal, but it's really cramped. It didn't matter to us, as you have access to the Hotel for pool, hot tub, etc. So basically, the only time we spent in the Inca was to sleep and shower.
Portillo vs Valle Nevado? If the lake is still frozen, go to Portillo. I found Valle Nevado on-piste to be mostly intermediate.
Here is my TR about Valle Nevado, 1st ski day of my 2007 trip.
My 2007 trip was like this:
Day 1: Santiago
2: Valle Nevado
3: El Colorado
4: Termas de Chillan
5-6: (sitting neat Termas during a storm : lift closure)
7-8: Termas de Chillan (2 more days)
9-10-11: Portillo (3 days)
12: El Arpa
13-14-15: Val Paraiso-Santiago
I never managed to write a TR for Portillo and Arpa or Las Lenas on the 2009 trip. I've return a few times to the Andes, if you look at my blog, you'll see TRs for Chapelco, Los Penintentes, Pucon, Catedral, Cerro Bayo and La Hoya.
Thanks. Was the Inca like living in a party house or is it doable for 40 year old? Part of me thinks like you it would be great since I would only sleep there. Another part thinks it would be tough if it is a full on party.
You wouldn't be the only one. There are a folks that were in that age group. Not the majority, but I didn't stay there much (like most of the people I gather). BTW, I was 42 when I stayed there on that trip.
I live in Santiago and ski Valle Nevado every weekend, season pass, so if you want some updates, send me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. The snow is getting thin right now, so pray for snow or we're in for another poor ski season. Normally Portillo gets more snow than VN, but I was under the impression this wasn't the case this year. However, if you check out the different web sites, Portillo is reporting much more snowfall so far. I'll talk to a friend who spent last week there later on today, so I'll post an update. Before ruling out Portillo, try giving them a call to see if they have any vacancies in the main hotel for a weekend. The toll free number in the US is 800 829-5325. The hotel experience is nice, four meals per day, the pool is sweet, but I find the skiing to be average and spending a whole week at the hotel would be mind-numbing boring. The pub there does get jumping at night, however. If you're lucky, there will be deep base and you'll get some new snow so you can ski the Roca Jack area.
Staying at Valle and getting a combo pass with La Parva is a great way to go. You can take advantage of the sidehill area that Finndog mentioned. They are pricey, however, and don't expect anything to be cheap down here. Chile is no longer cheap at all, and hasn't been for quite a while (I've been here since 1999). The combo passes for the other resorts are not listed on the web page, but to give you an idea, a day pass for Valle is Ch$39,000 and the exchange rate is running around Ch$495/1USD right now, so that's just under USD80! With a hotel stay you get discounted tickets and I have received promotional e-mails from the resort offering a 25% discount for the day pass if you stay at one of their two hotels. I do know three people with brand new condos right next to the hotel, and they rent them out for a week at a time, so let me know if you are interested and I'll ask them about it. You would have to have the dates.
- Portillo v Valle Nevado in September
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