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Skiing in Portillo, Chile - anyone?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Have you skied or know someone who have skied at the Portillo resort? I'm looking for a ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere to celebrate an anniversary with my wife. The time line is one week in July. We initially thought about Australia/New Zealand but the jet lag is gonna suck and epic ski review has been lukewarm.

Thank you,
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 
Oh wow. A handful of previous threads on Portillo. Should've checked first
post #3 of 24

You may find even more relevant info by doing a directed Google search with something like "portillo: epicski."  Have fun reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

Oh wow. A handful of previous threads on Portillo. Should've checked first
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

 The time line is one week in July.

July is usually by far the busiest month in South America season.

Besides being more expensive, It's also school vacations in many countries.

Usually August is a much better bet regarding good deals, lower crowds and specially more reliable snow conditions.

 

Make sure to a look at "Valle Nevado", "Las Lenas" and "Nevados de Chillan" as well.

 

Enjoy your trip!

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you! Skiing in the summer would be my dream come true...
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

Thank you! Skiing in the summer would be my dream come true...


It would be winter below the Equator... biggrin.gif

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Maybe an urban legend, but I heard Europeans actually ski on glaciers in the summer.
post #8 of 24

Yep, I heard that one too.

 

If I'm not wrong Blackcomb and Timberline also open for summer skiing in North America.

I guess it's limited terrain though.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Oh I gotta look into that.
post #10 of 24

From another thread . . .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kopar13 View Post

You can always go to Austria.  Hintertux glacier offers skiing throughout the summer and is mostly beginner/intermediate terrain.  Kitzsteinhorn is another glacier open through June.  Both are in the Austrian alps not far south of Munich.  Have fun!

 
post #11 of 24
Quote:

July is usually by far the busiest month in South America season.

Besides being more expensive, It's also school vacations in many countries.

Usually August is a much better bet regarding good deals, lower crowds and specially more reliable snow conditions.

+1  I'm as addicted to skiing as many here, but in context there are times you have to draw the line.   I skied 143 days in 21 consecutive months from Nov. 2010 - July 2012.   I got through that summer of 2011 by doing AT at Mammoth after a record snow year.  I've also taken 6 "our summer/their winter" ski trips into the Southern Hemisphere.   Only one of those had good ski conditions by the standards of a winter trip in western North America.   New Zealand's South Island lift service is on the drier side of the mountains and also at relatively low elevation where they sometimes get rain instead of snow.   The Andes resorts get less average snow than the Sierra with much higher volatility.  If you have been paying attention the last 2 seasons in California (nochaser lives here so he should know) you should understand what it means to have one month of massive snowfalls but 2 or more months with practically nothing.

 

So what does all of this mean for southern hemisphere trips?  First, there's a high fixed cost of just getting there.  Given the erratic reliability of the skiing, my trips have been partly skiing, partly doing something else.

Aug/Sept 1982 New Zealand:  4 days skiing out of 14 total seeing the country for the first time, also 4 days in Tahiti on the way home.

July/Aug 1997 NZ:  Most of that 3 week trip was in Australia.  Since I was there anyway, 1 day skiing in Oz and 4 in NZ

Aug/Sept 2005 Las Lenas for a week, then another week in BA, Iguazu and Rio

Aug 2006 NZ: 6 days skiing on a subsidized press trip, scuba in Fiji on the way home.  This was the trip with the best ski conditions

Sept 2007: Portillo/Valle Nevado for a week, a week+ in Peru including hiking the Inca Trail the week before skiing

July 2010 NZ: 4 days skiing after 11 in French Polynesia for diving and a solar eclipse cruise

 

TR's for the 2005 and later trips are here: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=6

 

From a pure ski standpoint the cost is at as high and the likely ski experience less than in the Alps or Japan.  If your northern winter skiing using limited vacation time is high quality (Mammoth certainly qualifies) and you want a different kind of vacation (like mine in 1982) yes you might consider it.  But for someone whose western experience has been mostly Snow Summit, there's all kinds of great western destinations you could try next winter for less than half the cost of going south this summer. 

 

Finally, when dealing with ski areas with erratic snow history where you must book with some advance notice (especially when it's a major $ commitment), it's important to give yourself the best odds of success.  If you can't do it in August/early September, save it for another season when you can.

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
You hit the nail right on the head. I've come to pretty much the same conclusion. There is so much for me to explore in Tahoe, Utah, CO, BC, WY, etc. before looking outside NA. I've been going to Mammoth almost every week since SS closed in early April, and I'm just getting introduced to the awesome skiing that WNA can offer. My goal is to hit all the mountain collective resorts in 2013-14.

Based on my cost/risk/benefit analysis, it just doesn't seem like a good option (at least for another year or two) for me to travel to the Southern Hemisphere to get my ski fix during the summer. With that money, I'd be probably better off to buy some ski toys, pay for gym membership, and get my legs in better shape for the next season.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

+1  I'm as addicted to skiing as many here, but in context there are times you have to draw the line.   I skied 143 days in 21 consecutive months from Nov. 2010 - July 2012.   I got through that summer of 2011 by doing AT at Mammoth after a record snow year.  I've also taken 6 "our summer/their winter" ski trips into the Southern Hemisphere.   Only one of those had good ski conditions by the standards of a winter trip in western North America.   New Zealand's South Island lift service is on the drier side of the mountains and also at relatively low elevation where they sometimes get rain instead of snow.   The Andes resorts get less average snow than the Sierra with much higher volatility.  If you have been paying attention the last 2 seasons in California (nochaser lives here so he should know) you should understand what it means to have one month of massive snowfalls but 2 or more months with practically nothing.

 

So what does all of this mean for southern hemisphere trips?  First, there's a high fixed cost of just getting there.  Given the erratic reliability of the skiing, my trips have been partly skiing, partly doing something else.

Aug/Sept 1982 New Zealand:  4 days skiing out of 14 total seeing the country for the first time, also 4 days in Tahiti on the way home.

July/Aug 1997 NZ:  Most of that 3 week trip was in Australia.  Since I was there anyway, 1 day skiing in Oz and 4 in NZ

Aug/Sept 2005 Las Lenas for a week, then another week in BA, Iguazu and Rio

Aug 2006 NZ: 6 days skiing on a subsidized press trip, scuba in Fiji on the way home.  This was the trip with the best ski conditions

Sept 2007: Portillo/Valle Nevado for a week, a week+ in Peru including hiking the Inca Trail the week before skiing

July 2010 NZ: 4 days skiing after 11 in French Polynesia for diving and a solar eclipse cruise

 

TR's for the 2005 and later trips are here: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=6

 

From a pure ski standpoint the cost is at as high and the likely ski experience less than in the Alps or Japan.  If your northern winter skiing using limited vacation time is high quality (Mammoth certainly qualifies) and you want a different kind of vacation (like mine in 1982) yes you might consider it.  But for someone whose western experience has been mostly Snow Summit, there's all kinds of great western destinations you could try next winter for less than half the cost of going south this summer. 

 

Finally, when dealing with ski areas with erratic snow history where you must book with some advance notice (especially when it's a major $ commitment), it's important to give yourself the best odds of success.  If you can't do it in August/early September, save it for another season when you can.

You left out your Antarctica  trip.biggrin.gif

post #14 of 24
Quote:
You left out your Antarctica  trip.biggrin.gif

That wasn't really our summer in November.  Even for that one we spent 10 days in Patagonia after the ski cruise.

post #15 of 24

Hi Nochaser. Portillo is a small but very nice ski resort in Chile.

Depending of what you prefer, I would recommend going to Portillo or to other resort.

Portillo It is basically one Hotel with some ski lift. They only sell a limited amount of passes per day so it is never crowded. The hotel, even though is a bit old and rooms are small, is very nice and is very well preserved). The service is great. The first day you are given an specific table at the dining room and you will be served every day by the same people (food and wine are excellent). It has a swimming pool, spa, gym, etc.

In connection with the ski area, there are a couple of runs with moguls that are fine. The rest of the mountain is not very challenging. So, if you like a relax skiing, that’s your place.

If you prefer serious skiing I would choose Las Leñas. The marked runs are not very challenging either, but the backcountry is great. The problem is that usually there is a lot of wind and sometimes Marte lift is closed, and that’s the access to backcountry skiing. In July you will find Las Leñas very crowded, as winter holidays are the last two weeks of July. In August you will probably find better snow and less people (and cheaper prices).

Bariloche (Cerro Catedral) is a good option, too. Very nice view, nice city, good hotels, and a bit more challenging mountain. The problem is that, as the mountain is not very high, you have risk of not having snow in the lower part of the mountain and that is a pain.

In any case, be aware that South American mountains can never compare with Rockies. They are smaller, the lifts are older (I only found same type of lifts in Taos NM), and the snow cannot compare at all.

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post

Hi Nochaser. Portillo is a small but very nice ski resort in Chile.

Depending of what you prefer, I would recommend going to Portillo or to other resort.

Portillo It is basically one Hotel with some ski lift. They only sell a limited amount of passes per day so it is never crowded. The hotel, even though is a bit old and rooms are small, is very nice and is very well preserved). The service is great. The first day you are given an specific table at the dining room and you will be served every day by the same people (food and wine are excellent). It has a swimming pool, spa, gym, etc.

In connection with the ski area, there are a couple of runs with moguls that are fine. The rest of the mountain is not very challenging. So, if you like a relax skiing, that’s your place.

If you prefer serious skiing I would choose Las Leñas. The marked runs are not very challenging either, but the backcountry is great. The problem is that usually there is a lot of wind and sometimes Marte lift is closed, and that’s the access to backcountry skiing. In July you will find Las Leñas very crowded, as winter holidays are the last two weeks of July. In August you will probably find better snow and less people (and cheaper prices).

Bariloche (Cerro Catedral) is a good option, too. Very nice view, nice city, good hotels, and a bit more challenging mountain. The problem is that, as the mountain is not very high, you have risk of not having snow in the lower part of the mountain and that is a pain.

In any case, be aware that South American mountains can never compare with Rockies. They are smaller, the lifts are older (I only found same type of lifts in Taos NM), and the snow cannot compare at all.

So first off, I should admit that I work in Portillo, so I am a little biased. But in no way is Portillo 'not very challenging', there is a really good amount of ungroomed and steep terrain. The snow can also be legitimately epic, of course it can also be pretty crummy as well. It doesn't matter so much that the lifts aren't detachable, as there are never crowds there, most of the time only the hotel guests are skiing, which is 450 people, at the weekends there can be more, but lines are still incredibly rare. 

 

I have skied almost everywhere (and taught skiing on 5 continents) and Portillo is still one of my favourite resorts. 

post #17 of 24

Also, I've experienced NZ (4 full seasons) and summer skiing in Europe (6 weeks in Deux Alpes), and Portillo is by far the better option for skiing. If you want to mix your vacation with other activities, it may be a different question. 

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post

In any case, be aware that South American mountains (you mean Resorts, right?) can never compare with Rockies. They are smaller, the lifts are older (I only found same type of lifts in Taos NM), and the snow cannot compare at all.

Doing some justice to the great Andes mountains. rolleyes.gif

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thiago View Post

Doing some justice to the great Andes mountains. rolleyes.gif

Correct!

post #20 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim. View Post

So first off, I should admit that I work in Portillo, so I am a little biased. But in no way is Portillo 'not very challenging', there is a really good amount of ungroomed and steep terrain. The snow can also be legitimately epic, of course it can also be pretty crummy as well. It doesn't matter so much that the lifts aren't detachable, as there are never crowds there, most of the time only the hotel guests are skiing, which is 450 people, at the weekends there can be more, but lines are still incredibly rare. 

 

I have skied almost everywhere (and taught skiing on 5 continents) and Portillo is still one of my favourite resorts. 

I don't agree. If you get the right week in Las Leñas (meaning that Marte is open and not very crowded), in my view, it gives access to more and much more challenging terrain than Portillo. Having said that, I agree that Portillo is not a bad option. For sure, much better than Las Leñas in lodging, service, etc. 

But I’m not sure if it is worth traveling 10 hours from California, as Nochaser will.

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post

I don't agree. If you get the right week in Las Leñas (meaning that Marte is open and not very crowded), in my view, it gives access to more and much more challenging terrain than Portillo. Having said that, I agree that Portillo is not a bad option. For sure, much better than Las Leñas in lodging, service, etc. 

But I’m not sure if it is worth traveling 10 hours from California, as Nochaser will.

 

if you can predict when this it would be I would agree. 

post #22 of 24
Portillo is a great experience especially for a romantic vacation. You are pampered by the staff, eat great food, ski to and from your door and in August will likely get to rub elbows with the elite racers of the world. For a week, you are living a secluded, plush, ski dream vacation.

I didn't go for a romantic vacation, but spent three weeks race training. We had spring conditions, days when the lifts were closed due to too much snow and all around great conditions. FWIW, SA is apparently off to a good start of the season with at least one area opening early.
post #23 of 24

Portillo is a special place. I enjoyed a couple years adventures with Dick Dorworth and Franz Weber. I also remember the daily afternoon Chilean army machine gun and mortar fire practice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Portillo is a great experience...
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanoB View Post

I don't agree. If you get the right week in Las Leñas (meaning that Marte is open and not very crowded), in my view, it gives access to more and much more challenging terrain than Portillo. Having said that, I agree that Portillo is not a bad option. For sure, much better than Las Leñas in lodging, service, etc. 
But I’m not sure if it is worth traveling 10 hours from California, as Nochaser will.

I haven't skied LL, and didn't compare the two, just responded to the guy who said that Portillo had no challenging terrain. I really want to ski LL as well as for sure the Marte lift looks amazing.
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