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Portillo gathering? (fact finding thread)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Anyone interested in getting a group together and making some powder turns in August?  This is a great journey and there's nothing better than explaining to the TSA why you have ski boots in August....

 

How do you get there? Fly into Santiago Chile, catch a shuttle up to Portillo. Its pretty much that simple (as long as the roads are open)  :D  

 

Cost? Costs will depend on when we go, how many go and other factors but I'm guessing roughly $3,000 for the week including lodging meals and ski passes. We need to explore what deals we can get.  

post #2 of 16

Fort an advance booked trip the Hotel Portillo will insist you book an entire week.  And it is no bargain: http://www.skiportillo.com/organice-reserve/precios-ski-week/?lang=en 

Quote:
We need to explore what deals we can get.    

There is exactly one hotel up there.  The good news is that's why it's not crowded, and if you get lucky like Bob Peters did, you ski lots of powder.   The bad news is that you will not get any cut rate deals unless it's last minute AND they are not full.

 

As I've noted several times, South America is a risky ski destination due to extreme snow volatility.   My view is if you want to roll the dice, you might as well take your chances with Las Lenas, which has big mountain scale comparable to the Alps.  However 80% of that big mountain is dependent upon the Marte chair that operates 40% of the time. There are more hotel options there, so almost certainly cheaper than Portillo. 

 

I'm not saying don't go there; I've been skiing twice in South America.  But you need to have a realistic view.  You CAN spend $3-4K and have very little in the way of quality skiing if the weather does not cooperate.  The odds of this happening are far higher than in most resorts in western North America.  This is why all 7 of my Southern Hemisphere trips have had add-on weeks of non-ski activities.

 

MadPatSki will probably chime in here about his 5 close-to-the-bone South America trips traveling on buses and staying in hostels for modest cost.   That can be done but you're still going to be subject to the weather unreliability issues.  He's been exposed to some other problems too.

 

The Hotel Portillo is nice, but it's possibly THE most expensive way to ski South America.  In the context of a group that balks at the cost of a Gathering in Aspen or Whistler, it seems an odd suggestion. 

 

Valle Nevado is where you will get the lodging deals.  But it gets less snow and terrain quality is "meh" for advanced skiers.  I have not been to Chillan, but it probably gets the most snow of the larger places with decent terrain.  Chillan also has some lift issues similar though not quite as severe as at Las Lenas.

 

My feature articles:

Las Lenas 2005: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/2006/07/17/las-lenas-a-ski-resort-guide/

Portillo/Arpa/Valle Nevado group: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/2008/07/24/great-skiing-options-in-chile-lie-close-to-santiago/ 

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

OK folks, here's the deal, you never book a deal to any where in SA early in the season, you always wait to see what shakes out.  I have never had an issue getting a good deal even waiting to see what shakes out.  Late August is towards the end of the season when the rates drop. 

 

Ski a week? Yes, you always book a week, you can ski 6 days, if you can't don't sign up!  This is not the trip for you. Maybe a P-90x boot camp is more of what you need to get ready for the season? 

 

Valle Nevado is a launching ground to Ski in LaParva which offers incredible terrain offerings and they held the world extreme competition there.  Valle still has several really nice areas that offer some really nice powder skiing that hold for days since most people there don't ski powder. 

 

So, let me sum this up: IF you are interested in exploring this adventure let me know,  You can read Bob Peters review and other bears reviews.  Keep in mind that the rates include all meals and lift tickets. Yes its expensive but this isn't a costco ski trip; get it? 

 

Its not an odd suggestion to ski in the summer; its fun! 

 

Here  ( I couldn't find Bob Peters TR )

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/121256/portillo-august-10-17-2013

post #4 of 16

I've been wanting to go to Portillo in August because that way I can ski with Robin Barnes again and my birthday is in August and this is the only way I'll ever be able to say "I skied on my birthday".

 

So count me in in the "interested" group.

post #5 of 16

Would love to go back, but this is not the year for me:  my older daughter is getting married late August, and I will be required to help with the final arrangements.  And attend.  And pay for it.  (one out of three ain't bad)

post #6 of 16
Would love to go back to Portillo and was considering it. If I go, I bring the family and based on our schedules we probably only have the choice of the 2nd or 3rd week of August (which I feel is about the optimal time to go down there anyways).
post #7 of 16

OK, I'm watching this thread and considering the option.

post #8 of 16

Interested!

post #9 of 16
Quote:
OK folks, here's the deal, you never book a deal to any where in SA early in the season, you always wait to see what shakes out.  I have never had an issue getting a good deal even waiting to see what shakes out.  Late August is towards the end of the season when the rates drop.  

Absolutely. Wait until June to see if there is snow, then book for late August.  But "regular season" at Hotel Portillo runs through Sept. 6.

 

The Hotel Escorpio at Las Lenas, which Extremely Canadian uses for their trips, does start lowering prices in mid-August.  By late August they are half the price of Hotel Portillo: http://hotelescorpio.onlinetravel.com.ar/en/tarifas-extranjeros.php  These do not include dinners, but restaurants in Argentina are a good value.

post #10 of 16
Argentina is an even better value. A friend just came back from 3 weeks in Patagonia. Most establishments take cash USD for double the official exchange rate.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

Argentina is an even better value. A friend just came back from 3 weeks in Patagonia. Most establishments take cash USD for double the official exchange rate.

 

Tony, that is remarkable given the fact that the peso is worth so little on the official market. One day last week it lost 16% against the greenback and has lost about 40% in the past year. It is little wonder that the Argentinian ski sites quote tariffs in US greenbacks. It has to be a boon for businesses who earn in hard currencies and pay in soft, foundering domestic ones.

D1

post #12 of 16

To utter the immortal words of Fat Bastard......"Maybe".

post #13 of 16

What Phantom21 said.  I'll keep an eye on this thread.  Would consider Argentina also.  I had a great time in Las Lenas several years ago.  Hard currency is a hot commodity there, so it may be a good alternative.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey gang, I am going to have to most likely not be able to get down this season due to hope surgery (yeah, another summer wasted on rehab) but not sure yet. I would be happy to help in any way if you all want to move forward on this.  

post #15 of 16

Sorry to hear you're having surgery again Finn!  But, I'm planning a trip to Chile in 2015.  Mine will be a bit odd as I plan to spend time in Santiago visiting friends from when I lived there and not sure how much skiing I'll do.  I may just take a few day trips up.  They used to run shuttles up when I lived there in 91-92 but I'll have to research that.  Or perhaps a local friend will want to join me for skiing.  Anyhow, if you consider doing this in 2015 definitely let me know! 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Valle Nevado is a launching ground to Ski in LaParva which offers incredible terrain offerings and they held the world extreme competition there. 

If there were any big mountain comps in that area, they were almost certainly above the ski area and accessed by hiking or helicopter.  This is not Snowbird or Crested Butte with that kind of terrain in bounds and lift accessible.  La Parva's terrain IS better than Valle Nevado's.  However it's more wind exposed and many of the potentially steeper places had been stripped of snow when I was there is September of 2007, an average snow year.

 

For a group of advanced skiers Las Lenas is the standout choice in terms of terrain, with Portillo and Chillan (I haven't been there but take MadPatSki's word for it) being reasonable options.

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