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South America

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok so has anyone here ever skied in South America.....because me and my dad are looking to go there this summer and he told me to research on some places.....we also plan on Heli-skiing down there.....but i cant seem to make up my mind....

Las Lenas (i think im leaning twords this one)
Termas de Chillan
Valle Nevado (i think this is the only place for Heli)

also if theres any other places let me know
post #2 of 19
I have been to Portillo = everything taken care of. Heli skiing available (Book in advance)!! Book a day in Santiago after the ski week. Cuts way down on hassle and stress for the return trip home.

Also See this

And other thread @ TGR. There is allot of SA info.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
thing about Portillo its the smallest out of the ones i listed.....

how is the terrain? backcountry good? was the Heli-Skiing...good , went Heli-skiing in Whistler and thought it was great but a bit easy....

Las Lenas they say is the biggest...but i cant find any Heli-skiing there
post #4 of 19
Portillo has heli-skiing in great terrain, but it is very expensive since the chopper only holds 4 guests. La Lenas does not have heli skiing (unless they just started it), but they do have some great cat skiing.
post #5 of 19

South America

Been to Portillo. There in 2000, snow and runs a lot like Tahoe, powder was better than Tahoe. Off piste: take Rokka Jac lift, hike another 75 yds straight up traverse to the west and there are approximately 4 wide chutes that hold good powder, are not skied by the locals and end up downhill to a lift served area. Or you can go one canyon to the North and spend all day skiing and skining up to a very high descent back into the Portillo Valley, you will end up on the wrong side of lake and will have the local chopper take you back to the lodge at the end of the day. The food is excellent, the afternoon tea (after skiing) is a real social hour. The lodge has a pool, spa, basketball court, bar, dancing, massage, weights etc. I went with NASTC (North American Ski Training Center) they're on internet. Had a great trip, lot of skiing and fun times in Santiago.
post #6 of 19
What is the average cost for a trip. I've seen deals but when you go to set them up the price goes through the roof.
post #7 of 19
The main cost is the plane fare. The cost of Portillo for a week is pretty much set, same at Las Lenas depending on which hotel you stay at. With LL you can save money by taking the 15 hr. bus ride from BA instead of flying to Malarque. It really comes down to how much time you spend in Santiago or BA, what you do there, and if you want to travel around to other places. Do you need someone who speaks English to meet you at the airport and get you through customs, connect to your hotel, transportation, etc, or is your Spanish good enough to do it yourself. Are you going to fly to South American, go right to the area for a week and come home, or are you going to check out the country while you are there?

Bottom Line: There is no "average cost." The plane ticket and ski area accomodations, meals, and lift tickets are pretty much fixed, you can really only save $ on the in-country other stuff.
post #8 of 19
Las Lenas, potentially excellent stuff, but you probably need to camp out there for at least a week to catch the big dumps. It's difficult to get to, and you don't have too much of a choice of accommodation (you stay at the resort, that's pretty much it). I also recommend flying into Mendoza airport, from there, it's a six hour bus trip to Las Lenas.

Valle Nevado, you can stay in Santiago and go up daily. There are numerous companies that will pick you up at your hotel and take you up the hill. They do run on 'Chilean' time, which means an early pickup, then a generous stay at their rental shop, and you will eventually arrive at the resort, like at 10:30 - 11 AM.

Your plane ticket will be the bulk of the costs, it's not cheap flying to South America.

And if you do go through Buenos Aires, spend a few days there, it's a wonderful city. Don't miss the steaks or the wine.
post #9 of 19


I have heard that Baralochi near Patagonia is good. Mountain skiing and ski touring available. Let me know what you find out from others. We are planning a trip down there too, in August.

post #10 of 19
never been...but here's some nice pics of Portillo...

post #11 of 19
I,ve been down there a cuple of times . In amougst my photos here your find some pics of Portilio , Catedral, Terman de Chillan & Las Lenas

post #12 of 19


I was down in Chile last July and had a blast. I guess they were having a great snow year and we lucked out. We went for the ElColorado, Valle Nevado and LaParva experience and stayed in Farellones (base of the valley that connects the 3 resorts). While we did go off-piste a few times, a couple of the guys that were staying in the same hotel (Posada de Farellones) never saw the groomers and were either hiking or in a helicopter for the entire time they were there. I cannot judge the quality of the heli opration because I lack experience, but, I can say that they:
a.) survived
b.) had BIG smiles on their faces
c.) had some incredible photos to show us every day

I am happy to give you any info I have on the trip... PM me if you need any details ate all or ask the question here and I will do my best.

post #13 of 19

Las Lenas & Termas de Chillan

Forget Las Lenas. The problem is the lift system. Last year we had 30 to 45 minute lift lines all day every day. I moaned that the lift serving Marte only ran about half the time and people who had been there the week before said it didn't run at all that week. When they ran it, they only loaded every other chair. Their quad chair they were loading as a triple. Las Lenas is famous because the mountain is an absolutely fabulous mountain to ski if you like steeps but it's a shame that it's occupied by a piece of crap like Las Lenas Ski Area. It was difficult to get more than 6 or 7 runs a day. I wouldn't have minded the leaking roof in the hotel if I could have gotten in some ski time. I did, however, mind getting diarrhea from the breakfast buffet at the Escorpio. We figured out by who got it and who didn't that it was the ham cold cuts. I got it again at Termas de Chillan and I was out of Pepto Bismol and they didn't have any or anything like it in the little store. If it hadn't been for a Canadian couple giving me a supply which we poured into an empty wine bottle, it would have been a real disaster on the 2-1/2 hour ride (which, by the way, is very scenic and interesting) down to Concepcion. The last day that I skied, the slopes were practically desserted and I wondered why since the hotel was full. I think it was the breakfast buffet again. Nothing was cold first thing in the morning so it couldn't have been kept cold overnight. I took a glass of something that looked like a cranberry drink and about half way through the second swallow, I realized it was bad. I'm going to Ushwaia, Portillo and some other place this year for a total of about 3 weeks. I'm trying to find out about Chapelco. I've heard that Bariloche is pretty "ify" as to snow and that the place isn't all that great anyway. I haven't been there.
Good luck,
post #14 of 19
Spent a week in Valle Nevado about 5 years ago. Snowed the entire week before i arrived and the first half of the week we were there. One thing i learned, they dont do avy work like they do in the states. 80% of the mountain was never opened, so cant speak much about the skiing. Did meet / hang with a bunch of Canadian boarders who had been filming the weeks before. They raved about the Heli oppertunties in the surrounding peaks. Think that was the worst part of the trip, listening to the "you should have been here a week ago stories". Anyways, fun place, lots of brazilians having a good time and from what i saw plenty of back country potential given the right conditions. Gotta say conveniance from Santiago(1+ hour bus ride / 20 min heli flight) is a huge plus.
post #15 of 19
good ski conditions has alot to do when you go. so when is the best time to go to Chile?

is it safe to assume that June down south is about equivalent to the northern hemisphere;s December?






or am I off by a month or maybe the SH winter is shorter?
post #16 of 19


I agree with your month to month equivalences but somebody told me that, climatewise, spring comes a little earlier there. I've only been there once (last year) so I don't really know. The guy that told me that claims to ski over 100 days every year but he also claims to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world who has a 7 digit income (and who wasn't with him) and he was from New York city. I didn't believe much that he said but he could be right about the climate. I'm curious about that myself; maybe some other "bears" can tell us more.
post #17 of 19


I was reading through the site looking for info on LL, and when I read Powderdog's comments it jumped out at me that it's very likely that he is talking about my husband . Was he a tall guy from NY? If so, he does ride a lot of days in any given season, and his statement about the climate is correct. Although you probably heard wrong on the 7 digit figure, it's actually a 6 digit figure.
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by chickrider
I was reading through the site looking for info on LL, and when I read Powderdog's comments it jumped out at me that it's very likely that he is talking about my husband . Was he a tall guy from NY? If so, he does ride a lot of days in any given season, and his statement about the climate is correct. Although you probably heard wrong on the 7 digit figure, it's actually a 6 digit figure.
The perfect wife!
post #19 of 19
The month equivalences are correct. The other variables are altitude, latitude and snowfall.

Portillo and Valle Nevado are like the highest resorts in Colorado (9,000 - 12,000) but latitude is like San Diego. Las Lenas has altitude like Aspen, Snowbird or Mammoth and latitude like Taos. Snowfall at these areas is extremely volatile, even more than the Sierra. It can often dump 7 feet in one shot and then be clear for 3 weeks. These characteristics argue for August and September timing. July should also be avoided due to South American holidays, which jack up prices and overwhelm Las Lenas' 20-year-old lift system. My article on Las Lenas was just published here: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/laslenas2006.htm .

Chillan is more like the Pacific Northwest. 5,000-8,000 elevation, more consistent but wetter snow. Bariloche is low altitude and leeward of the Andes, thus lower elevations are snowmaking dependent. But it reputedly is the best resort town.
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