Originally Posted by CalgarySkier
Any info on El Colorado/Valle Nevado area? I understand this would be the option for a more "social" scene, but I haven't been able to find any first hand accounts of the skiing and terrain.
I have not skied at either place but have talked to numerous people who have. Valle Nevado is close to Santiago and is a day skiing and big weekend area. It sounds like it is more intermediate and more crowded than Portillo. El Colorado is a pretty small area that did not sound too exciting. If you are spending some time and traveling around Chile it would be a nice stop, but if you are going half way around the world for a week vacation it probably is not worth the trouble, although you could easily work Valle Nevado into a Portillo trip, I don't think it is on the way to Portillo so you would have to endure some additional travel time.
It is my understanding that it is the same in Argentina. Las Lenas is the big Kahoona with over 4,000 vert. The other areas have some good skiing but are much smaller and hard to get to. It is not like the US where there are daily flights from everywhere to everywhere. I believe if you want to get from LL to Bariloche you have to fly back to Buenos Aries and then down to Bariloche, unless you arrange private transportation. You could rent a car and drive yourself around the Andes in the winter, but you better have plenty of time. Santiago to Portillo is on the transcontinental highway and a main route to Argentina, but that road can close for days at a time when it snows big. I am certainly no expert on the subject, but it seems like it does not make sense to ski more than one area in Argentina unless you go for at least 2 weeks. There was a guy on this site who lived in Argentina. If you check some of the old South America threads you may find him.