Originally Posted by MoeLarryCheese
How about New Zealand? They speek englesh.
Better than you, I hope.
Santiago, one of the worst polluted cities in the world, is surrounded by (I believe) nine resorts. Portillo is not far (I haven't skied) and the coast is also near. Big city, close to the ocean, surrounded by enormous mountains. As a city, it's nothing special. But the mountains it offers just outside the city are phenomenal.
Personally, if you are comfortable with a little Spanish (maybe your kids are, too) the multi-cultural experience of S.A. would outbid NZ, imo. Wait... are your kids blond boys? If so, they'll probably lose something every man aims to rid himself of as soon as possible and every father hopes his daughter will never lose. SA girls lloooove blond boys. And they have no problem saying so. Their boldness was my biggest culture shock. No shame, at all. If you do have blond boys, they'll probably spend the vacation either blushing, hiding, or trying to make up an excuse to get away from you for an evening.
NZ would offer a few different resorts around Wanaka/Queenstown. The skiing may
be more family-oriented. Traveling is definitely safer for the family around the country-side. And, I would be willing to wager that your kids would get into less trouble apres ski in NZ.
Food should also be a topic in this conversation-
empanadas, choclo vs. meat pies, baked goods.
Carmenere vs. well, Speitz. (sp) (nz has some good wine, too. It just doesn't compare to Chilean)
although I had some of the best food of my life in NZ, the memories of homemade chilean food outdoes it. Plus, a bottle of Carmenere is like a buck. I drank that stuff like juice.
How long are you contemplating for your trip? You could add a week to your SA adventure and hit up Macchu Picchu, too. Just stay out of Lima. You could also visit the world's second largest telescope in Antofagasta. They welcome tourists with reservations.
*I have only skied NZ, and traveled around SA. Queenstown, NZ would be a great family vacation, lots of fun things to do on non-ski days; Jet-boats, bungee-jumping, etc.
Also, the shanty areas of SA can eat a person up quite quickly... which is polar-opposite to my experiences in the NZ country-side. SA is where I learned that one should walk down the middle
of the street when alone on a dark night. I could go on and on about my sketchy SA experiences... none of which include skiing, btw.