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Where to ski in the summer

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Both of my kids have hinted that they want a ski holiday this summer. (something like - "Dad, can we go to South America to ski this summer?)It's tough, but I'm considering "giving in."

As I'm not familiar with resorts on the underside of the world, I'd like some advice on where to go, hassles, etc.

BTW my kids are 11 and 13 yr old racers who love steeps, powder, chutes, and jumps. My wife is a strong intermediate skier, who sometimes "freezes" and chooses to slide-slip where the kids and I ski (or chooses not to ski where we ski), so we need some variety in the resort skiing to make everybody happy.

John
post #2 of 29
How about New Zealand? They speek englesh.
post #3 of 29
Portillo is a great choice and you get to ride the Roca Jack!
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoeLarryCheese View Post
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.
post #5 of 29
I lived in Santiago for a year albeit 17 years ago but actually found it to be a fascinating city and have many wonderful memories of exploring the markets, parks, eateries etc. I was 14/15 at the time.

I did get the chance to ski there once (I think we went to El Colorado) but it was a long time ago and not while I was super into skiing. I enjoyed it though and found the skiing above timberline to be disconcerting at first. I'd love to go back and hit many of the ski areas in Chile, in fact, it's one of my bucket goals.
post #6 of 29
You know, you bring up a good point COSkigirl... I did really enjoy those markets around Santiago. I was only in that city for 5 weeks, but I remember it often.

The 6 months in Iquique, now that... oh nevermind.

I fell in love with Cuzco (the last city before Macchu Picchu). I didn't want to leave that place. Not much skiing, though.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
Portillo is a great choice and you get to ride the Roca Jack!

having skiing valle, termas,portiullo las lenas, colorado and parva i found portillo to be THE WORST in the term of terrain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
post #8 of 29
NZ is a 12 hour flight from LAX to Auckland, but a direct flight from there to Queenstown and you are in the heart of a ski town. I suspect elapsed time wise it might not be a lot less going to SA by the time you arrive at the actual resort.

We are all english speakers, so there is not the cultural shock. In NZ you stay in towns below the snow line and drive up the mountain each day. This means you can do lots of other activities while you are here cause you are not living in the snow, eg. mountain biking. We dont really have on-mountain accomodation, and we don't have trees on our slopes. I'd suggest basing yourself in Wanaka, it is under an hour from Queenstown where the major airport is, there is a smaller airport at Wanaka but flights are not as frequent and only come via Christchurch. There are two resorts that have more reliable snow conditions than the two resorts at Queenstown.

some web sites to check out
www.lakewanaka.co.nz (info about the town)
www.treblecone.co.nz (ski area #1, my favourite)
www.cardrona.co.nz (ski area #2, great for intremediates)
www.snow.co.nz (info on skiing in nz)

I'd suggest coming mid-late August, or early Sept, most reliable snow conidtions then. Mid to late Sept is spring conditions.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kubagr View Post
i found portillo to be THE WORST in the term of terrain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
How so? Some rave about the place.
post #10 of 29
I feel compelled to warn about the strong La Nina which currently shows no sign of letting up. La Nina is bad news for the low latitude South American areas of Portillo, Valle Nevado and Las Lenas. I recommend not advance booking for these areas in 2008 until adequate snow is on the ground. Chillan and points south in Chile MAY have better odds. I say MAY because I have no data to back up that conjecture. I do have the data from Portillo and Las Lenas (Valle Nevado is between them) and it's not pretty.

Table below is sum of 6 months MEI table values, year, and Portillo snowfall for the 7 strongest La Nina years since 1970.
-8.99 1975 109.45
-8.32 1971 284.65
-6.66 1973 87.80
-5.95 1988 106.30
-5.26 1970 204.72
-4.77 1974 248.03
-4.10 1999 264.96

The current La Nina is increasing in intensity. The FEB/MAR value of -1.546 most recently published a couple of weeks ago is stronger than any month from 1998-2000. Since the 6-month MEI total for the upcoming season is very likely to be in the range of those top 4 seasons in the list above, you can see why I would be very skeptical of committing advance $ to South America skiing this year. Las Lenas did not exist in the 1970's, but had 163 inches snow in 1988.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
I feel compelled to warn about the strong La Nina which currently shows no sign of letting up. La Nina is bad news for the low latitude South American areas of Portillo, Valle Nevado and Las Lenas. I recommend not advance booking for these areas in 2008 until adequate snow is on the ground. Chillan and points south in Chile MAY have better odds. I say MAY because I have no data to back up that conjecture. I do have the data from Portillo and Las Lenas (Valle Nevado is between them) and it's not pretty.

Table below is sum of 6 months MEI table values, year, and Portillo snowfall for the 7 strongest La Nina years since 1970.
-8.99 1975 109.45
-8.32 1971 284.65
-6.66 1973 87.80
-5.95 1988 106.30
-5.26 1970 204.72
-4.77 1974 248.03
-4.10 1999 264.96

The current La Nina is increasing in intensity. The FEB/MAR value of -1.546 most recently published a couple of weeks ago is stronger than any month from 1998-2000. Since the 6-month MEI total for the upcoming season is very likely to be in the range of those top 4 seasons in the list above, you can see why I would be very skeptical of committing advance $ to South America skiing this year. Las Lenas did not exist in the 1970's, but had 163 inches snow in 1988.
In my best Donald Sutherland 'Oddball':
"There you go with those negative vibes again."

I'm booked at Termas de Chillan the last week of August. I've been there twice before and like the place. It's a little painful to get there since it's a 5-ish hour train ride from Santiago followed by a 90 minute van ride to the resort. With the collapse of the US dollar, Chile is no longer bargain priced. I never had any difficulty getting by with my 100 word Spanish vocabulary and enough French fluency to be able to pick out most of the written words. English works pretty well at the ski resorts and in Santiago.

Most people will find it easier to do Valle Nevado for a first trip. It's only a couple of hours from the airport in Santiago so you can ski your first day and last day. The resort is modern and in the style of the high rise French purpose built resorts with a hotel & restaurant cluster and nearby condos. The place interconnects with La Parva and el Colorado so you have a lot of acres. On piste, La Parva has the best terrain other than the T-bar servicing a bump run up the back (Valle Nevado) side of el Colorado. Most everything in Chile is intermediate. From that el Colorado T-bar, there's interesting and challenging off piste that dumps you a few turns down the Valle Nevado access road. You can usually find a driver who is at the resort waiting all day for their fare who is willing to make some pocket change picking you up. It's tough hitch hiking. Bring a spare radio for the driver since it takes a while to get up there. In September, Valle Nevado drops their prices significantly and I think they just announced a 6 days for 7 special at that time of year. Beware that they're on a Friday to Friday booking schedule. At times, they also have 4 day and 3 day booking periods. Recently, they've been very inflexible about different arrival days so I've stopped staying there.

The original post was asking for steeps. That's really not Chile. You can find little shots of steep but nothing like Northern Hemisphere big mountain skiing.

I've also done New Zealand. The mountains are much smaller and you don't get a whole lot of vertical. I thought Treble Cone was by far the best and the terrain up on the saddle was very enjoyable. I also liked Mount Hutt though it doesn't have anywhere near as much terrain. I wasn't as enthusiastic about the Queenstown Coronet Peak and The Remarkables part of my trip. Queenstown is more of a destination resort town than sleepy Wanaka or Methven but I didn't think the skiing was as good. If I had to stay in Queenstown, I'd do the extra travel time to Treble Cone. At any of the New Zealand ski fields, the skiing is best when the snow levels go low enough that you can ski a few turns down their access roads. The mountains tend to be steep at the top, flat in the middle, and steep again below the parking lot.
post #12 of 29
Canadianskier - if you do decide to go to NZ, from Alberta you are probably best to go via Vancouver, and fly direct to to NZ with Air New Zealand. They now fly direct, is a 13 hr to 14 hr flight. Fly to Queenstown, pick up a car and drive to Wanaka.

GeoffD's summary is spot on. Treble Cone has the most steeps and vertical - nothing like what you are used too in Alberta. And your wife would be fine there too.
post #13 of 29
Another option that may be available for your flight to NZ is with Air Pacific (Pacific Air (?)) Anyway, in 2000 they had a layover in Fiji for fuel. But... you could extend that layover however long you chose up to a week free of charge. Of course you have to pay hotel fees, but it may be worth it to you. It sure as hell was worth it to me. I met Moses in Fiji. That story is still one of my top 3 and was completely unplanned.

I need a vacation now...
post #14 of 29
Come to NZ it's snowing now as I speak (dreaming of more good things to come). Don't go to Treble Cone - $100 day lift passes, Fat Cat elitist hill. Ignore, avoid, evade. Don't believe the hype about their 'superior product', yawn, sic ad nauseum.
post #15 of 29
View from the top of Teble cone

http://www.lakewanaka.co.nz/index.cf..._aspiring.html

yes it is more expensive than the others, I am glad I don't have to pay the full ticket price. You get more sking for your $ compared to Cardrona, but now they have replaced the fixd grip chair with a detachable it means you won't have to sit on the chairlift for 12 mins to get a 2 min run down. You get what you pay for. Coronet Peak are $84 to pay to ski a large portion of the time on man made snow cause their resort is too low to rely on naural cover - they have to have snow making to the top of the hill to cover high use areas.
post #16 of 29
Julie, no mention of the NZ club fields? On-snow accomodation and the best sking NZ has to offer. Great summary here - http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Club_skiing_in_NZ
post #17 of 29
Y'know, I'm suprised that nobody here has mentioned sand dune skiing as a viable option! It's a great way to grind a new texture into your bases, to render your well-calibrated bindings useless, and work on your summer tan.

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
How so? Some rave about the place.
Less groomers
Portillo is small, however a short walk or two will open up many possibilities.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bklyn View Post
Less groomers
Portillo is small, however a short walk or two will open up many possibilities.
I hear there's really great skiing there and some serious steeps if you search a bit.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
How so? Some rave about the place.
paul: a lot of people care about beeing in the oldest, most famous place in s america. believe me: it's sort of ok for one day. and, when I go skiing, I do skiing: don't care about food, apre-ski etc........ it is however, most likely the most predictable condition-wise place: they have snow allways. problem with l;as lenas for example : you can stay whole week and you don't get to use the marte lift which is where the best terrain ist........
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post
Julie, no mention of the NZ club fields? On-snow accomodation and the best sking NZ has to offer. Great summary here - http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Club_skiing_in_NZ
Taxman - I am a fan of the club fields, but he mentions his wife is a strong intermediate who sometimes freezes on tricky terrain. So she may not enjoy it. The wikipedia article is great and is true assessment of everything they'd need to know to help them choose if it is for them or not.

Maybe at the end of the holiday squeeze in a couple of days at something like Craigieburn. By then they'd have their ski legs back, and if they do exhaust themselves on the tows & terrain they won't be worn out for the rest of their holiday, can sleep on the plane on the way home.
post #22 of 29
I skied at Portillo last August. Everything about Portillo is fabulous.
The hotel (only 450 stay there for the week) the food and service (say hello to Juan Nesa), and the skiing is fantastic.
The vertical looks short, but everything is in the fall line.
If you want big vertical hire a guide. There is a 5,000 ft vertical run if you want to do a 2-3 hour climb.
Plus you will be the first to ride the new lift on the Roca Jack side next summer.
Hail Portillo!!!
post #23 of 29

summer

Try Portillo. It has amazing skiing, great food/wine, tons of activities for the kids and total relaxation. Self-timed race course set up daily (similar to Nastar, so your kids may get bored with it). Great steeps. Kids tend to meet for soccer around 6:00 each evening in the gym.

We'll be there the week of Aug 16.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nogophers View Post
Try Portillo. It has amazing skiing, great food/wine, tons of activities for the kids and total relaxation. Self-timed race course set up daily (similar to Nastar, so your kids may get bored with it). Great steeps. Kids tend to meet for soccer around 6:00 each evening in the gym.

We'll be there the week of Aug 16.

you are talking about a different place or your experience with south america is very limited or none. steeps???? where?????
the 2 run as blacks are sort of single blacks at best. I had skied the entire portillo in 45 min......

agree, the off piste terrain is nice but the lift-served one of the most unexiting in SA. not even close to parva, colorado or even the valle nevada not even mention las lenas..
of course you HAVE to visit it's OK , but that's about it. still better than glaciers in europe.............
post #25 of 29
Has anyone noticed that there is currently volcanic activity outside Santiago?
Evacuations were happening in the mountains I believe. Not sure what the situation is or how that would effect the skiing.

Start here to read about it:
http://www.wn.com/volcano

quote from this source:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...-30417,00.html

Chilean officials ordered the total evacuation of Chaiten, a small provincial capital in an area of lakes and glacier-carved fjords just 10km from the roiling cloud.

The eruption is the first in 9370years, said Charles Stern, a volcanologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder who has studied Chaiten.
He said the nearby town could end up buried, much like the Roman city of Pompeii following Mount Vesuvius's eruption in the year 79. Volcanic material from Chaiten's last eruption measured up to 1.5m in places.
post #26 of 29
I like New Zealand a lot!!!
post #27 of 29

steeps at Portillo

Quote:
Originally Posted by kubagr View Post
you are talking about a different place or your experience with south america is very limited or none. steeps???? where?????
the 2 run as blacks are sort of single blacks at best. I had skied the entire portillo in 45 min......

agree, the off piste terrain is nice but the lift-served one of the most unexiting in SA. not even close to parva, colorado or even the valle nevada not even mention las lenas..
of course you HAVE to visit it's OK , but that's about it. still better than glaciers in europe.............

You're kidding, right? I agree if you stay in bounds, you're not going to find anything too steep. Gargantua (sp?) is probably the steepest in-bounds (where Jean Claude Killy won his first ever world cup GS medal). Take Roca Jack up and traverse over to Kilametro (again with the spelling...sorry) where the 200kph barrier was first hit. Even the surface lift of Roca Jack in itself is nearly 40 degrees. Lake run has some areas over 45 degrees. The legendary Super C will challenge nearly everyone (if you don't mind hiking a couple of hours).

I'm sorry you weren't able to explore the entire mountain during your visit.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
I feel compelled to warn about the strong La Nina which currently shows no sign of letting up. La Nina is bad news for the low latitude South American areas of Portillo, Valle Nevado and Las Lenas. I recommend not advance booking for these areas in 2008 until adequate snow is on the ground.
So this data would indicate a weak season for SA. What about NZ? How might LaNina affect them?

We were expecting a marginal winter here in New England and things worked out well. The LaNina current is right off shore from Chile so I can see how it could have a direct impact.

It will be interesting to see what happens.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nogophers View Post
You're kidding, right? I agree if you stay in bounds, you're not going to find anything too steep. Gargantua (sp?) is probably the steepest in-bounds (where Jean Claude Killy won his first ever world cup GS medal). Take Roca Jack up and traverse over to Kilametro (again with the spelling...sorry) where the 200kph barrier was first hit. Even the surface lift of Roca Jack in itself is nearly 40 degrees. Lake run has some areas over 45 degrees. The legendary Super C will challenge nearly everyone (if you don't mind hiking a couple of hours).

I'm sorry you weren't able to explore the entire mountain during your visit.
again; i'm talkin about lift-serviced area.btw the rocca serves only lower part of he chute; and very commonly doesn't work!!!!!!!!!!or even is taken down after major storms, and nobody usualy knows when the chileans are going to put it up again........
in las lenas all the steeps are easly accessible from marte lift. that's the difference..........
the steepest chute we've done was exactly 53 degrees.
plus the size............. of portillo..........
not saying the history stands behind it; what i'm saying the history is way bigger than reality...... i hope you can get real summer skiing somewhere else. FMI; where have you skied in south america???
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