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Skiing/Riding South America

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

For those that don't know, several months ago I took on a freelance writing position with About.com as their Snowboard Editor. The link to the website is in my signature, if anyone's interested.

Today, however, I'm looking for Bears that have spent time skiing or riding in South America. One of my readers is looking for some information/advice on South American resorts, and since I've never been, I figured I'd throw a post up here and see if anyone can help!

Here's the link to the forum post: South American Skiing.

Thanks in advance to anyone that can help.
post #2 of 4

Good Places in South America


I am from Brazil, and skied most big resorts in South America (except Las Lenas)
There is a big difference between The resorts in central Andes and in southern Andes.
Portillo and Valle Nevado are in central andes, they are very high (10k+), always above tree line and get a relly dry snow due to the elevation and dry weather in that region. (but in bad years or in El Nino years they get really bad)
Portillo is really a wonderful place, however it is not that big unless you want to go off-piste. But is very steep!

Valle Nevado is really close to Santiago, and if you get a lift-tiket that includs El Colorado and La Parva (the 3 areas are linked), you will have A LOT of terrain to ski at.

Things are diferent in southern Andes, as the Latitude increases, the elevation decreases... the weather down there is not that good, It's much wetter, wich means more precipitation and more rain as well...
I had a very good time in places like Bariloche (Cerro catedral) Chapelco and Pucon, but i know the weather is not sunny and the snow is not that dry...

There is a place in between these two regoins that is called "Termas de Chillan"
It's not as high as central Andes resorts but it's higher then the southern ones... (5k base and 9k top) and they normally get the best snow record in the Andes. (2008 was an exception and the central Andes got more snow then anyother place)
Termas the Chillan has a very nice terrain, very good snow, but most the lifts are old and slow... and they close in big storms and wind days (wich is common) but really is worth the trip, it's a very special place with beatifull forests...

If conditions are good, try central Andes aswell, a totally diferetnt experience...

Hope it helps
post #3 of 4
"Termas de Chillan"

Your description of the various resorts is very accurate and informative! I just want to point out that Termas de Chillan changed hands last year and the name has been changed to Nevados de Chillan which is not a reference to snow but rather to the 3 volcano chain in the region; one of which is still active (a little smoke now and then). The road trip up from Concepcion is quite scenic passing through farm land where farmers still use oxen and you will see people using one horse carts (with rubber tired wheels recycled from cars) as their mode of transportation. I suggest having a camera at the ready as the scenery just before the ski area is amazing. Hopefully, anyone going there will make the trip at least one way during daylight. I got a kink in my neck from peering out the side window!
The reason I visited this forum is that I am interested in going to Pucon next August. I'm curious as to what is the likelyhood of having ample snow. I can ski any kind of snow but I wouldn't like rain and I'm aware that Pucon isn't very high. Also, I plan to make a serious effort to improve my Spanish by next August as I know English is rarely heard down there and I guess you have to make a bus trip from Temuco to Pucon. I can imagine that it could get difficult in that situation if you couldn't speek the language. Any comments or advice by you or others would be appreciated.
post #4 of 4
You are right, this season I think was the first season with this new name, but most people still call it Termas de Chillan... hard to change

I flew from Santiago to Temuco and then caught a shuttle to Pucon.
English is not very spoken in many places in South America, but I don't think it is going to be a problem for you... Chileans are usually very polite and open to help tourists, if you get to know the very basics you'll be fine.

I think August is the best month to ski South America, as we know, the weather in southern Andes is really unpredictable, it's wet and windy in winter and the resorts are not in a very high altitude.

They may get a foot of snow in one day and then in the next day it my rain... but generally the higher slopes are in very good shape by August.
Although it's not a big resort, you will have a lot of fun if conditions are good... and it is a beautiful region as well.

I'd suggest you stay a little longer and maybe visit San Martin de los Andes (Chapelco) and Bariloche (Cerro Catedral) unless it's a VERY bad snow year, you will have a lot of good ski days.
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