During the summer months in the northern hemisphere you may be missing your snowboarding. The good news is you can head South and ride pow on a Chile snowboarding holiday. The winter months in Chile are June to October so perfect for those that want to improve their snowboarding in the off season.
With hot deserts in the north and the extreme cold of Patagonia in the south, Chile is known as the land of extremes. The highest ski resorts in Chile peak around 3650 meters. 20 ski resorts dot the Andes mountain range in the southern part of Chile. The most well known ones are:
- Valle Nevado
- Termas de Chillán
- El Colorado
- Ski Pucón
- La Parva
- Cerro Mirador
- Chapa Verde
- El Fraile
- Las Araucarias.
Snowpack in Chile is pretty stable but it being coastal pack, there may be a high chance of ice at times. Average snowfall is 6- 7 meters at most resorts but at Termas de Chillan and Ski Pucon- they get about 10 meters annually.
Portillo, the most northern and the most well known mountain resort in Chile is 164 km northeast of Santiago. Also near Santiago are: Valley Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado, Farellones, Little Lagunillas and Chapa Verde. While northern resorts sit above the tree line, you can ride trees in Chile’s more southern resorts.
Some of Chile’s resorts sit on top of volcanoes. These resorts include Nevados de Chillan and Ski Pucon. Park rats flock to Ski Pucon due to its natural halfpipes formed from the lava flows.
You can Heli-board at Chile’s up market resorts of Portillo, Valle Nevado and La Parva. There is only one cat skiing operation in the entire country- Ski Arpa, which is 100 km north of Santiago.
Lift infrastructure is not very reliable in Chile. Make sure you are in shape as there are a high number of rope tows here. Avoid the drinking water- there’s a high mineral content and moderate risk of Giardia, which will ruin your trip.
You can fly into Chile by Santiago International Airport. It is best to ride in Chile through a snowboard tour group because travel into the mountains is complicated. Chains may be required and due to the weather roads and resorts may close for days.
A major perk to riding in Chile is culture. Be prepared to eat dinner late and party into the morning hours. Instead of après ski, you may need an après nap before your night out begins.