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  1. #1
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    Chile ski guide - back of my envelope

    This thread is supposed to agglomerate my 2015/16 posts about skiing in Chile, leaving out the trip reports, current conditions/weather stuff, and other drivel. So it is a reference source which hopefully will point interested parties in the right direction, with relevant links, photos, maps and the sort.

    To provide some stoke to continue wading through this, here are some of my photos of skiing and snowy mountains in Chile: http://bit.ly/skichileportillotoosorno

    Contributions are welcome.

    The sections are:

    - Country data
    - Ski areas summary
    - Weather brief and info sources
    - Travelling, DIY
    - Driving
    - Backcountry
    - Ski area details and volcanoes
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 07:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Location
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    Country brief
    Population – 17.6m
    Area – 752 km2 (think Texas stretched out, with 23 persons per km2)
    GDP (PPP)- $277b (45% of exports from copper)
    GDP (PPP) per person - $21,942
    Literacy – 98%, Life expectancy – 80 years
    Population below poverty line – 14%
    Internet users – 66% of the population
    Cellular phones – 1.3 per capita
    Currency - Peso Chileno (around 660 per dollar as of Apr 2017)
    Leads Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.

    More interestingly, data on the fantastic geography of Chile:

    4,300 km long, average width of 150 km.
    Latitude runs from 56° in the south to 18° in the north.
    Coastline is 6,400 km, and the borders run 5,950 km along the continental divide (avg. altitude 4,000 m).
    Hundreds of volcanoes dot the country, with about 110 active. and 55 are over 5,000m.
    Around 6,000 islands, mainly in the fjord lands, hundreds of glaciers from tiny to massive exist, mainly in the southern Andes.
    Annual rainfall varies from near zero in the north to 5 meters in the southern ice fields.

    If you were to rip Chile off of South America, flip it, and dump it off the west coast of North America, this is what you would get:

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    Last edited by Casey E; 04-11-2017 at 07:55 AM.

  3. #3
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    Location
    Santiago Chile
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    Ski Areas
    Following are the locations of the ski areas (including Argentinean ones), some backcountry spots and important peaks and volcanoes, going north to south along the 1,100km stretch of central/south Chile:

    Around Santiago:

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    Just south of Santiago, in the San Fernando - Talca area:

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    The BioBio region:

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    The northern Lake District and Araucanía:

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    The southern Lake District:

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    This is what the ski areas offer in Chile (2016 prices converted to USD at 650), from north to south:

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    A real lift is any lift that has more than 100m vertical, too many bunny lifts feature on ski areas websites. T is triple Chair, and Q is Quad. There is only one high speed chairlift in Chile, the Andes Express at Valle Nevado. Many runs are only accessed by surface lifts, including platters, t-bars, and va et vient (Portillo).

    And these are the ski area links in the same order:

    http://www.skiportillo.com/
    http://www.skiarpa.com/
    http://www.vallenevado.com/
    http://www.elcolorado.cl/
    http://www.laparva.cl/
    http://www.nevadosdechillan.com/
    http://www.skiantuco.cl/
    http://www.corralco.com/
    http://www.skiaraucarias.cl/
    http://www.skipucon.cl/
    http://www.antillanca.cl/
    http://www.volcanosorno.com

    Often the best up to date conditions info is on each areas facebook page. In general, don't expect good info on snow conditions on these websites, when it exists, sometimes it is hard to find, and others it is outdated or incorrect. Usually the only reliable one is Portillo. Also, if you get lucky, you can find special pricing somewhere on these pages (certain credit cards, Telco promos, "2x1" days, etc.).

    Avoid the two middle weeks of July, which is the kids winter holiday, as it is quite expensive and crowded. "High season" prices go from July to mid/early August in general, then just weekends, except for Sept 17-19 (National Independence holidays).
    Last edited by Casey E; 10-10-2017 at 10:42 AM.

  4. #4
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    Weather

    In the Central Zone, snow can fall in the high mountains at any time of year (3,500m+), but as the rainy season is winter, that is when the snow accumulates at lower altitudes (above 2,000m). On average, the snow starts to fall in May, the ski areas open in June, the snowfall is concentrated from June to August, and the ski areas close late in September or early October. As good sized storms are not frequent (20cm+). the norm is a big 1-3 day dump, then sun for 2 or 3 weeks. The ski areas boast 80% sunny days.

    Wind everywhere in Chile is a big factor in determining snow cover and quality. It blows hard from the northwest when a low pressure storm is rolling in off the Pacific, and it blows hard and dry from the east when "El Raco" (Central zone morning watershed downwind) or "El Puelche" (Southern watershed wind) hits. Sometimes it blows from the west with no snow falling for days. Winds of 100km+ can happen, and in the case of the Puelche, it can also blow hard for days, mainly in the lower valleys and lakes. Offsetting that a bit in the central zone, is the dryness of the air, there is rarely ice, and packed powder conditions can be excellent weeks after a storm.

    In southern Chile, the predominant freezing level defines the snowline, thus each season/month is different, but from July to October there is ALWAYS a lot of snow on the volcanoes above about 2,000m. This makes ski touring and 1,000m+ verticals possible even if there is a lack of snow at the ski area base (+- 1,500m). The closer you are to July, the more likely it is to snow low, and the snowline creeps up starting about mid August. It normally rains or snows a couple times a week, and can be cloudy for many days. It can also rain up to 2,000m and ruin the ski area snow, but the upper cones can still be good.

    Weather forecast sources I use include the Chilean Meteorological Service, which has weather forecasts by region/city, mountain zones and mountain passes into Argentina, and other good info such El Niño analysis (spanish): http://www.meteochile.gob.cl/inicio.php

    For the mountains and ski areas:
    http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/La-Parva/6day/mid
    or: http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Cerro-Provincia
    or: http://www.yr.no/place/Chile/Santiag...arva/long.html

    For comparative forecasts of several websites, and longer range forecasts (up to 14 days), scroll down to "Pronósticos meteorológicos comparados" and choose your region of interest, here (check dates/times, as this is only updated once a day I think): http://chicureo.com/Directorio/clima.shtml
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 07:10 PM.

  5. #5
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    Travelling, DIY

    And now for some more general info for travellers adventuring on their own.

    Chilean guidebooks and maps in spanish:
    http://ww2.copec.cl/chiletur/guias

    Bus booking websites (some are more user friendly than others):
    https://www.recorrido.cl/en (variety of bus lines)
    https://www.turbus.cl/
    http://www.andesmarchile.cl/en/
    https://www.ventapasajes.cl/

    Guide for overland trip from Santiago to Bariloche (shorter and cheaper than from Buenos Aires):
    http://snowbrains.com/how-to-get-fro...che-argentina/

    Many good treks are outlined here (spanish): http://www.wikiexplora.com/index.php/Trekking_Chile
    or: http://www.senderodechile.cl/buscador-senderos/
    or: http://es.wikiloc.com/rutas/senderismo/chile

    For peaks to do, and a growing selections of treks, check here (some have been translated, this is a great tool for planning peaks): http://www.andeshandbook.org/buscarcerro/Chile

    For hot springs, see a lengthy list here: http://www.termas.cl/
    and download a KMZ file of GPS locations here: http://www.wikiexplora.com/images/b/...rmas_Chile.kmz

    Campsites can be found here: http://www.campingchile.cl/campings-por-region/
    or: http://decamping.cl/campings-region-de-la-araucania
    The further off the main roads you are, the more likely you will be able to find places to pull over and camp, but always ask first if there is a house or people in the vicinity. People are generally very friendly, but exercise extreme caution with fires, there have been tragic forest fires in Chile the last few years, in part related to the prolonged drought.

    Cabins and small motels can be found here: http://www.cabanasdechile.com/en, winter is low season!

    Good Hostels (not a complete listing): http://www.backpackerschile.com/index.php/en/

    Boutique Hotels in Santiago: http://www.800.cl/?id=1093&c=7089&r=...ue+de+Santiago
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-24-2016 at 02:42 PM.

  6. #6
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    Driving

    Chile's road infrastructure is like a fish bone, where the Ruta 5 Pan American Highway is the backbone following the central valley south, and the ribs are roads branching east to the mountains and west to the sea. Look at a long range weather forecast and plan your route with flexibility.

    Drive on the right. Your foreign drivers license should be good in Chile to rent a car, check for additional insurance charges as usual, and do check the state of your vehicle before taking off. Highways are mostly toll roads, and in Santiago you need an electronic "tag" to use the freeways. Main roads are normally excellent, and things deteriorate as you get further from larger towns. Driving is pretty civilized, at least compared to El Cairo or Vietnam, but do drive defensively, there are Chileans who are aggressive and disrespectful, and signage can be deceiving.

    Good road maps can be downloaded here: http://www.mapas.mop.cl/CARTAS%20CAMINERAS.htm
    and here: http://issuu.com/feliperojasg./docs/...989091/5849490

    A good variety of multi-use rental vehicles can be had at:

    http://www.monkey-adventure.com/gorilla-campervan-4x4/
    http://www.soulvans.com/about-us.html
    http://wickedcampers.cl/v3/
    or http://wickedsouthamerica.com/v3/ (same thing in English)
    http://www.holidayrent.cl/espanol/index.php
    http://www.contactchile.cl/en/travel...mes/index.html

    Thinking of buying a vehicle for your visit to Chile? The most used website is http://www2.chileautos.cl/chileautos.asp, where many individuals and resellers publish their wares. As usual, buyer beware.

    There are occasionally other travelers selling their used truck/camper/van etc. before heading home, and here is a website with info for Latin America in general (mostly in German):

    http://panamericanaforum.org/index.php?id=17296

    This link takes you to a current offer of a van I actually saw on the Farellones road recently, and has a good video showing the main attributes. It has British Columbia plates!

    Here is another one, but you have to translate it: http://panamericanaforum.org/index.php?id=17175

    Other sites for used recreational vehicles:

    http://www.casasrodanteschile.com/18-motor-home
    http://www.40camperzone.com/ficha.asp?cat=5

    Chains are theoretically required gear, and the Police in La Ermita (km 15 on the road to Farellones) may inquire as to them being present (just say "si señor"), but are unlikely to actually ask to see them. If you get turned back by the cops, 3 km before there they rent them. That said, if the weather is funky, you may actually need them, 4x4 or not. Chains can be bought in Mall Sport Las condes, Thule stores and even Homecenter, but it depends on tire size and your budget. I just bought the cheapest pair I could for $80 and they have icebreakers which I hate. Luckily, of the 1,000 or so times I have driven the 3 Valleys road, I have only used chains around a dozen times.

    The National Parks and Reserves often have campgrounds, which are economical and beautiful. You can check to see if they have a campground here (check "servicios"): http://www.conaf.cl/parques-nacionales/. Often there is a phone number or email to check with the park guys on road or camping conditions before going. Seriously consider going to the national parks and reserves in the lake district with established campgrounds. Do visit PN Conguillio and environs, near Temuco. These parks are all wonderful places with generally rustic but nice facilities, and will not be crowded in off season (also might be closed, so check first). Roads are often unpaved, sometimes not good in heavy rainfall, but we have done some really bad roads in a small sedan and survived. CONAF runs the parks, with some concessions to third parties (such as Conguillio, ). We now go in a 4x4 and have no problems getting around. Winter is more difficult for driving at altitude, and it is very rainy in the south.
    Last edited by Casey E; 10-10-2017 at 10:50 AM.

  7. #7
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    Some nice drives

    If the weather looks good you can consider taking ferries through the fiords and driving south to Chaiten (http://www.taustral.cl/ for the continental side, and http://www.navieraustral.cl/?page_id=35 for Chiloe connections). On the way you can visit several wonderful hot springs, the PN Hornopiren, Parque Pumalin, and walk up the devastation to the Chaiten volcano, which still steams. You can also go to the coast on the northwest of Chiloe, and see penguins.
    Going north from Pto Montt, there are a few circuits into the mountains which you can drive and avoid part of the main, boring divided highway.

    One is to drive from Puerto Varas east to Lago Todos Los Santos and Volcan Osorno (Vicente Perez Rosales National Park), then go north on the east side of Llanquihue to Lago Rupanco, and Lago Puyehue at Entre Lagos. From there go east again, to Antillanca and the Puyehue National Park. Then drive out to Osorno.

    Another loop is going from Los Lagos northeast through Panguipulli to Puerto Fuy and Huilo Huilo, then back out to Lago Calafquen and on to Villarrica/Pucon. A nice side trip is from Coñaripe northeast to the PN Villarrica, some wonderful hot springs, and trekking/touring between the Villarrica and Quetrupillán volcanos.

    You can also do a circuit starting just south of Temuco, going east to Cunco then through PN Conguillio between Melipeuco, and Malacahuello, or further in to Lago Icalma, across the meseta to Lago Galletue, and coming out through Lonquimay, Malalcahuello and Victoria. Volcan Lonquimay can be walked or skied up, as can many others in the south. More on this later too. This whole area can have sections closed from too much snow in the winter, so go informed first. The Carabineros (police) are pretty good to ask before setting out.

  8. #8
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    Backcountry

    For those interested in doing a bit of ski/splitboard touring while in Chile, here are some providers which include backcountry tours in their repertoire:

    http://chilebackcountry.com/
    http://www.chile-powder-adventures.com/
    http://www.powderquest.com/
    http://www.whiteworldfreeride.com/ (now have a tour out of Coyhaique, "Patagonia")
    http://www.kladventure.com/ski-tours...ring-programs/
    http://www.andescross.com/south-amer...-ski-andes.php

    There are lots of other tour providers, but many do not really do touring, just perhaps inbounds powder hunting:

    http://casatours.com/
    http://www.powderhounds.com/SouthAmerica/Chile.aspx
    http://www.sassglobaltravel.com/
    http://www.southamericaskitrips.com/

    For those going it on their own, the BIG ADVANTAGE of DIY with little prior bookings, is that you can truly "follow the snow". Snow conditions in general for the last 15 years or so have generally been mediocre to poor in the central zone, except for 2002 and 2005. So if your trip is really about the skiing, keep an eye on conditions in the different resorts, and on the weather forecasts, rent a car, and follow the snow. The principal ski areas of Chile cover about 10 degrees of latitude, so there can be fresh powder on one strip of that, and old snow and rocks on another. A good vehicle rental option is http://wickedsouthamerica.com/v3/

    For Chile topos, go to www.igm.cl , venta productos, cartografía, escala 1:50.000 and search on the map for the ski area you want.

    A great series of maps for trekking and lots more (English and German) are here: http://maps.trekkingchile.com/chile-trekking-maps

    The Andes Handbook website has around 150 peaks, just in the area around Santiago ("Region Metropolitana"). http://www.andeshandbook.org/buscarc...0Metropolitana

    Most of these are 3,000-5,000m, but get up to 6,500m (Tupungato Volcano). Many have been skied, generally in multi-day expeditions. Hardcore winter expeditions are still know as "Randonee" ascents in Chile. For example, the Volcan San Jose (5,800m) was first skied in 1984, in 4 days (Gaston Oyarzun et al).

    A guide book with a variety of peaks and routes for Chile and Argentina is:
    http://www.amazon.com/Chile-Argentin.../dp/2952980012

    Don´t expect to get good backcountry gear rentals in Chile, but here is a company that is trying: http://www.rgchile.com/index.php?op=grilla-arriendos

    For touring, you first have to get to the snowline, which is not easy outside of the ski resorts. The epic descents you might see on TGR or elsewhere are normally made after a very long approach. Thus you generally start out at a ski area base.

  9. #9
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    Backcountry options in the central zone

    One option in the central zone is to go to Lo Valdés, at the end of the Cajon del Maipo, and tour from there, where lots of 4,000m to 6,000m peaks are located, going up the Valle de Las Arenas or the Volcán San Jose.

    The Cajon del Maipo, south east of Santiago, is a huge watershed that drains the mountainous part of the Region Metropolitana (greater Santiago), up to the Argentina border. There are multiple valleys and mountains to explore here, many of them remote. The highest peak is the Volcan Tupungato, which, at 6,500m, is a 10 day expedition.

    For some sled stoke, here is a fun video of the Dostiempos boys and Collab Films:
    https://www.facebook.com/Collab-Films-1012747365510113/

    Following is some detail of a map with the more accesible part of the "Cajon" as it is known by locals:

    From San Alfonso to Embalse el Yeso and Baños Morales
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    More detail of the Baños Morales, Valle Arenas, Termas Colina, Volcan San Jose area:
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    Lo Valdés is reached in about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Santiago. Few buses go there in the winter. This was what it looked like in the fall, with the Volcan San Jose (5,800m) at the head of the valley:

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    There is a nice hot spring, Termas de Colina, up the valley heading east. With enough snow, you can only ski or sled in in the winter:

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    There are some rather rustic lodges up there to stay, and it is important to contact them before heading up, to be sure they are open. The first two offer some touristic services related to skiing, and the last, "Refugio Lo Valdés", is part of the local German network of lodges and mountaineering.

    http://www.intotheandes.cl/en/lodge/

    http://www.placaroja.cl/

    http://www.dav.cl/wp/2014/06/refugio-lo-valdes/
    Christian Kelter refugiolovaldes@dav.+56992305930.

    For sled touring out of Lo Valdes, check out Cristian Wehrhahn at http://www.dostiempos.cl/index.html

    A late spring tour to the Cerro Arenas with its fantastic "canaletas".

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    The Cajon del Maipo is also a great place to get away from Santiago, with restaurants, boutique hotels, and lots of esoteric folks doing esoteric stuff.

    From Portillo, you can go through Chilean customs, then ski up to the Cristo Redentor on the border of Argentina (3,800m) and ski back down, or hunt for your own lines. There are other interesting areas around Portillo, such as the Juncal valley.

    The Ski Arpa cat operation offers a touring option, you get one ride up and tour from there. This is located west of Portillo, with views of the Aconcagua.

    Sledding outfits are growing, but you need to plan ahead and contact them first. They can get you further in than you could on your own. Here are some I am aware of:

    http://www.sledchile.com/home-esp.html (Corralco area)
    http://www.dostiempos.cl/ (Central area)
    Franz Baehr (Lonquimay) +5699731333
    http://www.parquenacionalconguillio.cl/
    http://www.corralco.com/en/node/484
    http://chilebackcountry.com/site/jaw...canes-del-sur/ (mainly touring)
    http://www.lobosadventure.com/ (central/southern Chile, also do touring and Heli, based in Pucon)
    Last edited by Casey E; 04-11-2017 at 08:09 AM.

  10. #10
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    Near the 3 Valleys

    The area north and east of La Parva/Valle Nevado is the continuation of the extensive southwest shoulder of the El Plomo massif. The wind often strips bare most of the flat and northern exposures of the higher reaches of this ridge, which rolls along 6 km between 3,800m and 4,300m through the "Cancha Carrera" to the cliffed edge of the huge El Plomo bowl. It then sprouts the La Leonera peak and El Plomo. Here is the view of La Parva town from an aircraft after an early snowfall, all the way up to El Plomo at 5,400m, 13km away.

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    Cancha Carrera ("race track" in English) is a large mostly flat area which is a good base camp for the walk up north to La Leonera (5,000m) about 3 km away. See http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani...rro/24/Leonera

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    La Hoya, in the El Plomo bowl at about 4,200m, is where many people camp before attempting El Plomo (5,400m). The normal route to El Plomo goes from the upper runs of La Parva or Valle Nevado, around the south base of the ridge, to "Piedra Numerada" (a flat meadow), then north to La Hoya. For the route, see http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani...Clasica_Normal. This has been climbed in the winter, and skied (sort of). The view from the top takes in 300 km of the Central Andes, including the Aconcagua (6,960m), which also can be seen from the Leonera.

    The bowls along the south side of the ridge have some good, although short, runs. The best chutes are off the Cerro La Parva. Ski touring the top of the ridge is generally only possible following the edge of the ridge on the south side. Many bootpack up to the ridge, others tour up. Avalanches are not common, but not unknown either. There is no avalanche control or snow profile information. The area is known as a "zona de puna", or altitude sickness zone.

    Some photos from the area, including a couple old ones from La Chimenea at the furthest west edge, are included in the following link. The gallery starts with general views, and ends with some spring/summer trekking photos and hardy high altitude flowers.

    http://bit.ly/CerroLaParva

    You could also tour up and down Santa Teresa, the wonderful ridge south of El Colorado which ends on the road to Valle Nevado. This however gets skied from El Colorado and is technically illegal. Some take turns driving back to El Colorado and do laps. Anyone thinking of skiing Santa Teresa or other places near the road, should read this report: http://www.powder.com/stories/cops-i...kH2GT6LJU1w.97. Here is a map someone did of the lines along this ridge, the only ones I have done are N to S, before the road to Valle Nevado was made.

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    Far from the road, like Cerro La Parva, there are no cops....
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-24-2016 at 04:32 PM.

  11. #11
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    SKI AREAS in detail

    PORTILLO!

    Anyone who has skied here on a good day will never forget it. Magnificent scenery, challenging terrain, charming old hotel, PLUS the funnest lifts in the world!

    Portillo is located smack up on the continental divide, just before the Chilean customs, about 2 hours northeast of Santiago, on the road to Mendoza, Argentina. The sun shines on the west side of the hanging valley first, with the two "Va et Vient" slingshot lifts hanging on the aprons below the high cliffs, beckoning. Fun going up, with 4 or 5 platters on one bar, and only one lift pole, at the bottom, and fun going down. The best way to get off is while it is moving, taking advantage of the upward motion to spin around and brake. Here the Roca Jack:

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    Lots of nice steep stuff to explore off these lifts, and for the really adventurous, you can climb up some 700m in the Roca Jack chute and ski down the Super C Couloir to near the bottom of the Juncalillo chairlift.

    The Plateau chair on the other side of the valley gets the sun by around 11, and takes you up to another couple Va et Vient lifts, plus some more nice steep terrain and the lake run. Here is a cool perspective on the chair ride:

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    The Portillo hotel is expensive and for high season only books full weeks. They do have a dorm type option, which is not my favorite accommodation, but it is cheap and includes meals in the cafeteria and lift tickets, and can probably be booked for less than a week. The next cheapest options are the cabins, which are worth a look if you are in a group. Best to phone the hotel and enquire as to what is available.

    Ski area stats:
    Latitude 32,5°
    Km to Stgo 148
    Base m 2.548
    Top m 3.310
    Vertical m 762
    Base ft 8.360
    Top ft 10.860
    Vertical ft 2.500
    Total lifts 8
    T/Q chairs 4
    Dbl chairs
    Surface lifts 4

    Having a beer or a lunch at Tio Bobs, up on the Plateau, is a must. The only drawback of Portillo, for some, is the limited number of groomed runs. Va et Vients are not groomed (too steep). As good snowfalls are not that frequent, the ungroomed stuff can be pretty hacked up after a few days skiing and brilliant sunshine, which is the norm. But don´t miss Portillo on your trip to Chile!

    You can follow the state of the road to Portillo here: https://twitter.com/cfloslibertador
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-16-2016 at 05:43 PM.

  12. #12
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    Farellones and the adjacent ski areas of the "3 Valleys" concentrate about half of the ski lifts in Chile, 35 of which you will actually ski. Each ski area covers a large swath, between about 2,400m and 3,600m, of the ridge which rises up from the Mapocho valley floor at 1,200m and ends in El Plomo (5,400m). These 3 areas converge on the higher runs where there is no room left for new lifts. They do not encourage skiing between them and don´t publish prices for "interconnected" passes, however they do exist and are expensive (add $32,000 pesos to your first lift ticket). From Santiago, the view of the Central Andes and the 3 Valleys looks like this:

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    The ski areas are 40-50 km up from the start of the road in eastern Santiago (Lo Barnechea). This is a photo of the southern part of the ridge, as seen from the Manquehue mountain in Santiago, looking east:
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    The view looking northeast of the ski areas takes in a nice set of 5,000m peaks:

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    40+switchbacks wind up the 2,000m vertical meters to the ski areas. They are a usually a mess during and just after a big storm, but every year the road crews are getting better. Here are the first third of the switchbacks, and a longboarder enjoying the summer ride down:

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    Once up there, the lifts are spread around like this:

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    Valle Nevado is between and behind La Parva and El Colorado as in the photo above. It has the highest base of the three, at 2,860m, with the hotel slightly higher. There are now lots of apartment buildings, some of which are for rent. It mostly faces east and south, with Tres Puntas, the highest lift reaching 3,700m, facing west. You don´t get the nice sunset views of the other ski areas. There are 2 chairlifts you would actually ski (one high speed quad), and the rest are platters. It has access to the high back bowls of the Cerro La Parva. Some say it has the most/best snow, but this is fiction. What it does have is the highest base elevation, and good exposure on the runs in the basin close to the base/hotel. You cannot ski the entire vertical in one run.
    Stats:
    Latitude 33,2°
    Km to Stgo 53
    Base m 2.859
    Top m 3.669
    Vertical m 810
    Base ft 9.380
    Top ft 12.037
    Vertical ft 2.657
    Total lifts 9
    T/Q chairs 3
    Dbl chairs 0
    Surface lifts 6

    La Parva has the highest vertical, at 921m, and you can get it all in one good run if you so desire. The skiable area is almost 5km wide at 3,100m, faces mostly west and southwest along 5 different little watersheds, and has the best access to higher bowls and extreme terrain, including Cerro La Parva. Lots of double fall line skiing. There is no real hotel, just private apartments/houses (some to rent), but it does have 4 good chairlifts which serve totally different terrain. The rest are platters, comfi and fast.
    Stats:
    Latitude 33,2°
    Km to Stgo 43
    Base m 2.699
    Top m 3.620
    Vertical m 921
    Base ft 8.855
    Top ft 11.877
    Vertical ft 3.022
    Total lifts 12
    T/Q chairs 4
    Dbl chairs 1
    Surface lifts 7

    El Colorado has shorter runs but a wide range of exposures around the "Cono" and back into the Olympic Valley, including some great south and southeast ones. It actually starts in the town of Farellones (2,400m) when there is enough snow (not often these days), but you have to ride about 3km of lifts to get up past El Colorado town to the Cono where the skiing really is. Thus you cannot ski the entire vertical in one good run, or take two lifts and one long ride down. They have 2 chairlifts you would actually ski, and the rest are uncomfi t-bars.
    Stats:
    Latitude 33,2°
    Km to Stgo 43
    Base m 2.434
    Top m 3.333
    Vertical m 899
    Base ft 7.986
    Top ft 10.935
    Vertical ft 2.949
    Total lifts 14
    T/Q chairs 4
    Dbl chairs 0
    Surface lifts 10
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-19-2016 at 10:08 AM.

  13. #13
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    Lodging and transfers for the 3 Valleys

    Farellones has the best economical lodging of the area by far, with quite a few old "refugios" to rent and small hotels/hostels. Colorado is more upscale with apartment buildings and lodges.

    For lodging, search www.airbnb.com, or www.booking.com for a wide range of options. Here is a list of options for lodging in Farellones and a couple in El Colorado. The * means it is probably a cheaper option.

    Hotels
    Hotel Farellones http://www.hotelfarellones.cl/ Av las Bandurrias 11 Tel: 2320-1081
    Posada de Farellones http://www.skifarellones.com/ Tel: 2248-7071 / 7672
    La Cornisa http://www.lacornisa.cl/ Los Condores 636 Tel: 2321-1173 Cel: 8354-2505
    Chalet Valluga http://www.chaletvalluga.cl/ Los Canteros 15 Tel: 2321-1689 / 2321-1694
    * Refugio Gaston Saavedra * Calle los Cóndores 1141, Fono: 02-3211066 email: refugio.gaston@gmail.com
    Powder lodge http://www.powder-lodge.com/ Camino La Capilla #856
    * Lodge Andes * http://www.lodgeandes.cl/Home.html Camino la Capilla 662
    Loma del Viento http://www.lomadelviento.cl/tarifas/
    Apart Hotels, Cabins, rentals
    Andeski http://www.andeski.com/home.html Cel: 9840-9912 info@andeski.com
    Colorado Apart Hotel http://www.skielcolorado.com/ Base Sur del Centro de Ski Tel: (2) 2245-3401
    Refugios.cl http://www.refugio.cl/catalogo/arriendo_farellones/ (for La Parva and Valle Nevado too)
    Lodge Cordillera http://www.chilextremo.com/alojamien...llera_Invierno Farellones - Los Guayacanes 81 Tel: 2321-1247 Cel: 9636-1421
    Andes Vive http://www.andesvive.com/~clientes/andesvive/index.php Camino de Los Cóndores 1290 +56994565124
    Casa Mirador Farellones http://lodgefarellones.blogspot.com/

    Hostels
    * Chilextremo * http://www.chilextremo.com/alojamien...extremo_Hostel Farellones - Los Chirigues 137 Cel: 9636-1421
    * Blue Tambo * http://www.bluetambo.com/ Farellones - Cno Los Condores 1451 Tel: 2321-1230
    * Hostal El Pichon * https://www.facebook.com/pages/Club-...&tab=page_info Los Condores 949 Farellones RM‎ +56994727214 +56979745446

    Andes Vive cabins has backcountry rental gear, including touring skis and avalanche gear, plus a repair shop and perhaps guiding. Can´t say I have stayed in any of them, as I have a place in La Parva. Well, I did stay in Blue Tambo and Andes Vive before they were called that, and they have a special place in my heart (where I courted my wife-to-be). As they really only have guests a few months a year, some are hard to get a response from.


    For transfers to the 3 Valleys:

    http://www.transferalanieve.com/port...e_Nevado.shtml
    http://www.skitotal.cl/transporte.html
    http://www.skiahorro.cl/transporte.html
    http://www.toursbylocals.com/guide4032
    http://www.gochile.cl/guia-chile/tra...e-ski-en-chile
    http://www.skivan.cl/lugaresdesalida/

    Lift tickets range from $50 in low season to $70 in high, with Valle Nevado being slightly more expensive.

  14. #14
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    Volcanoes and related ski areas

    Chile is volcano country. Hundreds of cones pepper the continental divide and front range of the Andes, with around 100 active ones. "Active" means an eruption or some level of activity in the recent past, which can have been a few years to thousands of years ago, the geologists defining the potential and category. The highest peaks in the country are, in general, volcanoes, Chile having the highest one in the world (Ojos del Salado at 6,893m). Many were venerated by ancient indigenous cultures, with mummies and other artifacts having been found on some.

    Skiing the volcanoes is easiest in the stretch of Chile from Chillan to Osorno. In the far north, when the "Bolivian winter" (December-March) brings moisture from the Amazon up and over the Altiplano, there can be snow on the peaks, above around 5,000m. Otherwise, they are normally very dry. Here are the Parinacota (6,300m) and Pomerape (6,200m) volcanoes in the Lauca National Park, bordering Bolivia:

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    You can keep up to date on remote mountain conditions, more or less, using the Chilean Volcano Monitoring Service , here for Volcan San Jose in the Cajón del Maipo: http://www.sernageomin.cl/camaras/Sa...ja/sanjose.jpg

    The monitoring is no joke, explosions happen, and one should obey the restrictions when they in place. It seems just about every year there is a volcano acting up somewhere in Chile, but 2015 was exceptional. Wanna ski dodging lava bombs? You may get a chance! We were in Villarrica late February, and again in late March. In between the volcano blew and changed the scenery dramatically:

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    If you missed the show, here is a photo (not mine) and links to videos of the fireworks:

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1knKavWG98

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw-TldvAvyU

    In April, Volcan Calbuco did it´s best to surpass Villarrica. This "lesser" volcano, just south of Llanquihue lake near Puerto Montt, blows about every 40 years or so. With all the digital cameras out there, it was well recorded. This was the scene at sunset, and some cool (well, hot actually) videos follow:

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WOluVIPVu0

    Day and night timelapses and UFO too!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdDZox3XQLE

    The now infamous WTF WOW waterfall video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9h3l0aiP7M
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-19-2016 at 10:49 AM.

  15. #15
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    Going south from Santiago, there are a multitude of volcanic options, some of which I will detail here.

    Another interesting valley, just south of the mass of mountains that are part of the Puma lodge playground, is the Tinguiririca valley where the Volcan Tinguiririca (4,300m) is, the Termas del Flaco, and the someday-to-be Altos del Padre sled operation (http://es.snow-forecast.com/resorts/AltodelPadre). This road should be open to 1,700m.

    And just south of that, near Curico, is the Rio Teno, where you should be able to get to about 1,800m where the cops are as this is an international road in season. I went up and over the pass there in December once, illegally as the road was blocked with snow (didn´t stop us). You can also reach the Volcan Peteroa/Planchon from here. This area is 37km from Las Leñas in a straight line, and there is talk (which is cheap) of a tunnel connecting Rio Teno to Las Leñas.....

    The Planchon-Peteroa-Azufre chain (3,600-4,100m):

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    This can be accessed from the Rio Teno dirt road, near the Argentine border. It is 45 km southwest of Las Leñas, and is active. Route description here: http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani...Oeste_-_normal Here is a data sheet for a backcountry excursion east towards the border, complete with a hot spring at the campsite!

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    Next up is V Descabezado Grande (3,800m), V Descabezado Chico (3,300m), and Cerro Azul (3,800m) which includes Volcán Quizapú:

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    These are only accessed after a couple of days trudging up either from the Laguna del Maule road or the Vilches road, both east of Talca. 5 day route - http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani...al_via_Vilches Volcán Quizapú blew rather spectacularly in 1932, and is responsible for the extensive light colored ash desert that covers the area, giving it a wintery aspect even in summer. Street lights had to be turned on from Rancagua to Chillan that day, and the sound was heard 500km away.

    Here is the gnarly south face of Cerro Azul:

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    The Laguna del Maule is a cool backcountry destination in itself. A massive volcanic complex of some 400km2, including the lake, it "inflates" about 20 cm every year. The road is paved to the Argentina border, but is not plowed beyond the customs/police station below the lake. There are different mountains and valleys to be skied in the area, here is one (hotspring included!):

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    The Nevado de Longavi (3,200m) last blew in the Holocene, but still stinks and has the aspect of a volcano:

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    It is east of Linares, being designated a national reserve and there is an ambition by locals to put a ski area in.
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:08 AM.

  16. #16
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    Most of you will have heard of Chillan, or the Termas de Chillan (now just a hotel), or the Nevados de Chillan, the current name of the ski area. This is an active volcanic chain running W-E, with three main peaks, many subsidiary cones, and hot springs.

    The first of the chain is the massive Nevado de Chillan (3,200m), here seen from the Rocanegra Lodge (yes that heli flies skiers):

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    It can be toured up from the ski area or from the end of the Shangrila road (all day trip).

    The tits that hover over the Nevados de Chillan ski area are known as the Volcan Chillan Nuevo (left, now quite active) and the Volcan Chillan Viejo:

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    These are quite a straightforward ski up from the top of the Don Otto lift. Chillan is renowned for it´s slackcountry skiing, with some convoluted volcanic terrain, a steep valley to the east, and further east, a "hot spring valley" where the stream runs hot through the snow. Choose your soaking spot where it is the right temp, as it cools the further down you go,

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    Nevados de Chillan stats:

    Latitude 36,5°
    Km to Santiago 500
    Base m 1.540
    Top m 2.400
    Vertical m 860
    Base ft 5.052
    Top ft 7.874
    Vertical ft 2.822
    Total lifts 7
    T/Q chairs 3
    Dbl chairs 3
    Surface lifts 1

    Looking south from the top of our friend Don Otto chairlift, you can see the Volcan Antuco (3,000m), and the Sierra Velluda (3,600m), the next stop:

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    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:10 AM.

  17. #17
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    Volcán Antuco (3,000m), active, most recent eruption 1911, has a funky little ski area which only opens for high season, and sometimes just weekends even then, that being early July to August, and the week of the Sept 18 holiday ("Fiestas Patrias"), Best to try contacting them if you really want to use the lifts. contacto@skiantuco.cl 043 322651 http://www.skiantuco.cl/sitio/
    There are a couple of basic places to stay there, with more down the road in the local town.

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    It can be skied up and down from the ski area, or in the spring, from the south east side when the road around the back opens.

    Ski area stats:

    Latitude 37,2°
    Km to Stgo 614
    Base m 1.449
    Top m 1.899
    Vertical m 450
    Base ft 4.754
    Top ft 6.230
    Vertical ft 1.476
    Total lifts 2
    Surface lifts 2

    Adjacent to it is the much bigger Sierra Velluda (3,600m), a volcano that collapsed 10,000 years ago and created the Laguna del Laja which is the largest fresh water reserve in the central zone.

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    Glaciated and complex to ascend, for a route description, check out http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani...Sierra_Velluda
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 09:29 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    The BioBio river drains a large basin of central Chile, and curves around the front range of volcanoes to the south. East of Los Angeles, looming over the new hydroelectric reservoirs on the river, is the Callaqui volcano (3,200m), here seen from the northeast:

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    Callaqui as viewed from Volcan Lonquimay to the south, with Sierra Velluda in the background to the left:

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    It is relatively inactive, just steaming, but the isolated Copahue volcano just east of there has been on yellow alert for a long time. Fortunately for the Chileans, but to the distress of the Argentineans skiing the Caviahue area, most of the ash falls over the border into Argentina. Here seen from V Lonquimay:

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    The road to the Callaqui is paved to Alto BioBio, but is dirt from then on and can have snow in the upper reaches in the winter. A route up is described here: http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani...ta/235/Pangue#
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:10 AM.

  19. #19
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    Heading east from Victoria, a nice circuit route takes you up and around 6 different volcanoes, and out to Temuco. I call it the Lonquimay circuit.

    Tolhuaca (2,800m) is relatively inactive, but has a geothermal project going on the east flank, and is seen here from the top of the V Lonquimay looking north:

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    It can be accessed from the Fundo Laguna Blanca http://fundolagunablanca.com/es/, or a lengthy traverse from Corralco. http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani..._laguna_Blanca

    Lonquimay (2,900m) is home to the Corralco ski area on its NE slope, and was most recently active in 1988, when the Navidad crater was born just north of the lifts.

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    Unfortunately, that hot tub is no longer there.

    This probably has the most easily accessed peak of all the volcanoes, as it is a 400m vertical hike up from the upper t-bar (Cumbre), which is the highest lift of all the volcanoes south of Chillan. The main SE bowl is a 1,400m run down to the hotel.

    Latitude 38,2°
    Km to Stgo 714
    Base m 1.531
    Top m 2.400
    Vertical m 869
    Base ft 5.023
    Top ft 7.874
    Vertical ft 2.851
    Total lifts 5
    Dbl chairs 2
    Surface lifts 3

    Llaima (3,100m) last erupted in 2009, and is home to the Las Araucarias ski area on the west side.

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    Llaima can be climbed from the ski area or from the Laguna Captren on the north side, at the entrance to the spectacular Conguillio National Park.

    Ski area stats:
    Latitude 38,4°
    Km to Stgo 743
    Base m 1.500
    Top m 1.900
    Vertical m 400
    Base ft 4.921
    Top ft 6.234
    Vertical ft 1.312
    Total lifts 3
    Dbl chairs 1
    Surface lifts 2
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:11 AM.

  20. #20
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    Behind the front range of volcanos, is the extinct V Sierra Nevada (2,600m). Together with the Las Raices and other minor ranges, it separates the upper BioBio watershed from the rest of the Araucania region. A 4.5km tunnel provides access to this area, the Lonquimay town, and the paved international highway to Argentina. There are several routes up to it's rounded peak, three are featured here: http://www.andeshandbook.org/montani.../Sierra_Nevada

    Here are 4 different views of this lovely mountain.

    From the town of Sierra Nevada, looking SW:

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    From the west, across Galletue Lake, with Sierra Nevada on the right, and Llaima to the left:

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    From Rio Blanco, looking west to the north ridge:

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    From Lago Conguillio looking east:

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    As the "Lonquimay circuit" is one of my favorites in Chile, with lots of potential ski exploring to be had, I will expand upon it. The road from Victoria passes through Curacautin, on to Malalcahuello, the local tourist town (check out Suizandina lodge). Corralco lies nearby, and the tunnel to Lonquimay town as well:

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    This is Pehuenche territory, with lots of indigenous communities still handling their animals and collecting Araucaria Araucana (Monkey Puzzle tree) pine nuts.

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    From the quaint Lonquimay town you can access the road up to the abandoned Arenales ski area, in the Las Raices range, or head further north to the Lanco range and the attractive Las Mellizas mountain.

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    The circuit route takes a turn south before reaching Lonquimay, just after Sierra Nevada town, heading up the La Fusta road and over a low pass to Galletue Lake. Often there is snow on this road, but it is normally plowed. This was the scene in early Sept 2011:

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    The map of this second part of the circuit:

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    For the adventurous, this road can give you access to the back of the Sierra Nevada, and to the east, the Heumules range (2,100m), here with Galletue lake:

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    The road then follows the barren high plateau past Batea Mahuida Volcano (1,900m), a long-extinct flat topped volcano with a couple of lakes on the border of Argentina. There is even a small ski area just over the border from Lago Icalma, in Villa Pehuenia, but it is a pretty easy ski up from near Icalma. Here seen from the pampa near Galletue:

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    Not far past Icalma, heading back west now, a turnoff to the left will take you up the Caren river valley towards the decapitated mass of the V Sollipulli (2,200m). From the Conaf park guards office, a trail leads up through the forest to the crater, which is 4 km wide and filled with ice. This volcano erupted big time 3,000 years ago, and more recently a minor crater appeared 700 years ago. A dome camp (with hot tub) receives visitors through the winter and organizes excursions to the crater (http://sollipulli.cl/ingles/actividad.html). Here is a map of the trail from the park service cabin to the crater, on the way to the dome camp:

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    The pavement returns once you get down to Melipeuco town, another up and coming mountain town, where a right turn will take you into the Conguillio National Park south access, and the eastern lava fields of V Llaima.

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    Here the Sendas Conguillio has cool cabins (with hot tubs!), and organizes tours with or without quads to the surrounding mountains (http://www.parquenacionalconguillio....guillio-lodge/).


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    After all this, Temuco will look like civilization! If you are continuing on to Villarrica/Pucon, you can take a short cut on a dirt road from Cunco to Pedregoso, and on to Villarrica town.
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:13 AM.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Santiago Chile
    Posts
    1,831
    The Villarrica chain starts with V Villarrica (2,800m, too active):

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    Ski area stats:
    Latitude 39,2°
    Km to Stgo 809
    Base m 1.247
    Top m 1.874
    Vertical m 627
    Base ft 4.091
    Top ft 6.148
    Vertical ft 2.057
    Total lifts 7
    Dbl chairs 4
    Surface lifts 3

    Don´t let the number of lifts and vertical rise fool you, this is a funky ski area with mostly intermediate runs. The highest chair lift does not open normally, so most of that vertical is fiction. The volcano is a great ski up and down, and there are lots of natural features for those willing to tour or hike around. It can also be accessed with a long approach from the southeast, via the Pichillancahue glacier trail, which has some lines along the way:

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    It is followed going east by Volcan Quetrupillan, which may mean howling volcano, or timid devil (2,400m, last blew its top off 1,600 years ago), accessed on the left branch on the road up from Palguin.

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    Then comes Lanin (3,700m, last blew 2,100 years ago), on the border of Argentina near the Chapelco ski area, accessible from the international highway which is unpaved on the last stretch, and is a long slog to do in one day. Here on the right as seen from the Quetrupillan crater looking east (with yours truly wrecking the view), and the Colmillo del Diablo ("Devils Fang") ex-volcano on the left.

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    Further south, there is a private reserve known as Huilo Huilo, which features the Mocho-Choshuenco volcanoes (2,400m). It has an insignificant ski lift, and sleds, but this means there is a reasonably good access road, and it is a straight forward ski up. Spot the swiss tourers here:

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    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:15 AM.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Santiago Chile
    Posts
    1,831
    Continuing south, the Puyehue National Park has several volcanoes. Heading east from Osorno town, is the funky little Antillanca ski area, at the foot of several old craters, the principal being V Casablanca. Ski area stats:

    Latitude 40,5°
    Km to Stgo 1.032
    Base m 1.236
    Top m 1.700
    Vertical m 464
    Base ft 4.055
    Top ft 5.577
    Vertical ft 1.522
    Total lifts 4
    Dbl chairs 1
    Surface lifts 3

    There is a nice wooden lodge at the base, and this area has either lots of snow or lots of rain. Here are some photos of an epic ski day in early October 2011.

    Heading up V Casablanca (2,000m, last blew 900 years ago), with V Puntiagudo (2,500m, inactive, difficult access), and V Osorno (2,700m):

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    V Casablanca:

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    The view north from Casablanca to V Puyehue (2,200m, accessed from the paved international road to Bariloche), and the spewing Caulle chain, a fissure volcano:

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    Cerro Tronador (3,500m) on the border of Argentina, which is a several day trip from the Chilean side:

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    And last, but not least, is the magnificent Volcan Osorno (2,700m, last active 1835), which is accessed from the ski area on the southwest side:

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    Ski area stats:
    Latitude 41,1°
    Km to Stgo 1084
    Base m 1.230
    Top m 1.760
    Vertical m 530
    Base ft 4.035
    Top ft 5.774
    Vertical ft 1.739
    Total lifts 4
    Dbl chairs 2
    Surface lifts 2
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 11:17 AM.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Santiago Chile
    Posts
    1,831
    Just in case anyone thinks the fun ends with Volcan Osorno, there is actually lots more to be had in the next 1,500km going south. "Patagonia", that much abused geographic term, seems to migrate further north every year, but for me at least, it starts about where the Panam paved highway ends in Chile, that is, Puerto Montt. So, here are some summer (January) volcano and mountain shots from the stretch from there to the northern icefield south of Coyhaique:

    Volcan Yate (2,100m) from the Seno de Reloncavi (ocean inlet):
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    Volcan Michimahuida (2,400m) looking south from Fiordo Comau:
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    Volcan Michimahuida looking north from near Termas de Amarillo:
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    Volcan Melimoyu (2,400) from Rio Palena:
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    Lago General Carrera and the northern icecap:
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    Northern icecap and ventisquero Gualos from the Golfo Elefantes:
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    Monte San Valentín (3,900m) north face:
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    Rio Baker and northern icecap:
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    Skiing is to be had near Coyhaique, at the El Fraile ski area https://www.facebook.com/fraileski. For ski touring near Coyhaique: http://www.whiteworldfreeride.com/ For the fat wallets, heli ski off a yacht can be had with the boys from: http://www.lobosadventure.com/

    Or the real adventurers you can just wing it, and head to Cerro Castillo or many hardly touched destinations in this part of the world. A couple lads from wildsnow did an epic journey in 2014, which included skiing near Fitzroy and Torres del Paine, see their blog here: https://www.wildsnow.com/14444/lago-...ring-fitz-roy/ and here: https://www.wildsnow.com/14479/lago-...velluda-chile/ and here: https://www.wildsnow.com/14543/torre...kiing-touring/
    Last edited by Casey E; 08-25-2016 at 01:56 PM.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    131

    Chile ski guide - back of my envelope

    Tl;dr ...
    Kidding!
    Wow props and thanks for the compendium!
    Your envelope must be yuge!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    bottom of the hobacks
    Posts
    563
    Damn, tons of good info here, kudos for throwing it all together. Enjoy the rest of the winter!
    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    Keystone is the new Snowbird

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