This summer, ski down mountains nearly all to yourself in Chilean Patagonia. Travel down to the bottom of the world, where some of Patagonia’s most popular ski slopes crown Chile’s Andes.
Tres Valles: 3 of the most popular ski resorts
Three of the most popular ski resorts, Valle Nevado, La Parva, and Colorado, are known collectively as the Tres Valles.
These mountains huddle together in the Andes just 1.5 hours outside of Chile’s capital – Santiago.
Strung together like Christmas lights by an interconnected lift system, the Tres Valles combine to offer enough runs to keep an advanced skier busy for a week. The peaks range 2800-3700 meters (9186-12139 ft), and during the high season (July-Aug), get a generous dusting of crisp dry powder.
Valle Nevado is the most elegant of the three, with a resort that offers a luxurious touch to its rugged slopes. With 22.9 miles of ski runs open year-round to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, plus heliskiers, this park offers an all-inclusive stay for snow-sport lovers.
El Colorado, the next peak over, is the largest of the three parks, with 16 lifts, 25 trails, and a view over Santiago. This is an excellent park to take the kids, with several beginners’ slopes and a lift designed specifically for little ones.
Colorado slides into La Parva, and boasts untrekked trails that stretch over 66 miles. It’s known for its advanced skiers’ slopes, and great backcountry bowls of completely untouched snow. Together with the borders of Valles Colorado and Nevado, La Parva makes for some of the widest-ranging skiable snow in all of South America.
When to go
Ski season begins mid-June and high season begins in July. If you plan for late June, you’ll beat the crowds and hit the virgin snow. But if you have to wait, wait until late August to September, when the high season is winding down. Season ends October.
Where to stay
The Valle Nevado Resort is every skiers dream come true – guests wake up to the best views of the mountains, the La Fourchette D’or restaurant is known for its terrific French cuisine, rooms are fully renovated, and the sauna, massages, and yoga classes will be sure to get out all the knots after a long day of hitting the slopes.
Tres Puntas Hotel, also in the Valle Nevado ski center, is an affordable alternative; great for groups that still provides comfort for the weather-weary skier. It’s within walking distance of the Ski Center, and offers many amenities such as a pub with karaoke and live music, a fitness center, swimming pool, games rooms, and child care center. The Sur restaurant serves from a traditional Chilean menu.
Hotel Posada de Farellones, the charming Swiss ski lodge in Farenolles, 10 minutes from the peaks, was one of the first lodges in the area. Outfitted with modern amenties, it offers a cozy fireplace in the living room, satellite TV, games, Jacuzzi, and shuttles to and from the ski resorts.
Where to eat
Most hotels include breakfast and dinner in their accommodation prices, and lunches can be purchased in the ski centers. Still, the Tres Valles resorts are known not only for their slopes, they’re also famous for good food and wine.
Valle Nevado Ski Resort has the most eateries. Besides the aforementioned restaurants, there’s the Swiss Le Montagnard and the Italian La Trattoria in the Puerto del Sol Hotel, plus barbeque, sushi, and other options.
Farellones has a decent nightlife, with bars El Montanes and the Blue Tambo Lodge.
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