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Snow 101: Ski South America

CHILE

WHERE TO SKI

VALLE NEVADO

This resort has South America’s largest skiable area covering a vast 7,000 acres. Snow quality is reliably excellent because of the high altitude and there is a good mix of runs for skiers of all levels. The sun shines 80 per cent of the time at Valle Nevado and there are only three hotels and limits on day visitors, meaning it’s never crowded.

WHERE TO STAY

HOTEL VALLE NEVADO

The premier hotel on the mountain, the Hotel Valle Nevado was completely renovated in 2010. It’s right in the middle of the resort with direct ski-in ski-out access and houses Valle Nevado’s best restaurant, La Forchette.RATES: From US$1,554 (about A$1,512) per person for three nights including dinner, breakfast and lift pass.

vallenevado.com

WHERE TO SKI

PORTILLO

Portillo is a ski resort stripped bare – just one large hotel and the slopes. Guests arrive on Saturdays and stay for a week, there are only a couple of dining options on the mountain and a bar in the hotel for a quick drink before bed. The resort receives an average of seven metres of snow each season and more than half of the 35 runs are suited to advanced and expert skiers.

WHERE TO STAY

HOTEL PORTILLO

This large yellow and blue hotel is the centre of the resort and rooms are comfortable rather than luxurious. The luxury comes from the service (the staff to guest ratio is higher than one to one) and the location.

RATES: Rooms from US$1,950 (about A$1,897) per person for seven nights and suites from US$2,750 (about A$2,675) per person for seven nights including four meals a day and lift pass.

skiportillo.com

 

ARGENTINA

WHERE TO SKI

CERRO CASTOR

The southernmost ski resort in South America, Cerro Castor has a relatively low altitude (just under 1,000) metres but still receives plenty of snow. Its latitude means it has one of the longest ski seasons on the continent (often lasting well into October), but the resort is little known outside of Argentina.

WHERE TO STAY

LOS CAUQUENES RESORT & SPA

Los Cauquenes is in the town of Ushuaia, 26 kilometres from Cerro Castor and the world’s southernmost city, and overlooks the Beagle Channel. Snow shoeing, dog sled rides and helicopter tours landing on remote mountain peaks can be arranged.

RATES: Rooms from US$250 (about A$243) per night and suites from US$369 (about A$359) per night.

loscauquenes.com

WHERE TO SKI

CERRO CATEDRAL

Cerro Catedral is one of South America’s best developed ski resorts with an extensive lift system and a buzzing village at the base of the mountain. It’s largely a beginners resort with only 25 per cent of the terrain for advanced skiers, though there are some off-piste and back country options for the more experienced. It can get extremely busy, especially compared to other South American resorts, and there are often long lift queues.

WHERE TO STAY

ESTANCIA PUEMA HUE

There are just eight rooms at this rustic luxury lodge around 40 minutes from Cerro Catedral. Rooms are spread across different houses surrounding the main lodge, sleeping from two to nine people. Ride horses through the snowy grounds or relax in front of the fire with a glass of Argentinian malbec.

RATES: Rooms from US$281 (about A$273) per night.

peuma-hue.com

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