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SKI and SNOWBOARD IN CHILE

Punta Arenas Pucon Santiago

SKI IN PUNTA ARENAS

Ski and Snowboard

Ski down the world's southernmost snow-covered slopes. A privileged lookout point from which Tierra del Fuego and the Strait of Magellan can be seen gives a magic touch to the Cerro Mirador Ski Center, the only one in Chilean Patagonia.
Just 9 km west of Punta Arenas, Cerro Mirador offers skiers 2 slopes and 11 skiing tracks. Besides, the steep snow-covered mountains are ideal for expert snowboard and mountain bike enthusiasts.


SKI IN PUCON

Fun on the frozen slopes of a gentle volcano; vibrating descends through both, easy and hard, though always thrilling snow tracks. Such is skiing in Pucon; skiing from the top of the Villarrica, a proud keeper with an altitude of 2840 metres that has become one of the major tourist and sport attractions in the Region of La Araucania.

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The Villarrica Ski Resort, on the slope of the homonymous volcano (2000 metres), is the neuralgic point for the practice of this activity. Its infrastructure is more than efficient and it has 20 tracks of different classes.

The range of difficulty is determined by a simple system of colours; those marked in green are easy, the blue are more or less hard, the red tracks are reserved for the experienced, while the black ones present a major degree of difficulty and can only be tried by daring and reckless sportspeople.

Besides, it has 9 dragging type of chairlifts that facilitate the transportation of skiers; they work from 9:00 hours up till 17:00 hours. There are also camping areas, private refuges, ski-lesson centres, cafeterias, gear rental shops and a policlinic, amongst other services.

The snow in Villarrica is first class, being humid and compact in the base; it is abundant in the southern hemisphere's winter and reaches heights of up to 3 metres. The zone presents a gradient of 960 metres, with the best altitude for skiing being at 2440 metres above sea level and the lowest at 1550 meters above sea level. The skiing season starts in mid June and ends in mid October.

It is located in the Villarrica National Park, at 19 kilometres from Pucon; you must follow a dirt road that is easily negotiated, even in winter; it is advisable to put chains on your tires.

Besides traditional skiing, one can practice Alpine skiing or randonne, which requires a better technique, knowledge on mountaineering and a different gear that facilitates sportspeople moving around in the snow.

Snowboarding is another thrilling alternative in the snow of Pucon; it is easy to learn and it is not necessary to know how to ski. The Villarrica Volcano is regarded as a paradise for the practice of this activity by experts, due to its natural first class half-pipes.


SKI IN SANTIAGO DE CHILE

Thrilling descents from monumental snowy peaks. Landscapes where freezing winds add spice to a sense of freedom and adventure. These are Santiago's ski slopes - frozen dominions of nature that are conquered each season by eager tourists. Places where adrenalin combines with snow.
Santiago has several ski centers, equipped with all the necessary infrastructure and only a few hours from the city (see Santiago - Snowy Valleys).

The winter sports centers have many ski slopes for beginners and experts as well. Additionally, one can practice alpine "ski-touring" or randonne, a sport requiring mountaineering skills and special gear allowing one to easily negotiate the snow.

Another variant is Nordic or long-distance skiing. This sport was developed in order to cover long distances in snowy wastes, and is practiced in fairly flat areas with few slopes. The gear required is of a different kind from that mentioned above.

If thrills are sought, one can opt for helisurf or heliski, that consists of being taken by helicopter to a high part of the mountain, descending from that point at dizzying speed on the virgin snow, either on skis or on a snowboard. Due to the difficulties involved in this variant, one must have assistance from an experienced guide, as there are no previously charted slopes.

Among Santiago's numerous snowy valleys, we can choose from:

  • El Colorado - Farallones Ski Center, this is 39 kilometers from Santiago. It has 22 tracks, and is considered to be one of the best skiing surfaces in this part of the continent.

  • Valle Nevado Ski Center, located 60 kilometers from Santiago, it has 29 tracks and almost 31 kilometers of skiing surfaces, at an average height of 3,300 meters above sea level.

  • La Parva Ski Center, 30 ski tracks located 50 kilometers from Santiago. From this place, one can easily reach Colorado - Farallones and Valle Nevado.

  • Portillo Ski Center, this is one of Santiago's oldest and most beautiful winter sports centers. It is located 149 kilometers from the Chilean capital at an average height of 2,840 meters.

  • Termas de Chillan Ski Center, located on the slopes of the Chillan volcano, 480 kilometers from Santiago. It offers 28 tracks, including the Tres Marias, that at 3 kilometers length is the longest track in South America.



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