With a vertical drop of nearly 1 kilometer from an altitude of 3,630 meters (11,910 ft), this Andes gem gets far less foreign travelers than its neighbors Valle Nevado and El Colorado, but has a community of well-to-do Chileans who return each year, so it feels more like an exclusive boutique resort.
La Parva is one of the few skiing destinations in The Andes that offers night skiing.
It’s not uncommon to share the ski lift or an Apres-ski pisco sour with some of the best pros on the Planet. La Parva ski village has recently hosted unique events like Eye of the Condor and the PowderQuest Women’s Freeride Camp with Ingrid Backstrom. Their FIS-approved downhill courses are used for training by international teams including the USA, France and Slovakia. In addition, Jeremy Jones spent the 2013 season snowboarding La Parva and testing his future Jones Snowboard models.
Here are some insider tips and ideas from our ski guides and locals that know the terrain and resorts like no other.
Important: Many of the areas described involve riding in non controlled avalanche terrain. Know your stuff, carry the right equipment and be smart. If you have any doubts, or even if you don’t, come join us on a PowderQuest guided tour. We will take you to the best skiing available with nothing for you to do but to enjoy what we have spent the last 2 decades figuring out!
Ingrid Backstrom: One of my favorite runs is a short hike above the Las Aguilas lift. Once you gain the ridge after about a ten minute hike, you can either drop in to some powder chutes to your left, or hike up 20 more minutes and ski the massive bowl back down above the lift. The terrain is really scenic and the skiing can be really steep or relatively mellow. On a low snow year you have to be careful with route selection but there’s always something to ski from this spot.
Phil Gautier: The underrated and least crowded of the 3 Valleys. La Chimenea Chute on McConkey’s will give you chills. Pisco sour at sunset on the deck of St Tropez will excite the soul and fondu and red wine at La Marmita will warm you up nicely for the next day!
Mo Rasiah: Cerro La Parva Falsa has some great skiing for those willing to do some hiking. Alpine faces and couloirs are the reward to those willing to work up a sweat. Manatiales is the powder playground for those who aren’t up for hiking. Just make sure you get your timing right or you could be in for a very long run of windslab or crust.
Mike Reff: At the top of Franciscano chair the owner of La Marmita sets up a daily “Asado” or Chilean barbecue where you can enjoy grilled camembert cheese or a choripan (sausage in bread) before you head out on a hike into the vast La Parva backcountry.
Terrain – freestyle
La Parva’s terrain park was fully redesigned in 2014 and is located next to the Tortolas run with it’s own lift. The 32,500 square meter area hosts a mix of features and jumps, aimed to give skiers and riders the ability to improve and progress in their freestyle.
The park also features an airbag jump open to guests, weather permitting, to give them an opportunity to learn new tricks in a safe environment. With a total length of 450 meters, the park is a large improvement compared to previous ski seasons.
Terrain – experts
After tracking out the fresh snow inbounds, experts head off-piste into the La Parva backcountry for their kicks, to the chutes like the famous tight, steep and long couloir La Chimenea, and McConkey’s, so named as a tribute to Shane McConkey in 2009.
There are plenty of deep powder bowls, and cornices, which is why this has been the location of Freeskiing championships and host to the Eye Of The Condor film and photo event.
Backcountry touring and exploring is pretty much endless as you head east and north of the resort. Just remember cell phone service is very limited once leaving the ski area. It is highly recommended to let the ski patrol know where you are heading and always check in quickly upon your return.
Trip suggestion for advanced to experts Summer Snow Escape Off Piste
Terrain – Intermediates
There is plenty to play on for low level and high level intermediates, with endless amounts of rolling groomers it is an excellent place to get some high speed turns in during the summer months.
Trip suggestion for Intermediate skiers Ski Progression Adventure in Chile
Beginners and non-skiers
25% of the resort’s runs are beginner groomed slopes, in addition to their dedicated beginners area of Manzanito that is close proximity to the village base.
If you are having trouble finding Ski La Parva hotels, it is because they do not exist! No hotels in La Parva, just private apartments and condominiums for rent in the village. The village has more of a small remote mountain village feel with nice amenities.
Although it has minimal dining options the few that are available are top notch especially the fondue at La Marmita and Pisco Sours next door.
Eye of the Condor (EOTC)
The Eye of the Condor, a weeklong film and photography contest, was an annual event that quickly grew in popularity over the three year run, 2011-2013 (see winning video). Teams were challenged to produce the best short film and photography, in a celebration of skiing and mountain culture in Chile. During the week long event, La Parva hosted many parties and events that included professional international athletes and were open to the public. It has not been announced if there will be an Eye of The Condor in the near future. Check out our blog for updates.
Value and ticket prices
Day tickets are cheaper compared to neighboring El Colorado and Valle Nevado, however on mountain food options are more limited, and tend to be a bit more pricey than its neighbors.
Location: Above the town of Farellones, 1.5 hours from Santiago Airport
Elevation: 2,670m (8,759ft) to 3,630m (11,909ft)
Vertical Drop: 960m (3,150ft)
Inbound Terrain: 20 Runs
15% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced, 10% Expert
Ski Lifts: 14
Hotels and Lodging: Condominiums, Apartments and private homes available for rent around the base area, or you can stay 10-15 minutes away in Farellones.
Off-Piste and Backcountry Access: Excellent See guided off piste trips
Annual Snowfall: 300 inches (762 cms). See the updated snow forecast
Weather: 80% sunny days on average with dry powder after a storm
Ski Season: June to late September, often extending into October
Ski and Snowboard Park: Yes
Night Life: bars and pubs open nightly at the base, plus Farellones, just 10-15 minutes away has some great nightlife.