Valle Nevado resort is part of the Tres Valles (Three Valleys) along with neighboring ski resorts La Parva and El Colorado. Combined, the Tres Valles boasts the largest terrain in all of South America, with nearly 7,000 acres of skiable domain. In order to take advantage of the 7,000 acres, you do need to purchase a joint ticket to combine the three ski centers. When booking a 7 night Valle Nevado hotel reservation, part of the package may include a few days of combined tickets to ski the Three Valleys. Valle Nevado alone has around 2,200 acres.
For weather, it claims up to 80 percent sunny days, but due to Valle Nevado’s altitude and orientation, it generally maintain good, dry powder snow conditions for skiers and riders exploring the groomed slopes, bowls, and backcountry.
You can snowboard and ski Valle Nevado as high as 3,670 meters (12,040 feet) above sea level, surrounded by 6,000 meter peaks, way above the the Santiago basin. It is one of the few places in the world you may see the rare Andean Condor soaring above the pistes.
The resort is fully set up for freestyle and free riding with a terrain park, boardercross, and vast backcountry linking neighboring resorts, La Parva and El Colorado, and has better luck during snowstorms, where the snow falls or is blown onto the resort, giving it deep powder when its neighboring resorts sometimes end up with less.
The ski center has the most advanced lift system in South America, including the only high-speed detachable quad. 2013 featured the opening of the first ski center gondola in Chile. With 70 six-person cars, it takes skiers from the 17th Curve Service Area in Gondola Plaza to the mid-mountain Bajo Zero Restaurant.
The gondola location decision has been criticized in many Valle Nevado reviews for not providing any real increase in vertical skiing access, which is true. However it does greatly reduce skier traffic congestion by creating 2 separate “base area” and shrinks the day visitor drive time from Santiago to Valle Nevado, to generally under 90 minutes.
Originally the upper parking lot, home to the three Valle Nevado hotels and condos, was the only way to get to the ski lifts and on holidays and weekends, the backup was terrible creating another 30 minutes in the car when you could have been riding powder. With the new base area, 350 new parking spaces and gondola access, this congestion has been reduced.
The resort has a “Master Plan” of expansion and development, aiming for the high standards of the top international resorts. New lifts and new runs will increase the skiable domain by more than 800 acres, with a world-class mountain town at its base.
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!
Mo Rasiah: Lots of protected gullies to play in and find good snow even weeks after a storm. the resort is bigger than it first looks and if you are willing to go searching can reveal some great runs!
Phil Gautier: The backcountry ski touring up the Valley de Los Incas can lead you to some spectacular couloirs. Just keep an eye on your exit or you may end up skiing back to the wrong resort without a lift ticket to get home. Also, be sure to stop by the heated pool bar at Hotel Puerta del Sol for a glimpse at why Brazilians like the Andes and why we love Brazilians.
Terrain – freestyle
Valle Nevado ski resort claims one of the better parks in South America. It was the first Chilean ski resort to open an FIS standard Snowboard Park, to host the FIS World Cup Snowboarding series in 2001. In 2004 the old halfpipe was redesigned to be an FIS approved Superpipe (unfortunately the half pipe is no longer built); there’s also an FIS standard boarder cross course, making options for snowboarding Valle Nevado pretty outstanding.
Terrain – experts
Offpiste exploring is huge and advanced riders will find the chutes and bowls filled with unbeatable powder after a snow storm.
For backcountry terrain, the options are endless. Heliskiing Valle Nevado is a great option for private descents of up to 2 kilometers long. There are also road runs where with a vehicle and guide you can link heli ski like powder laps all day in zones such as local’s favorite, Blue Tambo.
For backcountry touring, the terrain linking La Parva ski area is very expansive opening up options for steep chutes and long powder runs back to the resort. Be sure to go with a certified guide or if you are experienced, understand the current snowpack and weather. Cell phone service is spotty once out of the resort.
Suggested trip for advanced to experts Summer Snow Escape
Terrain – Intermediates
This is paradise for intermediate skiers and riders; with lots of cruisy piste runs and easy off-piste access. For snowboarders note that some of the terrain in the middle of the mountain flattens out and it can be easy to get stuck if you do not carry your speed. This especially holds true after a fresh snow fall.
Suggested trip for Intermediates Guided Progression Adventures
Beginners and non-skiers
There are plenty of slopes for beginners and a top level international ski school with instructors speaking numerous languages including English. Burton has worked out a deal with Valle to become the first Learn To Ride (LTR Program) center in Chile. Making learning to snowboard actually fun, quick, and relatively pain free.
For non-skiers, there is a small shopping section to pick up some overpriced gifts, or spa to spend the day relaxing, but the highlight is simply the view. Enjoy a pisco sour, Chile’s national drink, or cold cerveza on the deck overlooking the slopes and blue skies. The epic sunsets are not to be missed.
The area was designed by French businessmen in 1988 who took their inspiration from Les Arcs in Europe and it exudes an international vibe. Even the ski school prides itself on providing instruction in eight languages.
There is a small, top level shopping boulevard with international brand names, a range of dining experiences, and plenty of events and activities, including a torchlit descent at 6:30pm every Saturday.
Location: Central Chile, 1.5 hours from Santiago Airport
Elevation: 2,880m (9,450ft) to 3,670m (12,040ft)
Vertical Drop: 2,657 feet
Inbound Terrain: 44 Runs
10% Beginner, 33% Intermediate, 36% Advanced, 21% Expert
Ski Lifts: 17
Hotels and Lodging: Hotel Tres Puntas, Hotel Puerta del Sol, Hotel VN, Cerro Pinto, Valle Blanco, and Valle de Condores Apartments, Valle de la Luna, Valle del Sol Condominiums Get a free quote
Off-Piste and Backcountry Access: Excellent See guided trip options
Annual Snowfall: 276 inches (700 cms)
Valle Nevado Weather: 80% sunny days and dry powder due to elevation and resort aspect
Ski Season: June to October
Ski and Snowboard Park: Yes
Night Life: 4 bars and pubs open nightly