An Exclusive Shredders Guide to Snowboarding in Chile
Thinking about taking a break from summer, packing your bags and heading south to snowboard in Chile? Here’s a quick, exclusive guide of the best snowboard zones from North to South.
You should go to Portillo for a few reasons, the most basic is the stunning beauty. Located in the same Andean sub-range as South America’s tallest peak, Aconcagua, the Laguna del Inca has got to be, hands down, one of the most beautiful backdrops you can imagine. It’s practically distracting while you’re trying negotiate the area’s steep runs. This is the area’s best feature. Unobstructed steep and steeper fall lines. If you plan on riding some of this expert terrain, be sure to read our “note to snowboarders” on our detailed Portillo resort review page.
Portillo was founded in 1949, which means that this place has seen its handful of snowboarders over the years. One of the things that makes this place special is the set up of the terrain. The two sides of the valley above Lago del Inca is “in-bounds” terrain. There are lifts on both sides, and with a simple “further is fresher” attitude, a short traverse means it’s likely you’ll be riding fresh powder for weeks after a storm.
As well, who wouldn’t want to try their hand at a 5-person poma style lift known as the Va Et Vient on the infamous Roca Jack. On PowderQuest guided snowboard trips to Chile, we keep this location a short stop. Most guests only need one day in Portillo to get the feel of the resort, but we can always arrange more if you are looking for something more exclusive.
Tres Valles ( Valle Nevado, El Colorado, La Parva )
Chile’s Tres Valles (Three Valleys) area towers above Santiago. Within 45 minutes from touching down on Andean soil, only the looming 75 hairpin turns separate you from forgetting all the woes of airline travel. A high alpine parade awaits you in the form of three awesome snowboard destinations: La Parva, El Colorado, and Valle Nevado.
La Parva, known for its backcountry access and historic runs like “McConkeys” and “La Chiminea” has plenty for everyone: playful terrain, fun groomers, and the options to hike or split board, getting you much, much steeper. This resort is all about the backcountry snowboarding access via the lifts.
The neighboring resort is El Colorado. It’s the closest resort to the town of Farrellones, the village that you’ll most likely call home while visiting this triple-threat mecca of shredding. El Colorado is home to access point of the backcountry area known as Santa Teresita. Amazing pure powder fall-lines, cliffs and some of the best chairlift/road accessed backcountry in South America.
The all time famous resort, Valle Nevado is the final link. One of the most well known centers in South America with its full modern services, snowboard terrain park and the option of heli-boarding.
Team Dakine Visits Santiago and Scores in Valle Nevado
Whichever one of these three resorts you end up riding, you won’t be disappointed. Santiago skyscrapers to shred heaven. The perfect destination for snowboarders who love the city life but need a quick escape to the mountains.
Nevados de Chillan
The Nevados de Chillán resort area is located 5 hours south of Santiago and is well worth the journey from the northern resorts. If you are going to snowboard chili, you cannot miss Nevados. The historic Valle las Trancas used to be a (literally) guarded-by-gate outlaw’s haven. There used to be only a clandestine casino on the flanks of the active volcano; a volcano that just happened to have amazing, light and dry powder.
Nevados de Chillán and the Las Trancas valley has since evolved into an adventure tourist’s paradise. With lifts taking you right up to the base of the volcanos, some people say it is like riding on the moon: epic views, natural lava-tube halfpipes, buffed out wind lips, and splitboard touring options for days.
With the fun, beautiful, and quaint Las Trancas, just 8 km / 6 miles down the road from the resort, you’re guaranteed to meet people from all over the world who love to travel and ride. They most likely also drink pisco sours.
It’s the old spot with a new jam! Sure the lifts are kinda slow and there isn’t a local bar, but this is what makes it awesome.
Splitboarding options for days and one of the only places in the world to snowboard in an Araucaria forest (Monkey Puzzle trees) and summit a volcano the same day. It’s also the hotspot for snowmobile accessed snowboarding in Chile. Yes….this is THE place. Our guides, ancient forests, volcanos and a little snowmobile access.
Come to Corralco and get on the short list of people that are in the know. It’s only a matter of time before Corralco is on the radar as one of the top Chile snowboard destinations.
A one strip town with wild bars and one of the most famous active volcanos known to the snowboard universe. Arriving into this village you’ll be blown away with the Villarrica volcano that will dominate practically every vista from town…that is when the sun is out.
Climbing the volcano to get to the active, belching crater is an undeniable reason to fly halfway around the world. You can stand on the rim of the volcano and see Argentina and a handful of other massive volcanoes including Lanin, Mocho, Lonquimay, and more.
Come to Pucón for the crater, but if you don’t get that, you’re guaranteed for a great party in this mountain town.