Where to go Snowboarding in Chile this Summer – An Exclusive Freerider’s Guide
Thinking about taking a break from summer, packing your bags and heading south of the equator to snowboard in Chile? Here’s a quick, exclusive guide of the best places to snowboard Chile from North to South, including some of our favorite backcountry splitboarding destinations.
You should go snowboarding in 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.
Snowboarding Santiago’s Tres Valles ( Valle Nevado, El Colorado, La Parva )
Chile’s Tres Valles (Three Valleys) area towers above Santiago. If you are searching for snowboarding near Santiago, these three resorts are the closest to the city. 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 freeride paradise 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 zones 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. If you have a splitboarding, you can get way out there to some worldclass lines. Just be prepared, the altitude can be tough to deal with until you are acclimated.
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 to some of the best terrain in the Andes. A splitboard will get you deep into the high Andes as well, but be prepared for some long approaches. The rewards are there however, as the descents are some of the best in central Chile.
Team Dakine Visits Santiago and Scores August Powder 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
When I am asked where to snowboard in the summer, I usually point them to The Nevados de Chillán resort area, located 5 hours south of Santiago via train or car or via a short flight to Concepcion. It 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 and fun tree riding.
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 snow surfing on the moon: epic views, natural lava-tube halfpipes, buffed out wind lips, and splitboard touring options for days. If we had to choose one place to go splitboarding in Chile, that is accessed via a ski resort, this is the spot. Looking for a fun backcountry snowboard trip? Check out this backcountry guided splitboard adventure.
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.
Endless splitboarding options 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. The volcano Lonquimay is also the hotspot for snowmobile accessed snowboarding in Chile. Yes….this is THE place. Our guides, ancient forests, volcanoes 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 via hiking or splitboarding 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. If you are looking for suggestions on where to snowboard in September, this is probably the spot along with Corralco and Chillan. Awesome weather and a good mix of spring and winter snow conditions.
Come to Pucón for the crater, but if you don’t get that, you’re guaranteed for a great party in this mountain town.