Ski in Portillo
Ski Resorts near Portillo
Search Hotels near Portillo
Skiing at Portillo
For more information check the Portillo Tourist Office.
You can discuss skiing and snowboarding in Portillo in our Chile Ski Forum.
Portillo - Ski Resort and Snow Summary
Skiing in Portillo
Portillo - Ski Resort in Chilean Andes (2560m to 3300m)
Chile's original resort and important in world skiing, hosting numerous international events including the 1966 World Championships. People began sk iing from the Argentina-Chile railway line in 1890. Virtually all of the resort's accommodation and activities concentrated in the huge hotel complex. Today there's one employee for every guest resulting in high service standards. The resort offers easy and intermediate groomed slopes plus some of the toughest skiing in the southern hemisphere, with heliskiing an option, giving views of the Western Hemisphere's highest mountain - Aconcagua.
Portillo Ski Facts
The Chilean ski resort of Portillo has direct access to 17 individual pistes, served by 12 ski lifts.
The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
Snowmaking :- Portillo is able to augment natural snow, with 50 Snow Cannons.
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 12 Ski Lifts of Portillo are able to uplift 11,000 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
Skiing in Portillo
Portillo is a training area for the world's top ski teams and when the US team visit in late August guests have the chance to watch them race as well as mix with them inside the hotel and on the slopes. The ski area rarely has lift lines, unsurprising with a ratio of 12 lifts to 450 guests and there's plenty of untracked powder - usually at its best in July. The average annual snow fall is 6m/20 feet and the ski season is normally from mid-June to early October with high season in late July due to South American school holidays. Actual high season for conditions are the months of July, August and September.
The slopes are right outside the Hotel door . The beginner area is conveniently close to the hotel and Canarios seems to be a favourite with most learners while Juncalillo is preferred by cruisers and intermediates for its rolling slopes through valleys. The lower section, Los Tuneles passes over 2 long tunnels which the government had to build over the road because the ski run was there first! Nightly grooming keeps the pistes in top condition while the more extreme terrain is left with its natural snowpack.
The Portillo Ski School, with a staff of 35 professionals from eight different countries, assures that the learning will be fun and memorable no matter what language you speak. With specialized programs for skiers of all ages and levels of expertise, this team of professionals offers the latest in technique and instruction to guarantee a great ski vacation.
The recommended way to ski Portillo is to start on the Juncalillo side in the morning. It is possible to watch the sunrise from a bunk in the Inca Lodge as the light descends the east-facing slope and eventually reaches the Roca Jack, the first run to soften in the early morning sun. Roca Jack is a clear favourite among advanced skiers at Portillo and is accessed by one of the famous Va et Vient lifts. The Roca Jack carries 5 skiers while the other one on Condor takes 4 at a time. Conventional lifts were no use because unloading areas could not be constructed on the steep alluvial deposits and a lift tower could never withstand the avalanches which regularly pour down these chutes. Jean Pomagalski designed the Va et Vient and overcame the problem. The lift is a cross between a conventional tramway and a towerless cable tow but has 3 bullwheels. One is mounted at the bottom on a regular lift tower; the other two are attached to wires anchored in rocks high in the chute. The upper bullwheels are then kept suspended in the air by the tautness of the haul rope which makes a triangular shape and can run both forward and back. Two tow bars with platter seats are attached to the haul rope, and an operator starts and stops the lift at designated points. When an avalance hits the lift, the cable drops and is buried so after the storm a crew can locate and cut it. After it has been repaired or replaced the cable can be easily reinstalled. This entire process can be completed within 48 hours after the storm. Getting on the lift is the same as getting on a regular Poma lift and the ride up is fast and steep and feels like waterskiing. Unloading is fairly simple but really has to be prearranged so everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing.
Another recommended advanced run is Garganta just to the north of the Plateau chairlift, it starts off in a narrow steep chute then opens out into a wide bowl. There are usually good moguls on Plateau and free timed race courses and Guest races are held every Thursday with a prize ceremony later on at night in the hotel's Living Room. Roca Jack is the FIS approved downhill run and Plateau where Jean Claude Killy took gold in the 1966 World Alpine Ski Championships is certified for slalom and giant slalom races.
The Kilometro Lanzado has been the venue for 3 downhill speed trials with a new world record being set on each occasion. The latest was in 1987 when Michael Prufer of Monaco set the new record of 217.68Kph. Portillo is not really suitable for cross-country skiing due to avalanche risk which threatens the few flat areas suitable for the sport. The only terrain really appropriate for cross-country would be the frozen lake surface or possibly around the Los Libertadores customs station. Heli-skiing is available in Portillo on a pay per flight plus run basis.
Snowboarding in Portillo
With 100% of the area above the tree-line Portillo is a snowboarders playground. Every year more and more riders appear in Portillo. Surfers from Peru and Brazil, Extreme Team Visitors from the U.S. All of them help make Portillo a place to push your limits amongst an interesting group of riders. Helicopter adventures snowboarding arranged by request. The beginner area is conveniently close to the hotel and Canarios seems to be a favourite with most learners while Juncalillo is preferred by cruisers and intermediates for its rolling slopes through valleys. The lower section, Los Tuneles passes over 2 long tunnels which the government had to build over the road because the ski run was there first! Nightly grooming keeps the pistes in top condition while the more extreme terrain is left with its natural snowpack. The recommended way to ski or board Portillo is to start on the Juncalillo side in the morning. Its possible to watch the sunrise from a bunk in the Inca Lodge as the light descends the east-facing slope and eventually reaches the Roca Jack, the first run to soften in the early morning sun. Another recommended advanced run is Garganta just to the north of the Plateau chairlift, it starts off in a narrow steep chute then opens out into a wide bowl. There are usually good moguls on Plateau and free timed courses and Guest races every Thursday with the prize ceremony held later that night in the Hotel's Living Room.
Portillo Aprés Ski
Portillo has been designed for easy socializing and fun with all kinds of entertainment, activities and facilities to keep guests entertained after a day on the snow. The emphasis is very much on relaxation and well-being with aerobic and yoga classes happening regularly. The fitness centre includes gymnasium with weights and theres an outdoor heated pool. A sauna and massage are an excellent therapy to relax tired muscles and the beauty parlour is the perfect place for extreme self indulgence. The Living Room's comfy old couches make a great place to hang out, whether reading, playing chess or just enjoying a lazy afternoon by the fireside. The cinema has videos for most tastes and The Bar features live music and bands every night, the sun deck is a social centre and theres the cyber café, equipped with 9 computers, so you can check out your photos, surf the net or send a few e-mails. Letters and postcards to North America and Europe take from 5 days to a week by airmail. The swimming pool is an afternoon must while the Games Room attracts those who enjoy pool, ping pong and electronic games. Afternoon kids' games are organised and led by entertainment staff. The weekly torchligt parade is followed by dinner, live music in the Bar and a Goodbye Disco Party which is sometimes fancy dress so its worth packing a fun costume.
Portillo Snow Reports by e-mail
For a Free 7-Day Snow Forecast for Portillo, including a Snow Report with current skiing conditions, just sign-up to our Ski Chat Forum and set Portillo as a favourite ski resort in your Profile.