Posts tagged ‘portillo’

September 3, 2011

Skiing: Andes Style

Woke up at 4AM. Left by 5AM. Skied all day. Back by 10PM. I can’t even begin to describe how immense the Andes are. Skiing on just two of the mountains made me feel like a speck. Just amazing! And no Dad, I didn’t find any Andes mints…

The ski resort that we travelled to was called Portillo. Portillo is located 9,350 feet above sea level and that mountain that I could see from Valporaíso (Aconcagua) is just over the ridge. It had an interesting collection of Chileans, gringoes, Argentinians, Brazilians, and the Swiss Olympic ski team, but the slopes were not at all crowded.

It was so weird to not see a single tree on the mountain. I’m so used to passing trees covered in mardi gras beads, but here it was rocks, cliffs, and more rocks.

The Inca Lagoon rests between the two main mountains where all the runs were. In the morning everyone skis on the right side of the lagoon and then heads over to the left side in the afternoon.

This was my favorite run, Juncalillo, because it traversed the other side of the mountain. I could see families with their kids sledding WAY down below as well as the cars and semis zipping dangerously close to the rocks at one of the switchbacks.

It took quite a bit longer to get back home, but considering we survived the thirty switchbacks and semis driving down the middle of the road in the tunnels WHILE still passing other vehicles, I consider it a successful trip.

The ski review said this: “The Portillo Ski Area in Chile is the most famous and oldest center in South America, renown for its extraordinary beauty and its world-class skiing and snowboarding. In a world quickly going generic, Portillo proudly remains unique, private and grand. There are no towns, shopping areas, high-priced tickets or major ego to be found here, just casual elegance and a warm social atmosphere that encourages every visitor to feel like part of the family.”