Region Visit: Skiing in August at Valle Nevado Ski Resort, Chile
It’s a once in a lifetime experience to ski at the best ski mountains in the Southern Hemisphere. Spending time exploring Valle Nevado, making turns under August sun is an experience that was unforgettable.
This post is one chapter in our trip to Peru and Chile via Air Canada Executive First (Business Class). This trip was booked using Air Canada e-upgrades to upgrade into Air Canada International Executive First class. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Lima & Machu Picchu, Peru &, Middle Chile via Air Canada Executive First
- Air Canada Executive Class: Vancouver – Toronto
- Air Canada Executive First: Toronto – Lima
- City Visit: Lima, Peru
- LAN Peru: Lima – Cuzco
- Region Visit: Cuzco & The Sacred Valley, Peru
- Attraction Visit: Machu Picchu, Peru
- LAN Peru: Cuzco – Lima
- LAN Chile: Lima – Santiago
- Hotel Orly, Santiago, Chile
- City Visit: Santiago, Chile
- Region Visit: Maipo Valley, Chile
- Region Visit: Skiing in August at Valle Nevado, Chile
- Santiago Marriott, Santiago, Chile
- City Visit: Valparaiso & Vina Del Mar, Chile
- LAN Chile: Santiago – Lima
- Air Canada Executive First: Lima – Toronto
- Air Canada Executive Class: Toronto – Vancouver
Region Visit: Skiing in August at Valle Nevado Ski Resort, Chile
Travel Planning and Getting There:
The second portion of our Chile experience took us to Valle Nevado ski area. In my past life, having previously been a ski instructor and having been lucky enough to ski in Japan and France, I had always wanted to go down to Valle Nevado, Chile. I mean, skiing in August is a dream come true!! Valle Nevado (Snowy Valley in English) is situated 46 km East of Santiago in the El Plomo foot hills of the Andres mountain range. The hotel areas is based at 9,843 feet (3,000 meters) and it’s peak elevations are 17,185 ft (5,400 meters).
I researched the option of staying in Santiago and traveling up every day, but really, it was a holiday and likely a once in a life time experience. I booked a transfer through Ski Total, which we got to their city departure point via the Metro at Escaula Militare. Since we were going up to Valle Nevado and back on two different dates, they charged us twice for the trips as they had to block our seats upward on our return date. I thought this was a bit of a sham, but indeed the vans were packed full without a spare seat to be had. We paid 48,000 CHP ($97 USD for two) or 12,000 CHP per person each way for transfers due to blocking seat for the return trip. I was impressed with Ski Total, they were very organized and clearly loved skiing.
The road trip up was awesome. It was a switchback road that had some 39 switchbacks. The road was about 1.5 lanes wide, and was single direction going up and down at certain times of the day. The reason was likely because the cars needed the whole road when we going around the corners. We were treated to some spectacular views of being in the middle of the Andres Mountains.
While there were several price points of accommodation for on hill stays, we went for the budget accommodation at Hotel Tres Puntas, given the price. I formed the opinion that Valle Nevado seems to gouge its guests. They operate on an all inclusive basis, and you can only arrive on set days. We paid over $2,000 USD for 4 days three nights for a mini ski week, worth including lodging and skiing including all food (not including alcoholic beverages) for two.
You would think for those prices, that you’d be treated like a king. Well, when we got to the check in desk, there was a massive swarm of people there waiting to get checked in. There were at least 9 people waiting with not a lot of action happening. We finally got our ski passes, changed into ski clothes and headed off to the rental department.
Skiing at Valle Nevado Ski Resort:
We made it up the hill and had 3 great days of skiing under absolutely sunny and gorgeous skies. Some photos of the hill and the surrounding Andes mountain ranges from throughout our stay.
One of the best parts of skiing in Chile, South America is that Après Ski comes with Pisco Sours instead of the usual cerveza / beer. Pisco Sours during Apres with a view to die for
Hotel Tres Puntas:
At 4 PM, we came back and made it into our room. Remember that price that I told you about – we were horrified to learn that our room was smaller than my first apartment. I believe it to be smaller than some of the rooms I have had in the UK as a poor penniless backpacker traveler. I never though Aspen, Colorado, USA or Courchevel, France would have represented excellent value – but compared to this!!
It also turned out that they booked us into a double room, instead of a queen. I went back up to the front desk, waiting half an hour to speak with someone who would address the problem. The resolution was that I should take the room and they would “put” a queen in the room tomorrow. The supervisor that the clerk had to check with was hiding in an office and didn’t bother to come out.
Around the Resort at Valle Nevado:
The hotel offered access to all facilities and pools. There was a large seventies hot top at the base of their flagship hotel shown here. It’s integrated into the ski resort complex.
There were two restaurants on offer at our package price point. Our favorite was the Montre del Plomo buffet. It was complete with an egg scrambling station (for breakfasts), a meat station parilla, appetizer buffet, pasta bar and dessert bar. The emphasis was on quantity, but the food wasn’t anything to complain about.
The skiing here was similar to the resorts that I had been to in Colorado. The slopes weren’t super advanced but highly groomed. The views were the most fantastic that I have seen anywhere in the world and even beat out Les Trois Vallees in France in my opinion.
Alpine Sunsets at 10,000 feet:
The other benefit to staying up at the hill was that you had million dollar sunsets. Having been around the block a few times, it’s difficult to get gorgeous alpine sunsets.
These were some absolutely special sunset views that were seared into my memory for quite some time.
Wine Tasting and Chilean Après Ski:
During our 3 day stay, Valle Nevado also put on a complimentary wine tasting on our last night. It was a strange experience to go from an outdoor hot tub at 10,000 feet to a wine tasting on the hot tub deck featuring fabulous appetizers, leather couches outside, Chilean wines, portable campfires with wood and a jazz band at sunset!! Being a bit bitter about the pricing, the small room and the fact that we felt as though we were getting fleeced, we took advantage of the free pour and downed as much as we humanly could. Needless to say, the wine was fabulous with a wide range of Cabernet, Cameniere and Merlot on offer!!
The wine tasting camp fire event on the decks at Valle Nevado was a great end to our holiday.
Our stay at Valle Nevado was pretty unique and memorable. It’s really unusual to ski under the sun in the North American Summer on what is likely the hottest ski destination in the Southern Hemisphere. The prices made your eyes water, and the value for dollars certainly wasn’t there compared to North American and Europe. Despite this, we enjoyed the experience which was punctuated by memorable views, jagged mountain peaks of the Andes and a wine tasting at 9,843 feet over a spectacular sunset. I would recommend a visit for the experiences, but temper your lodging expectations accordingly.