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Fast facts about Ski Portillo

  1. *Located 2 hours drive northeast of Santiago

  2. *One of the most popular ski resorts in Chile

  3. *3 different style of accom to suit your budget

  4. *Beginner to Expert Ski Slopes

Unique Destinations’ Review of Ski Portillo

Perched high up in the Andes and not far from the Argentina frontier lies South America’s oldest, and one of Chile’s most popular ski resorts, Portillo. Frequented by visitors from all around the world, Portillo is also one of the preferred ski resorts for summer training by the United States and many European national Olympic ski teams.

With a history dating back to last century; when the Chilean government ordered the construction of a railroad to transport goods and passengers between Chile’s Central Valley and Argentina’s Mendoza; Portillo has since grown into a world class facility offering skiing for beginners through to experts.

Arriving to Portillo is quite simple. It is located 2 hours drive northeast of Santiago towards the Chile / Argentina border crossing. With no other towns nearby, Portillo’s exclusive location allows guests the ultimate skiing experience without the crowds. 

During an average season, Portillo receives bountiful amounts snow with an average of 24.7 feet. On the rare occasion where there might be low snowfall, Portillo has snowmaking equipment on hand to assist. The slopes are groomed on a nightly basis leaving them in perfect condition for skiers the next morning.

With the help of the onsite Ski School, beginners can learn to ski or snowboard with one of 35 skiing and snowboarding professionals from 10 different countries around the world. For children aged 4 – 6 there is a Ski School Kids Camp which is designed to introduce youngsters to the world of alpine skiing or snowboarding.

Portillo’s slopes also features both intermediate and advanced trails, and are renowned for their expert runs. The expert runs include the Roca Jack and Condor which are so steep that a special one-of-its-kind lift is required. To challenge your expertise even further you could try the famous Kilometro Lanzado run, home to three speed skiing trial records and where, for the first time, the 200km speed barrier was broken! For the more adventurous out there, Portillo offers Heli-skiing between 1 July and 30 September.

Surely this should be enough to entice the avid skier to make a visit to Portillo! The resort offers packages based on a week-long, Saturday to Saturday basis only. Each 7 Night Package includes lodging, four meals per day, lift tickets and free access to all the fitness and entertainment facilities.

Hotel Portillo is the primary choice of accommodation for most guests – offering 123 cozy and warm guest rooms each with a view to the snow covered valleys or to the Inca Lake. There is however, accommodation to suit all needs. In addition to the hotel, and just a few steps away are the Octagon Lodges – a more economical alternative of lodging. Each contains 4 bunk beds and a private bathroom. For the backpacker, there is the Inca Lodge, also just a few steps away from the hotel where small rooms and communal bathrooms are offered.

As there are no other towns or villages nearby, the resort is totally self-contained and provides all the modern amenities that guests might require during their stay. It is often likened to a cruise ship in the Andes! The features of Hotel Portillo are extensive ranging from a cinema operating movies every afternoon to Tio Bob’s slopeside restaurant offering barbecued meats and fish while guests can enjoy the stunning views surrounding.

After a long day out on the slopes most people will be wondering what to do for “Apres ski”. For some this begins in the bar for a cocktail or drink before dinner then partying on in the resort’s disco until the early hours. For others it might be relaxing with a quiet board game amongst friends in the library or receiving a therapeutic massage.

Another experience not to miss is bathing in the outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi on a snowy afternoon. Kicking back and encompassing the backdrop of the Andes blanketed in snow is a truly unforgettable affair. So don’t forget to pack your bathing suit!

To keep the kids entertained there is a games room featuring pool, ping-pong, foosball and even rock climbing. Each afternoon the entertainment team organizes fun activities for kids such as treasure hunts, sports competitions, bread-baking classes and more. At Portillo there is never an opportunity for kids, let alone adults to say “I’m bored”!

During the onset of the winter months there is often a buzz about Santiago as ski enthusiasts eagerly await the official opening date of the resort and many dates sell-out within the first week. Unique Destinations and Portillo would like to advise readers of a special opening in availability between 4 and 11 July 2009. The resort will offer two special 4 Night Packages for stays during this period. Rooms are expected to sell very quickly as the resort doesn’t normally deviate from the standard 7 Night Package so be sure to contact Jackie Rosser at Unique Destinations as soon as possible to make your booking (
jrosser@uniquedestinations.cl). More special offers can be viewed on our website at www.uniquedestinations.cl

In addition to these special offers, Portillo will be giving away 4 Day Ski Tickets to one lucky reader! To go in the draw to win, please send your answers to the following question to info@uniquedestinations.cl Entries close 31 July 2009.

Question: Name the 3 types of accommodation offered at Ski Portillo

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