Due to ski racing, I have been lucky enough to travel all over the globe and I’m only 18. I have been to Chile 3 times, always flying in to Santiago and then making the 1 and a 1/2 hour trek up a turny, dirt road to a trifecta of ski areas, La Parva, El Colorado, and Valle Nevada.
I have always been based at El Colorado in one of the several hotel there, but have skied all three. Valle Nevada (located on the far right when looking at the mountains) is the “Aspen, CO” of the three ski areas and therefore is the most expensive to stay at, but the mountain is beautiful and boasted the longest T-bar in the world when I was there 2 years ago.
El Colorado is the center mountain and is less expensive than Valle Nevada. You can, however, find nice housing with kitchens. You will want to cook when you go. You will also want to do a Costco-style shopping trip at the Jumbo, Chilean Costco, before heading up the mountain because there is a serious lack of groceries at the top. The trails range from flat (beginner) to more advanced racing terrain.
La Parva is the furthest left of the three. I have never stayed there personally, but I have heard mixed reviews on accommodations. A good thing to know is that you can ski from one ski area to the other, so you can stay and El Colorado and ski Valle Nevada one day and La Parva another. I believe there are even “Three-Way” passes.
The important thing to know for women is that it can be “sketchy” in Chile. I am a blonde and I am a rare find down there. Let me tell you, I have never been whistled at more in my life. It’s the same with all girls. If you are traveling, always stay with a buddy. The bigger the group, the better.
Random tip: If you are there for a ski trip, but get the chance to explore Santiago, go to the fish market. IT’S HUGE! And there are awesome seafood restaurants inside with fresh fish, which is Chile’s main export. You can thank my high school Spanish report for that fun fact.
Random tip 2: DO NOT LET PEOPLE HELP YOU WITH YOUR BAGS AT THE AIRPORT. They will expect to be paid. If you do accept help, do not show them the money in your wallet or they will expect a lot. It can be a little overwhelming, but stay strong!
Remember if it’s summer and you want to ski, make a trip down to Chile. It’s definitely worth the visit!