A more appropriate title would be “How to ski from Santiago, Chile on the cheap.” We’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding this, and people wanting to stay up in the mountains for a few days. The problem is, most rentals around the ski areas run from Saturday to Saturday- and a lot of people don’t want the weeklong experience. Yes, Valle Nevado does have a more traditional hotel, but it’s pricey. Here’s a breakdown of transportation options and lodging options in the mountains, so you can get your summer skiing fix without getting a loan.
I’ve always used Ski Total– a transportation service that runs shuttles from Santiago for $10.000 (USD about $20) roundtrip to Farellones, El Colorado, and La Parva and $12.000 (USD about $24) to Valle Nevado. Ski Total also services Portillo on Wednesday and Saturday for $20.000. If you need to get to Portillo on a day other than Wednesday or Saturday, call ahead and you may get lucky and snag a spot on a private shuttle. Ski Total claims to leave at 8:00AM and return at 5:00PM, but like most things in Chile, this is a pretty loose time frame. I’ve left after 10:00AM and returned after 7:00PM…so just keep that in mind.
This is the trickiest part. As I said, there are few traditional hotels in the mountains around STGO and the ones that exist are pretty expensive. Here are a couple hostels, that are pretty cheap, relatively speaking.
The Blue Tambo is centrally located in Farellones. Plus, it’s the place to party on weekend nights (and sometimes weekday nights for that matter), if you’re into that sort of thing. That said, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep when the Chileans feel like tying one on, which can be pretty regularly.
Also located in Farellones, Chile Extremo offers a variety of lodging options, from bunks to private rooms- there’s a place for every price point. They also offer transportation to boot!
Renting in Chile can be a bit, ghetto, to put it lightly. Ski Total offers rentals, but on a crowded weekend plan on getting there early before all the good stuff is gone. Alternatively, you can rent from the resort you ski at, but that can be pretty hit or miss based on your timing. Ideally, if you can get to the shop early you should be able to get some fairly respectable gear.
Like most things in Chile, how much something costs is related to how much foresight you have. If you plan ahead, it shouldn’t be too expensive, but if you’re pulling things together last minute, expect to pay…a lot.