It’s not every July that you find yourself skiing down an imposing mountain instead of sweating through the 100-degree weather that has swept across the US this summer. However, because I am fortunate enough to be in Chile during their winter months, I experienced the breathtaking scenario and amazing skiing conditions in the Andes Mountains of Chile.
My roommate and I woke up early on a Sunday morning in order to rent our equipment and catch the shuttle up to the ski resort. We did this through a company called SkiTotal, which was highly recommended for tourists who wanted to make a day trip up to the mountains. We were able to get all of our equipment easily enough, although I must say the majority of our stuff was significantly outdated. My jacket was several inches too small for me and I had to struggle to zip it up. I’m not sure if they were trying to find clothes for me or for a small 10 year old child!
When selecting from the major ski resorts that surround Santiago, we decided to go to the largest and most popular one, Valle Nevado. Located about 46 kilometers east of the city, Valle Nevado is one of South America’s most modern ski resorts. It is the only resort in all of South America that has a high-speed chair lift that fits four people. With the increasing amount of commercialization that is being completed around the resort, it is clear that they are trying to make it a large tourist hub to attract visitors from across the world.
During our shuttle to the resort, we were taken on a beautiful winding road that slowly progressed up the steep ascent to the top. The most amazing part was how high we were when we finally got to the top. Valle Nevado is situated above the treeline. In this way, when you are skiing it is truly like you are floating in the heavens, due to the fact that you are looking down upon the clouds. Definitely was one of the best parts about skiing at this resort.
Overall we had a fantastic day! The weather was beautiful and even though it was at the beginning of their ski season, there was a lot of snow and good skiing to be had. Being from Colorado, it made me miss home and the skiing there, but also made me realize why Chile is such a great country. Living in a city where you are less than two hours from the beach and great skiing is a fantastic experience. After we finished up the day, I was incredibly exhausted. We took the long journey back down the windy road and to the city, making sure to get a good night's sleep for the long week of work ahead!