Reach new heights with this adventurous snow trip. By Daniel Fallon.
High above the fertile Las Trancas Valley in Chile’s Southern Andes, adventurous powder hounds will discover a rare destination. Nevados de Chillán Mountain Resort is set on the side of a volcano, from which lava flows have shaped the landscape. There are gullies, bowls and chutes under its three peaks, with steam occasionally rising from one of them.
Image: Nevados de Chillán Mountain Resort
With up to 10 metres of snow, there’s ample powder for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels to explore the resort’s 35 kilometres of terrain, including the longest trail in South America, the 13-kilometre Las Tres Marias (The Three Marias). And while 70 per cent of the trails on the groomed slopes are suitable for beginners and intermediates, there are many runs for experts, too. In fact, the Canadian alpine team has made this Chilean resort a training base to prepare its athletes for World Cup events.
Although you’re not likely to experience long queues at the 12 lifts during the ski season (June to October), Nevados de Chillán is set to grow in prestige as a top ski destination when the Canadian skiers compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
For those needing to work on their skills, the resort’s ski and snowboard school has 45 certified instructors, including fluent English speakers.After a day of carving up the mountains, relax tight muscles in the connected hot-spring baths. Sip a Pisco Sour from the swim-up bar in the main pool or take in views of the surrounding Andes from the three other pools that reach temperatures of up to 40°C.
The Gran Hotel Termas de Chillán is a luxurious lodging with rooms offering gorgeous views of either the volcanic mountains or the ancient Andes forest. When hunger sets in, there are three restaurants and a café to choose from, including Montañés restaurant, where you can try exotic fare, such as emu carpaccio or candied scallops, paired with fine Chilean wines.
Image: Gran Hotel Termas de Chillán
There’s a great range of winter activities on offer at Termas de Chillán, from the ski school and Snow Garden play area that caters for juniors through to paintball in the powder and dog sledding led by Alaskan malamutes. And at the end of an action-packed day, you may want to book a soothing massage or mud bath at Allus Wellness & Spa.