Where to Ski This Summer: Portillo, Chile
When the snow melts up North, hardcore skiers chase winter down to Portillo, Chile, for big Andean lines, pisco sours and the Santa Rosa, the annual storm that sprays powder on peaks across South America.
In the Andes, the typical ski season runs from about June - October, and we can't blame North American skiers for heading down South to chase lines as soon as the lift start running, but there is something to be said for waiting it out.
Last summer, the WME crew, accompanied by Ian McIntosh, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Ingrid Backstrom, waited until August to head to the Southern Hemisphere, and we found our patience rewarded when the Chilean Andes got hit with 100+ inches of snow over seven days in Portillo. Not only did we get buried in powder, but also we ended up with the resort pretty much all to ourselves, as the storm caused road closures that prevented most other folks from reaching the slopes.
Where to stay
Overlooking the waters of Laguna del Inca, the Hotel Portillo floats in the Andes like a cruise ship, minus the shuffleboard and buffet, with the world's greatest skiers on board. The vibe is casual, but there's a certain midcentury elegance that evokes the old days, when T-bars were the norm, people dressed up for après and ate meals together after an afternoon on the hill. For many, Portillo is what skiing is all about: good food, friends, fun, enjoying the natural world - and schussing, of course.
What to do
Hit the hill at 9 am and ski until mid-afternoon. Beeline to Tio Bob's (sit on the deck and soak in the sun) for a slopeside meal of grilled local meat, red wine and killer views of the Andes. Back at Hotel Portillo, après in the hot tub, followed by a 9:30 pm dinner with live music in the hotel's dining room. Late night, head downstairs to the disco. Repeat.
Portillo is about 100 miles northeast of Santiago and not far from the Chile-Argentina border. Fly into Santiago and grab a prearranged shuttle to the resort. If you rent a car, check conditions before traveling because the road closes for bad weather, with only brief openings.
Plan Your Trip