Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Valle Nevado to open two weeks early!!!

Check out these fresh pics from our friend Milena at Valle Nevado. They have been getting absolutely HAMMERED with early snow. This bodes really well for a great summer ski season. We've got the availability and the know-how to get you transported to all of this South American goodness. What's stopping you?!?! Get with Alyssa, Mike or Pete, and they'll get you dialed in!

Milena reports; "Valle Nevado is thrilled to announce that due to heavy early snowfall, the ski resort will open two weeks before the scheduled date for the 2014 season, this Friday, June 13. While El Niño weather patterns have forecasted favourable snow weather conditions for the central Andes this year, the amount of snow received in the past few weeks has exceeded expectations, and promises an even better season than previously rumoured. Valle Nevado currently has nearly 3 feet of snow, with more snow predicted in the forecast. Valle Nevado's hotels will remain closed until June 27, however most trails, select restaurants and other services will  open for day skiers and those lodging in condominiums."

This year there are more reasons than ever to visit Valle Nevado, Chile’s premiere ski resort. Earlier this year Chile joined the U.S. visa waiver program and the $160 reciprocity fee for U.S. visitors has been lifted, making air travel to Chile more convenient and affordable than before. As part of Valle Nevado's USD $150 million Master Development Project that seeks to turn Valle Nevado into the first full service mountain village in the region, the resort announces the inauguration of a new restaurant, La Leñera, serving hearty mountain fare in a cozy lodge setting, as well as two new apartment buildings, El Plomo and Tupungato. These new developments along with the promising winter El Niño has in store are sure to make 2014 at Valle Nevado a season to remember.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Layering for warmth. Merino Wool is your friend.

Do you have a misconception about wool being uncomfortable and itchy? Are you still wearing cotton under layers? Are you tired of being cold? My advice...get rid of cotton. Cotton traps moisture and keeps you cold. As soon as you begin to sweat if you are wearing a cotton under layer the moisture will absorb into the fabric.  As soon as you stop moving you will immediately become cold,very cold.

With technology things often become more advanced and improve. Gear and athletic clothing is no exception. There have been many products developed to help you have the best experience and stay comfortable so you can pursue your outdoor activities longer.

If I can recommend investing in three things it would be Merino Wool,(Smartwool and Icebreaker are my personal favorite) Down Sweaters (I like Patagonia) and Gortex (there are many great companies to chose from.)

I find I am most comfortable when everything that touches my skin is wool. My second layer is either a poly pro or wool (depending on the conditions.) I prefer Merino wool because it also possess antimicrobial qualities so your clothes will not stink.  This stuff really is amazing! Then I layer a lightweight down sweater 600-800 fill. Down sweaters are the thinner version of their cousin the "Stay Puff Marshmallow" puffy down. Last but certainly not least would be a Gortex jacket. Gortex is great for keeping you dry. These products are not the least expensive options but trust me they are worth every penny.

-Kamlyn Cantrell

Thanks Kamlyn! Your advise is particularly apropos during the spring season when weather conditions can seemingly change every 10 minutes. 

Pete's Portillo Adventure

I was fortunate enough to visit Chile for the second summer in a row in 2013.  I spent three wonderful days at Portillo.  After a comfortable flight into Santiago I was met a very friendly driver, Manuel from Santiago Adventures.  We chatted about Chilean history, culture, and geography on the three hour drive up to Portillo.

I checked into my room at the Hotel Portillo just long enough to shed my travel attire and get into my ski clothes and hit the slopes around 2 PM.  The conditions were sunny spring like with plenty of coverage.  Portillo is one my favorite ski resorts on the world.   Not just because of the amazing skiing and scenery but also because of the wonderful overall experience you are presented with when there.  It’s like coming home to your family after being gone for years.  From the staff to the fellow guests everyone is very friendly and inviting.  Not to mention the food and service.  Now back to the skiing.  Portillo has a series of sling shot lifts that consist of 4 or 5 pomas that access the very steep terrain at the resort.  There is a trick to getting off these lifts as the first person on the left gets off in the order of left to right after it backs ups and stops.  Let’s just say it took me a few tries.  The most famous of these lifts is the Roca Jack lift.   It accesses some the most epic terrain at the resort.

Many of the North American and European ski teams train at Portillo during August and September.  I was lucky enough to watch the Austrian team train while I was there.        

Pete will share some additional tidbits from his trip "way down south" in the coming weeks. Thanks Pete!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Telluride's Tribute to the Denver Broncos Superbowl Run

Check out this amazing video Telluride created for the Broncos Superbowl bid:


Interested in visiting some of those amazing places in that video? Book your Telluride Ski Vacation Package today!  Who will be rooting for the Broncos this Sunday?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pete's "Tips &Tricks" for saving $$$ on your ski travel airfare

by Pete Kondak

A lot of people ask me about me about getting best priced air fare. I'm happy to share some of my knowledge from working on both sides of the counter at the airport.

First off, flexibility is going to save you the most money.  Typically the best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to fly.  The airlines have less travelers flying on week days so the fares are a reflection of this.  Also always purchase your tickets directly with the airline (unless, of course it's part of a ski package with Tours de Sport!).  If you book your tickets on Priceline or Hotwire or a similar  website you are the usually the first one to get get bumped off an oversold or overweight flight.  In fact some carriers such as Delta will not give the passenger a seat assignment until they are at the gate if they booked on a discount travel site. Not many people know this, and 95% percent of the time you can get the same fare on the airline's website.  The airlines are all about loyalty. That's why they treat their high value frequent fliers so well.

Another great option is to look at Southwest.  Southwest Airlines does not publish any of their fares on any website except their own.  Typically their fares are less then the larger carriers and have no baggage fees.  Also Southwest tends to fly in major cities smaller airport's such as Chicago's Midway.

With the airlines charging more money for luggage, it's in your best interest to pack light.  Pack as much as possible in your carry on luggage.  All of the major airlines still count a ski bag and a boot bag as one piece of luggage even though they are 2 different pieces.  Also try and keep your checked luggage under 50 pounds. Weigh it at home before you come to the airport if possible.  This will ensure you don't pay overweight charges.  All of the major airlines also have credit cards that waive the baggage fees.  On Delta's AMEX Card, as an example,  they will waive the baggage fee for up to 9 people in the same reservation. 

 Good luck and happy travels to ski county! Make sure to say hello when you're in Jackson!


Pete knows of which he speaks having worked the counter at Jackson Hole airport which is a crazy place, both Winter & Summer.