Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Report from the field: Chile

Hola Skiers & Riders:

Part of our job as Ski Travel Professionals is to experience the resorts we sell, so that when you call, we can speak from experience.

Thank you to: LAN Airlines, Portillo, Valle Nevado, Hotel Aubrey and Santiago Adventures for hosting Pete Kondak in Chile recently. I know, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Here is Pete's report.

Part 1

My trip started with a nice relaxing flight aboard LAN Airlines luxury 767 jet from JFK to Santiago on June 29. I was happy to leave the 95 degree temperatures of NYC for the cool temperate climate of Santiago.

After a couple of glasses of wine and a good meal I woke in Santiago to greet my other fam mates, Felipe Tetelboin from Lan Airlines and Rebecca Armstrong from Portillo. Prior to meeting them I filed through immigration. I was lucky enough to have a prior entry stamp from visiting Chile in 2004 already in my passport. Chile has an entry reciprocity fee of $160. It was $100 when I visited in 2004. It’s valid for the life of your passport.

Upon arrival I was greeted with great news. Portillo had just received asignificant amount of new snow. Over the course of the next 2 and halfhours we made our way from the elevation of about 1700 feetin Santiago to an elevation of 9450 feet in Portillo. Portillo Travel delivered us safely and comfortably to Portillo. We emerged into analpine winter paradise.

Portillo is located just a half mile from the apex of the Andes range as well as the Chile/Argentina border. There are massive peaks in every direction completely blanketed with snow. We wasted no time getting out and skiing a few runs. That night we had an incredible dinner of local Chilean seafood and several varieties of local wine. You are given two choices for an appetizer, three choices for dinner and a desert. Dinner was followed by some pisco (local Chilean grape brandy) and cokes and a sample of the local night life including dancing at the Portillo disco and practicing our Spanish with the locals at the local drinking hole called La Posada.

The next day consisted of great skiing with some of Portillo's incredible ski school staff and then lunch at Tio Bob's. Our guides/instructors were named Patrice and Mans. They were a few of the elite ski instructors that come to Portillo from North America or Europe during the summer. They gave us the full mountain tour along with showing us some secret powder stashes.

The next day was a powder day. I got up early and was treated to 6 inches of fresh snow. The condor lift was newly open and I was one of the first to ski some great deep lines. I had the resort to myself for the first few hours of the day. That would not be the case on a powder day in the states.

Stayed tuned for part 2

If you are interested in Skiing or Riding Chile give Pete, Alyssa or Mike a call at 888-754-2167 and we'll give you the Inside scoop.

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