Last August, a few members of the FREESKIER staff booked it from the sweltering temperatures of Colorado to the mid-winter fantasyland of Valle Nevado, Chile. In short, it was a fantastic decision. As the ski season crawls to a halt in North America—there are still a handful of resorts open, and the backcountry skiing is still top-notch—it’s time to start thinking of summer skiing plans. With snow already on the ground in South America, Valle Nevado immediately comes to mind. In an attempt to amp up your stoke levels for Southern Hemisphere pow turns, I’ve whipped up 10 highlights of the Valle experience.
It’s already started snowing and El Niño years are monstrous at Valle Nevado
Do you even need another reason to book? 2016 is prime time to head south: It’s going to nuke down there. It snowed twice in April and according to the resort, that’s almost unheard of. The Chilean Weather Service is also forecasting huge snowfall for this season due to the lingering El Niño pattern that brings bucket loads of moisture along with it.
Opening day is June 24
This gives you plenty of time to get your fix of high-alpine backcountry skiing in the Northern Hemisphere before pointing ‘er south for an extension of your ski season. Plus, the season ends on September 23, giving you a full three months to fill your South American shred quota. Historically, early August is when you’ll want to be there for max pow.
Book 7 nights and expand your skiable terrain
How about this for a deal: Book a seven-night stay at Valle Nevado and receive two interconnect tickets to neighboring resorts La Parva and El Colorado. That’s a grand total of 7,000 skiable acres of some of the best terrain in South America at your disposal.
You will most definitely see pro skiers there
It’s not uncommon to see a host of pro skiers at Valle Nevado each season. Whether it’s names like Owen Leeper, Drew Tabke, Reggie Crist or Chopo Diaz—or athletes from brands like K2, Dakine and DPS Skis that come down regularly to capture content—all of the pros love it at Valle. Buy one of ’em a Pisco Sour amid aprés hours and you’ll have yourself a new best friend. Play your cards right and you’ll have a new skiing partner for the days ahead—one who will push your skiing to new heights and probably guide you to eye-opening terrain.
Lift lines don’t exist
For the most part, you’ll never have to worry about wasting your time standing in line at Valle Nevado. As a result, powder days can turn into powder weeks, with untracked lines lingering long after the storm has passed.
The terrain is unbelievable
The entirety of Valle Nevado sits above treeline. Think about it this way: A seemingly endless treasure trove of high-alpine terrain—chutes, cliffs, couloir and windlips, all blanketed with the most snow in the Central Valley, just beckoning you to attack it. The views of the surrounding peaks are absolutely stunning, as well.
Coolies are the best: Steep chutes overflowing with snow, with giant rock walls squeezing you in as tight as they can. Valle Nevado has no shortage of them. Head over to the Inca Valley at the back of the resort where the Ancla Poma resides. It’ll shuttle you up to 12,000 feet in elevation where an additional 30-minute hike will deposit you above an impressive cluster of couloirs. 3… 2… 1… Drop!
Valle Nevado has the self-proclaimed “best heli-skiing on the continent”
The Andes are the second highest mountain range in the world, with some peaks topping out at over 22,000 feet in elevation. As such, the vertical that Valle’s exclusive heli-ski operation can access is unmatched. Imagine shredding 5,000 vertical-foot runs, consistently, under the beautiful Chilean skies with a handy helicopter there to act as your chauffeur.
Aprés in North America is great, don’t get me wrong, but there is a severe lack of the aforementioned Pisco Sour. What could be better than grabbing a Sour and lounging in Valle’s outdoor, heated pool while watching the sun set? In case you’ve been living under a rock, the sunsets down there are some of the absolute best you’ll see anywhere on Earth. Just ask Griffin Post…
Sunshine and BBQ
On most weekends, La Fourchette restaurant breaks out the BBQ and offers a buffet-style lunch on its outdoor patio. Throw on the sunnies, lather up the sunscreen, grab your favorite hunk of meat and enjoy the sunshine before hitting the slopes in the afternoon. You deserve it. Also, please do try your best to resist the Pisco Sours until you’ve unbuckled the boots for the day.
For more information, visit vallenevado.com.