Ski Portillo opened its 2013-14 season June 29 with more than four feet of snow and new offerings, particularly in the area of enhanced guest experiences off and on the slopes. Ski Portillo is about a two-hour drive from Santiago, but be sure to carry chains and pre-check weather conditions.
The Hotel Portillo is undergoing a 4-year plan to renovate its guestrooms and will include the use of native Chilean Lenga wood; LED lights and energy-saving lamps; artwork by Chilean photographer Joaquin Vio; and decorative lambs wool rugs and blankets. Guestrooms in the Octagon Lodge also will undergo renovation.
Guests now have the option of staying in an 8-person Mountain Chalet that will include four meals a day and access to all the Hotel Portillo services.
For the first time, snowshoe enthusiasts can access the mountain on two different trails; equipment and tours are available. Tubing devotees will find double capacity this season and a run of more than 250 feet long.
July features Family Weeks: July 6-13, 13-20, 20-27, and July 27-Aug. 3. August highlights are the Chilean Wine Week, Aug. 3-10; Friends Week, Aug. 17-24; Wine Festival Week, Aug. 24-31. New this year is Gastronomic Week, Aug. 10-17. Parents who are paying hotel guests can bring one or two 4 to 11-year-olds for a completely free ski week, mostly during Sept. (some restrictions apply).
Ski weeks include seven nights of accommodations, four meals daily in the Hotel Portillo dining room, lift tickets for up to eight days of skiing, scheduled transfers from Santiago International Airport, and access to all resort amenities including hot tubs, outdoor pool, fitness center and yoga and stretching classes.
Ski camps and clinics will be held throughout the season. The Portillo Big Mountain Telemark Camp is July 21-28; August hosts Kim Reichhelm’s Ski Adventures Aug. 3-10, 17-24 and 24-31; Ski with the Superstars who include Wendy Fisher, Chris Anthony and Mike Douglas, Aug. 10-17;Adventure Ski Training Vacation Aug. 16-25; and Clendenin Ski Method with freestyler John Clendenin, Sept. 7-15.
Photo: Ski Portillo, Chile/Facebook