For more than half a century, Portillo has been Chile’s prestige ski resort, and while first-rate ski centers closer to Santiago have been expanding, Portillo has retained its reputation for quality dry powder and steep slopes that have yielded downhill speed records—in 1987, Michael Prufer reached 217.68 kilometers per hour. Its 23 different runs vary from beginner and intermediate to advanced and expert, the longest of which is 3.2 kilometers. Altitudes range from 2,590 to 3,322 meters, and it gets an average of 6 meters of snow every winter.
For transportation from either the airport or the capital, contact the Centro de Ski Portillo (Renato Sánchez 4270, Las Condes, Santiago, tel. 02/2630606, fax 02/2630595, www.skiportillo.com), near Metro Escuela Militar. In the United States there’s a toll-free number (tel. 800/829-5325).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition