Portillo ski resort in Chile has an ambiance not easily matched. Located northeast of Santiago, and set high up on a plateau in the Andes, it is one of South America’s oldest and finest vacation resorts. There is no town in Portillo and only one hotel, the Grand Hotel Portillo with 123 rooms. The other options for staying here are the Octagon Lodge and Inca Lodge. The resort compares itself to a self-contained cruise liner nestled in the magnificent Andean peaks, full of opportunities for a ‘resort romance’.

The enchanting surroundings, exceptionally well-groomed slopes and friendly atmosphere make for a relaxed vacation. The slopes are suitable for all levels, from beginners to professional-level skiers. Portillo has hosted the World Cup on a couple of occasions and extensive snow-making facilities here guarantee consistently good ski conditions. All the slopes are above the tree-line and Portillo’s skiing terrain boasts of chutes, steeps and bowls, as well as wide open pistes and masses of off-piste powder.

The Portillo ski school is particularly well renowned and conducts an excellent children’s camp. The slopes are equally divided into beginners, intermediate and expert. Advanced skiers will revel in the exciting expert slopes that are left ungroomed.

The highest lift-served run is at nearly eleven thousand feet and the longest run is a respectable two miles. The slopes are accessed by twelve modern ski lifts but unique Va et Vient lifts designed by Jean Pomagalski in the ’60s provides access to the high avalanche chutes across the expert slopes of Roca Jack and the Condor. Experienced skiers can also enjoy heli-skiing at Portillo. Other popular activities here are, snowboarding, trekking and ice-skating.

Après-ski centers around the bar and disco in Grand Portillo. The bar has a wonderful decor and you can relax to live music after dinner in a warm ambience. The disco has its own bar and dancing often continues into the small hours of the morning. The winter season at Portillo runs from June to October and discounts are available at the beginning and the end of the season. Minors and seniors also qualify for cheaper rates.