Valle Nevado Chile Review
Valle Nevado ski resort in Chile can be summed up as “sometimes deep, mostly not steep, and generally not cheap”.
Valle Nevado is one of the best ski resorts in Chile. It has very well developed skiing infrastructure (by South American standards) and is the grandest of the resorts. Valle Nevado Chile caters to the well heeled local and international ski market. This is not the place to ski on a shoestring, but you pay for the quality that you get including huge terrain, some good chair lifts, and reasonable service.
Valle Nevado (pronounced va-ye nevado) loosely translates to “snowy valley”. It’s definitely snowy with an average of 7 metres of snowfall annually. The top of the resort is at a soaring 3,670 metres above sea level, but it sits amidst peaks that are 6,000 metres high, so it seems reasonable to say that the ski resort is in a “valley”.
Valle Nevado Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The Valle Nevado skiing
and boarding area is reasonably large with 900 hectares (2,225 acres) of terrain and a vertical drop of 810 metres (2,657 feet). With treeless terrain and only 14 lifts spread across the large area, the number of potential off-piste lines seems infinite. And then there are the backcountry possibilities.
The Valle Nevado Ski Resort is also interlinked via the slopes with the ski resorts of La Parva
and El Colorado
). With a multi-resort lift ticket this adds another 1,521 hectares of fun, although the other resorts can’t be accessed as easily as one would first think.
Valle Nevado Chile is largely an intermediate ski hill. It has lots of cruisy wide-open groomed runs appropriate for the intermediate skier and boarder. There are also slopes for beginners, mellow pitched off-piste areas for advanced riders, and a couple of steeper bowls and chutes to challenge the experienced rider. The resort also has a couple of terrain parks.
The high elevation of the Valle Nevado ski resort ensures reasonable snow conditions and there is also snow making to top up the cover. Powder days can be epic thanks to the Valle Nevado phenomenon whereby the abundant snow is often dumped (or blown) upon the resort, even if neighbouring resorts only receive a few inches.
Modern fast chair lifts are pretty rare in South America, so Valle Nevado prides itself on having a detachable quad chair and a gondola. These fancy lifts are accompanied by a few other chair lifts as well as surface lifts that are required for the sometimes windy conditions.
Where is ValleNevado?
Valle Nevado Chile is located high in the Andes Mountains, only 67km (42 miles) from the city of Santiago. From the Santiago international airport you can self-drive, or alternatively there are transfers that can be included in a Valle Nevado ski package
The drive takes about 1:15 hours in good conditions and it can be slow going because the road up the mountain has multiple hairpin switchbacks.
||Santiago Skiing - Day Trips
If you don't have time for a few days or a week at one of Chile's top ski resorts but you have a free day available, jump on a Santiago skiing day trip. Pickups around 8:00 am and leaves the mountain of choice at 5:00 pm daily...
||Backcountry Day Trips from Santiago
Get away from the crowds and experience the best of the Tres Valles. These tours are lift-accessed backcountry (slackcountry) with experienced guides. Includes transfers and avalanche safety gear..
Valle Nevado Lodging
There is no town at the resort but rather a “village” that consists of three hotels, a handful of condominium buildings and a few restaurants. The flagship hotel is the ski-in ski-out 5 star Hotel Valle Nevado
, and Hotel Puerto del Sol
is also rather classy.
Staying at Valle Nevado does not come cheaply but the Valle Nevado ski packages
have many inclusions such as lift tickets, breakfast, dinner, and access to quality facilities. Valle Nevado hotel accommodation is only available in full ski weeks (7 nights - Friday to Friday) or mini-weeks (3 nights - Tues to Friday, 0r 4 nights - Friday to Tuesday).
There are also other accommodation options at nearby La Parva, El Colorado and Farellones.
Valle Nevado Communication and Service
The number of guests from English speaking countries has increased in recent years, and the number of English speaking staff has correspondingly increased. You’ll need to have some basic Spanish or Spanglish language skills for some encounters, but generally at hotel reception and the restaurants and bars you’ll find a staff member who speaks English. There are gringo ski and snowboard instructors, and a major bonus is that the resort offers group snowsports lessons in English.
The resort self-rates as having 5 star service which is possibly a little generous, but the expectations for Chilean 5 star service are a little different to other parts of the world! That being said, the service has improved remarkably in recent years and is some of the best found at a ski resort in Chile. Some inconsistencies in service may remain such as reliable communication about road closures which may be a little frustrating for some guests. So just relax and get into the swing of things, Chilean style.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Valle Nevado
- The ski area has fantastic terrain for intermediates and beginners.
- The ski terrain is reasonably large.
- Valle Nevado caters for English speaking guests much better than La Parva and El Colorado. The resort can also cater well for English speaking children (4 and up) via child care and ski school with English speaking instructors.
- The resort provides a high standard of accommodation that is either ski-in ski-out or very close to it.
- The amenities are very good and the lift infrastructure is the best in Chile.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
- Valle Nevado is expensive.
- During peak season there is limited flexibility available regarding the start day and duration of your stay.
- Heli skiing is available right from the village but it’s very expensive and rather disorganized.
Pros and Cons of the Tres Valles Resorts
- Often referred to as the Santiago ski resorts, the proximity to Santiago is a huge pro for the locals as well as international travelers. The Santiago airport receives direct flights from many international cities.
- The resorts have well developed amenities and infrastructure.
- The Tres Valles resorts boast about 80% sunny days.
- The three resorts combined provide a massive terrain choice.
- The resorts don’t cooperate with each other to make the most of their huge terrain by creating a well priced tri-resort lift ticket. You have to buy separate tickets or a very expensive dual-pass (not available at Valle Nevado), even if you just want to ride one lift at your “home” resort to get over to another.
- The resorts can get very busy on the weekends with day trippers, although Valle Nevado tends to be less crowded because the drive from Santiago is a little bit further.
- The snow conditions can be variable.
- Considering that the Tres Valles resorts sit at dizzying heights, the air is a little thin and there’s the risk of altitude sickness.
Tours That May Include Valle Nevado