Ski El Colorado Tres Valles

Ski El Colorado Tres Valles

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
    Open El Colorado Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    2,430 – 3,460 (1,030)
  • Average Snow Fall
    5 metres
  • Lifts (19)
    4 Chairs
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am to 5:00pm
    Mid June to Mid October
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 113
    Longest run – 4.3 km
    Beginner - 40%
    Intermediate - 20%
    Advanced - 40% 

Snowboard & Ski El Colorado - Terrain

Many international racing teams use Centro de ski El Colorado as a training ground, and to some degree this sums up the predominant characteristics of El Colorado skiing and snowboarding terrain. The main front face (south west face) of Centro de Ski El Colorado has perfect fall line groomers and a big vertical drop. This face includes lots of bunny slopes for beginners and intermediates. El Colorado ski area is treeless and the main face is largely devoid of any other terrain features. Combined with the cone- shape of the mountain, there’s very little diversity in the terrain and many of the runs feel the same as the next one.

The ski terrain of El Colorado Ski Resort wraps around the cone to the east to the Cono Este and Valle Olympico area. This southeast face is on the leeward side of the mountain and it tends to capture all the powder. Cono Este has some interesting terrain features and is ideal for advanced riders, whilst Los Pioneros lift services runs suitable for the confident intermediate off-piste rider.

El Colorado - Interconnected With Valle Nevado and La Parva

As part of Tres Valles, El Colorado is interconnected with Valle Nevado and La Parva ski resorts for riders of strong intermediate ability and above. The Tres Valles connections between the resorts are not always open if weather or avalanche conditions do not permit certain lifts operating.

Unfortunately the Tres Valles ski resorts don’t work together well to create an appropriately priced all-resort lift ticket, so some visitors don’t ski between the resorts anyhow. The cost for a dual or tri area lift ticket costs only a little less than buying two separate passes which can be frustrating if you only want to use one lift at El Colorado to get over to Valle Nevado.

See El Colorado travel page for information on getting between the Tres Valles ski resorts by road.

Lift Passes

Whilst lift passes may seem expensive to locals or foreigners who also have a currency akin to the peso, North Americans will probably find the lift tickets incredibly affordable. It’s even better on weekdays when passes are discounted, and keep an eye out for deals, such as 30% off on certain days if you pay with your Visa card.

Ski El Colorado - Lifts

El Colorado prides itself on having more lifts than the adjoining ski resorts, which is rather amusing considering how bad the lift system is. Of the 19 lifts only 4 are chair lifts. These are painfully slow so the racers must find it frustrating to speed down the hill yet go up so slowly. And with lift queues present on the weekends, it must be really frustrating!

The Leon triple chair is poorly designed and dongs you on the head if you don’t remain in a crouch position as it approaches. Many of the lifts on the front face run parallel to each other, so they are a bit superfluous unless it’s a busy weekend. And on weekdays, even when the weather is good, they don’t necessarily open all the lifts to save money which limits access to some areas. And sometimes lifts don’t run due to maintenance issues.

Some of the T-bars are perilous to ride. The T-bar up Cono Este is a black run in itself because often it’s very bumpy and commonly on camber. The only grooming under the T-bar line is done by a skier with a small rake behind them!

El Colorado Snow and Weather

The official statistic for El Colorado snow volumes is unknown. Like the other Tres Valles ski resorts, snow typically comes in big intense dumps followed by a period of settled weather. El Colorado reports 80 percent sunny days, which is nice considering the treeless terrain.

Natural snow is supplemented by snowmaking on some of the trails.

El Colorado Ski Resort is very exposed and the many ugly lines of wind fences are an indication of the frequent windy conditions. The wind commonly scours the west face and leaves bare patches.

Like other South American ski resorts, the quality of the snow is incredibly variable. We’ve found the fresh snow to be heavy and like concrete by the end of the day, whilst others score blower powder. The powder quality is generally much better on the protected southeast face.

Once the melt-freeze cycle starts, the groomers are the place to play, although the grooming is far from world-class, with many shoddy seams evident.

Ski el Colorado – Beginners

El Colorado is a fantastic mountain for beginners, with lots and lots of trails at both Farellones and El Colorado. At El Colorado ski area, most of the green trails are on the lower parts of the mountain. El Colorado is popular with families because of the abundance of beginner terrain that is close to the lodging, some of which is ski-in ski-out.

Intermediate Ski and Board Terrain

Even though only 20 percent of the terrain is officially rated as intermediate, El Colorado is incredibly ideal for intermediates as most of the groomed red runs are also appropriate for intermediates. With consistent pitch and wide groomed runs on perfect fall-line, this is a great place to work on the turns.

Terrain Park El Colorado has a terrain park that’s reasonably well maintained in part due to weekly competitions and international park camps. The snow park is located near the base, so another bonus is that the park is rarely closed due to weather factors.

The terrain park has hits for beginner and intermediate shredders including boxes, kickers, and rails, but no pipe. There are also black rated hits for pros. There’s also an urban snowpark that has features such as stairs and wall rides, and a boardercross/skiercross zone.

Advanced Skiing El Colorado

Forty percent of the terrain is statistically for advanced and expert riders, but the statistic includes the red runs which are really just for intermediates. So alas, there’s not much advanced in-bounds terrain, with the southeast face being the only good place to play, and on a powder day this is completely ripped up by 10am, even on a weekday.

Los Pioneros offers some fun bowls on a powder day and there are a few rock formations to the skiers’ right of the Cono Este T-bar which keep things a bit interesting. Keep an eye on the line you need to take to get back to one of the T-bars. For mogul lovers, the best bumps are usually found on the runs near the Cornisa lift. Luckily for your knees, anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals are readily available in Chile!

Expert Riding In-bounds

Even though the black runs at El Colorado are called expert runs, there really aren’t any expert slopes in-bounds that are akin to a North American double black diamond run.

El Colorado Backcountry

The real joy for experts is in the backcountry between El Colorado and Valle Nevado.

One challenging area is between the Farellones Embudo lift and the Falso Embudo (aka False Funnel). The Falso Embudo is marked on the trail map even though it’s out of bounds. If there’s inadequate snow cover at this low elevation, stay up near the Cono Este area in the backcountry area that leads down to the Valle Nevado road. There is some amazing snow and terrain in this area, but with many unskiable cliffs, an appropriate line needs to be very carefully scoped out. This is not the spot to just follow others’ tracks or you may find yourself getting cliffed out.

The best way to explore this area is with a guide. You may want to head on a multi-resort ski tour that includes El Colorado backcountry guiding. Another huge advantage of having a guide is the access to a vehicle to do laps.

Valle Nevado controls much of this Santa Teresa (Santa Teresita) area because an avalanche would compromise their road. Nevertheless extreme avalanche caution needs to be exercised and you need backcountry expertise and equipment.