Valle Nevado Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

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

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Open Valle Nevado Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    2,860 – 3,670 (810)
  • Average Snow Fall
    7.0 metres
  • Lifts (14)
    1 Gondola
    1 High speed quad

  • Ski Hours
    9:00am to 5:00pm
    Mid June to mid October
  • Terrain Summary
    Area - 900 ha
    Longest run – 2.3 km
    Expert - 21%
    Advanced - 33%
    Intermediate - 36%
    Beginner - 10%

Valle Nevado Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Ski Valle Nevado Chile for a fabulous Andean experience! Valle Nevado is largely a mellow ski resort suited to intermediate riders and powder hounds on L plates. There is also a little beginner and advanced terrain, but in general ValleNevado lacks steeps.

Many of the runs at Valle Nevado are named after dances such as the polka, fox trot and tango. The names seem to reflect the mellow terrain at Valle Nevado. Twist and Shake are black runs, but that’s about as aggressive as the dances get. There is no Quick Step, Jitterbug or Breakdance! Even though the statistics cite that 33% of the trails are for advanced riders and 21% are for experts, the red runs (advanced) are more comparable to your average intermediate run.

The Valle Nevado ski and snowboard terrain is 900 hectares (2,225 acres) in size. Some sources cite that Valle Nevado has 23,000 acres of terrain (ie about 3 times the size of Whistler Blackcomb), but one can only assume that they are counting the heli-ski terrain in this statistic!

With only 41 kilometres of trails, the extent of the piste is comparable to some very small ski resorts in Europe. The upside of very few piste trails on such an expansive area is that there are an abundance of off-piste opportunities. And considering that the terrain is treeless, the options seem endless and include natural half-pipes, gullies, bowls and the occasional cornice. Of course the degree of fun to be had in the off-piste areas is dependent upon the snow conditions. Sometimes the off-piste will be a powder playground and other times it will be a nightmare. When the thaw-freeze cycle sets in at Valle Nevado and everyone retreats to the groomers, the size of the resort seems small indeed.

Due to the lack of steepness and the various gullies, there are some dead spots in the terrain. Particularly if the powder is deep and heavy, snowboarders will need to keep up plenty of speed.

Interconnected with El Colorado and La Parva

Valle Nevado is interconnected with El Colorado and La Parva ski resorts. This is dependent upon the top lift connections being open which relies on visibility, wind conditions and the patrollers having opened the areas after a storm.

Access to El Colorado is via the Sol Run which is generally groomed, but the T-Bar up the Cono Este at El Colorado is a black run in itself, so the connection is best for strong intermediates and up. The connection to La Parva is higher up and is also for riders of at least intermediate ability.

Despite the bonus of having inter-connections with La Parva and El Colorado, most people don’t ski over there because it’s too difficult and too expensive to undertake via the slopes (see below), and it’s a hassle to do via the roads (see the Valle Nevado travel page for more information).

Valle Nevado Lifts

Valle Nevado has the best lift infrastructure in Chile. Combined with the new gondola, the Andes Express quad is the pride and joy of the resort. Another two of the lifts are not detachable but they have “magic carpet” loading mechanisms, so they can travel nearly as fast as the Andes chair.

Lift lines are sometimes problematic on weekends when all the Santiago locals come for a ski. Midweek it’s generally OK.

Lift Tickets

For overnight guests, lift tickets are included in the Valle Nevado ski packages. For others, the lift tickets are rather expensive, particularly on weekends and during high season (first half of July), and they’re a little more costly than at La Parva and El Colorado.

If you’re staying at El Colorado (or Farellones) you can purchase a super-expensive dual pass to get across to Valle Nevado. But if you’re staying at Valle Nevado, you cannot purchase a multi-resort ticket. They clearly don’t cooperate with their neighbouring resorts and don’t want anyone to leave Valle Nevado!

This isn’t a major problem if you want to ride at La Parva because you can drop in from Valle Nevado and ski to the base of La Parva to buy a separate ticket without needing to ride a lift. However for El Colorado you need to pass through the electronic ticket gate and ride up the Cono Este lift before you can descend on the front face to buy an El Colorado ticket. You might be able to beg the lift attendant to let you up but this isn’t guaranteed.

ValleNevado Snow and Weather Conditions

Valle Nevado receives more snowfall than its neighbour El Colorado. In part this is due to the typical winds that blow the snow onto Valle Nevado.

Like other Chile ski resorts, the quality of the powder can vary significantly. Sometimes the powder is dry and we’ve also experienced powder that was heavy, where super fat skis were required to get adequate momentum on the mellow slopes. The quality of the snow is reasonably well maintained because the slopes are largely south facing, but without any trees for protection, the snow conditions can be at the mercy of the wind, sun and warm temperatures.

Valle Nevado has a much higher number of fine weather days than inclement weather days, so this is the place to score a tan! However when the big storms do roll in, most of the lifts shut down. The resort is only fully closed about 5 days of the season, but on the days when they only run a couple of lifts, it’s probably not worth going out. With no trees and very few other terrain features, visibility can be a major problem at Valle Nevado.

Ski Valle Nevado for the Beginner

Only 10% of the Valle Nevado ski slopes are rated as green, but there is adequate terrain available for beginners. Conveniently adjacent to the hotels is the “Baby” slope for the kids and complete novices (ideal for hotel guests), and at the top of the gondola there are a couple of slopes for ski school and first timers (ideal for day trippers).

From there the progression is a long green run along the vertical of the gondola and Mirador chair lift that can be broken in two parts. This is easily accessed by day trippers, but for hotel guests there’s a difficult green trail that drops from the hotel down to the main part of the ski area.

Valle Nevado Skiing for the Intermediate

Valle Nevado is perfectly suited to intermediate riders; 36% of the trails are officially rated blue (intermediate) but most of the red runs (another 33%) are also appropriate for intermediates. The exception is when a trail isn’t groomed. You’ll have to keep a close look out because the resort doesn’t provide a grooming report.

Terrain Parks & Pipe

Valle Nevado has a little terrain park just below the hotel. For the “big boys” the main terrain park is located next to the Candonga lift, offering hits for intermediate and advanced riders. The terrain park includes jumps, rails, boxes and a quarter pipe.

Advanced Skiing Valle Nevado

The top lifts service piste with a little bit of pitch, although there are only several black (“expert”) runs that are for advanced riders not experts. The black Shake run is sometimes groomed and offers a lot of fun for some speedy turns. The steepest pitch, albeit very short, is to the skiers’ right of the Andes chair but look out for sharp rocks!

The main fun for advanced riders is in the off-piste areas. Great lines can be found off the Andes Express chair lift to the skiers’ right of the Sol Run. In the upper reaches of the resort there are also some great off-piste lines by traversing off the Vals run.

Potential downsides to the advanced terrain is that the upper lifts are closed during storms and afterwards the areas may remain closed until the patrollers get around to opening it……. in Chilean time. And sometimes the off-piste snow conditions are unattractive and there’s not enough on-piste action to entertain experienced riders for long.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Experts will need to be creative to find challenging lines. In-bounds there are a few ridges with short steep pitches or cornices for a bit of fun.

Out of bounds is really where the best expert terrain can be found. There is some great backcountry from the top of the Valle del Inca lift.

There is also great backcountry terrain between Valle Nevado and El Colorado (Santa Teresa or Santa Teresita), with many very gnarly lines down to the Valle Nevado road. There are some unskiable cliffs in this area so an appropriate line needs to be very carefully scoped. As always extreme caution needs to be exercised, but at least this area is somewhat controlled by Valle Nevado for avalanches because a slide would compromise the road. Whether you have your own driver or you're going to hitchhike, you’ll need to be aware of the times when the road is one-way.

There have been recent reports that riding this Santa Teresa (aka Santa Teresita) area is considered illegal and that the police have been stopping people as they approach the road.

The best way to explore this area is with a guide. Base Camp in Farellones can hook you up with a guide and give you the latest on the status of the area. Otherwise you may want to head on a multi-resort ski tour such as the High Andes Adventure that includes backcountry guiding.