Portillo Ski Resort

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Hotel Portillo Chile
Hotel Portillo Chile
Hotel Portillo is rather distinctive
Hotel Portillo is rather distinctive
Hotel Portillo Chile
Hotel Portillo Chile
Sidecountry run at Portillo Ski Resort
Sidecountry run at Portillo Ski Resort
A unique va et vient lift
A unique va et vient lift
Ski Portillo Chile
Ski Portillo Chile
The picturesque Portillo ski school line up
The picturesque Portillo ski school line up
The pool & hot tubs are a social hub of Portillo
The pool & hot tubs are a social hub of Portillo
Tio Bob
Tio Bob's at Ski Portillo
Portillo Chile is very family friendly
Portillo Chile is very family friendly
The ski-in ski-out hotel at Portillo
The ski-in ski-out hotel at Portillo
Ski Portillo Chile
Ski Portillo Chile
Stunning landscapes near the border with Argentina
Stunning landscapes near the border with Argentina
Portillo has plenty of advanced & expert terrain
Portillo has plenty of advanced & expert terrain
Portillo Ski Resort Chile
Portillo Ski Resort Chile
The ski resort sits on the highway between Santiago & Mendoza
The ski resort sits on the highway between Santiago & Mendoza
Stunning Portillo
Stunning Portillo
Portillo snow is rather variable
Portillo snow is rather variable
Hotel Portillo is the main lodging
Hotel Portillo is the main lodging
The lake isn
The lake isn't always frozen in winter

Portillo Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Portillo

Portillo4/512
Portillo4 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
  • Recommend
    92%
  • Would Revisit
    92%

Portillo Ski Resort Chile

The Portillo Ski Resort in Chile is unique, boutique and you stay there for a week. Portillo Chile has a world renowned pedigree and was put on the map in 1966 when it became the first South American resort to host the World Skiing Championships. The notoriety further increased when the 200km per hour speed barrier was broken in 1978 at Portillo, and the ski resort continues to be famous amongst pro skiers who visit Portillo for the amazingly steep slopes.

Warren Miller also raised the profile of Portillo Chile and the bright yellow Hotel Portillo, with one particular movie showing some crazy dudes jumping into the hotel swimming pool. Warren Miller loved Portillo so much that he included it in his list of the top 10 ski resorts in the world. So Portillo Chile must be pretty special!

Pros & Cons of Ski Portillo Chile

Powderhounds.com has provided Portillo ski resort with multiple awards for best South America skiing.

Pros 
  • Portillo Ski Resort has challenging steep slopes and the side-country and backcountry terrain is epic.
  • Stunning views are afforded by the combination of the craggy peaks of the towering Andes Mountains, the emerald waters of Laguna del Inca if it’s not frozen, and the steep snow-covered slopes.
  • With limited on-mountain lodging, it feels like a private club and there is a lack of crowds.
  • Hotel Portillo offers the amazing convenience of being ski-in ski-out.
  • The food is fabulous.
  • The level of service is the best of the Chile ski resorts.
  • Getting there is easy (relative to many other South American ski resorts) due to the proximity to the Santiago airport which receives direct flights from many international cities.
  • It’s a sociable place where it’s easy to meet new ski friends and enjoy the fun nightlife.
  • Portillo Chile is very family friendly, particularly for those that only speak English (and Spanglish!)
Cons
  • Lodging is pretty much limited to 3 options (unless you stay off-mountain) and there is limited flexibility regarding duration and commencement of stay.
  • Intermediate riders may get a sense of déjà vu.
  • As is common with all South American ski resorts, the temps and snow conditions can vary significantly.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • If the resort isn’t spectacular and breathtaking enough for you, you can take it even higher by going heli skiing, however you can’t pre-book it in conjunction with the rest of your Portillo ski vacation, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll get out when snow and weather conditions allow.
  • The names of the St Bernard dogs might change but not much else does and no lift or terrain development has occurred in some time. For many, this sense of tradition is a key part of the Portillo culture.

Portillo Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The treeless Portillo ski terrain is a combination of long groomed runs and big mountain skiing. There are trails for all ability levels, but it caters particularly well to the advanced rider with plenty of steep slopes. In-bounds there are only 500 hectares of terrain, but experts also ski Portillo for the abundance of side-country areas that can be traversed or hiked to. As a result of the traversing and flat spots around the hotel, skiing tends to be more popular than snowboarding.

Some of the expert runs at Portillo ski resort are so steep and avalanche prone that they are serviced by the unique “va et vient” lifts (aka slingshot), which are like 4 to 5 person poma lifts but much more efficient. They also have standard chair lifts and other surface tows.

Portillo Snow

The average annual snowfall at Portillo ski resort is 7.4 metres (about 25 feet). The snow storms are typically short and intense, and are followed by bluebird days when the spectacular vistas can be fully appreciated. As a result of the location and elevation, the quality of the powder is sometimes dry and the riding is unbelievably fantastic. At other times the Portillo snow quality is second-rate, and various runs are either very sloppy or closed.

Where is Portillo?

Portillo Chile sits amidst the high Andes peaks including the nearby Aconcagua, the highest mountain on the continent. It’s really close to the border of Argentina, and 164km (about 100 miles) northeast of Santiago (about 2 hours drive).

From the Santiago airport, shuttles can be organized as part of a Portillo ski package. Alternatively you can rent a car and self-drive. See our travel to Portillo page for more information.

Portillo Lodging

Portillo has the ultimate ski in ski out accommodation at almost 10,000 feet. Lodging is limited to only 450 beds across three standards of Portillo accommodations. This includes shared dorms at the Inca Backpackers lodge, Octagon Lodge shared rooms, or hotel rooms at the Hotel Portillo. Lodging arrangements generally consist of stays from Saturday to Saturday, and are full board which includes four meals a day and lift tickets. Here is some more information on the Portillo ski packages (Portillo ski weeks).

There are a few day trippers who stay in Los Andes, but most visitors make the most of the full Ski Portillo experience.

Ski Resort Facilities

There is no town or village at Portillo. The Portillo ski resort facilities are mainly housed within the hotel and considering it’s a very social atmosphere, the experience has been likened to a cruise ship. Guests eat together in the dining room, and other facilities include a bar, disco, gym, cinema, and the famous outdoor pool and jacuzzis. There are about as many staff as guests, so the service feels very personalized and attentive, particularly in the dining room.

Portillo is very family friendly and in addition to childcare and kids’ ski school (they provide group lessons in English), they run lots of activity programs for the kids.

Culture and Language

Portillo caters incredibly well to the international tourist, and as such it’s very popular with North Americans. Owned by the Purcell family who are originally from New York, the ski runs are even rated according to the US and Canada system, as opposed to other Chile ski resorts that have the European rating system with red runs.

Communication at Portillo is much easier for Anglophones than at the other South America ski resorts. English is spoken very widely amongst the guests and some of the staff speak English. Signage around the resort is in both English and Spanish, and dining menus are also in English and Spanish.

The downside of Portillo being “little North America” is that it loses a little of the real culture of Chile. To make up ground, they ensure that dining hours align with South American culture. For those not used to the tradition of eating late, starting dinner at 9:45pm can take a little getting used to! You might need a siesta and pre-dinner snacks.

Any reduction in Chilean culture is more than made up for with the great service and communication, and the incredibly social culture present in Portillo. This is definitely the place to meet new amigos (and amigas).
Tours That Include Portillo

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

High Andes Adventure
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ROAD TRIP
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Skiing inc 1 Day Cat
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Visit the highest ski resorts in the Andes and experience a day of cat skiing at Valle El Arpa. Situated in the shadow of Aconcagua, the tallest peak outside the Himalayas, these ski and snowboard centers will bring out the big mountain
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy for 2023 season.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,695
View Details
 
Ultimate Andes Adventure
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ROAD TRIP
12 Days | 11 Nights | 8 Days Skiing | Max 8 Guests
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Lift assisted touring extravaganza for advanced to expert skiers & snowboarders to 4 of Chile's best resorts plus a day of cat skiing with El Arpa and then a finale at the huge Las Lenas in Argentina.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
Guaranteed departures; you book, you travel!
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Guaranteed departures; you book, you travel!
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 7,899
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Andes Explorer
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ROAD TRIP
11 Days | 11 Nights | 8 Days Skiing inc 1 Day Cat
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The 11-day Andes Explorer is the ultimate Chile ski and snowboard adventure taking you to all of the best Chile has to offer including Portillo, Ski Arpa Cat Skiing, La Parva, El Colorado, Valle Nevado and a personal favorite Nevados de Chillan.
Price p/p
USD 6,395
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Portillo here

Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area Tours

BC Portillo Week
PORTILLO RESORT & FREERIDE TOUR
7 Nights | 8 Days | 7 Days Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Experience skiing like never before at a world-renowned classic destination. Immerse yourself in the best of the best with top-notch snow quality, daring runs, and stunning panoramic views. And when the day is done, treat yourself to luxury accommodation.
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is USD
Displayed price might vary slightly from actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 5,490
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area tours that visit Portillo here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Central Andes Backcountry Safari
ANDES BACKCOUNTRY FREERIDE TOUR
8 Nights | 9 Days | 7 Days Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This all-inclusive safari takes in some of the most iconic ski/snowboarding lines in the Chilean Andes with destinations including Portillo, La Parva, El Colorado & Cajón del Maipo. Stay in fabulous accommodations with all meals included.
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is USD
Displayed price might vary slightly from actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 4,690
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Santiago Ski Weeks
GUIDED RESORT & BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
7 Days | 6 Nights | 4 Resorts
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Pack in 4 of Chile's best ski resorts in just 1 week! Whilst most of the terrain you will ski/ride is lift-accessed there will be some opportunities for ski touring & boot packing to get to the steep, deep and untracked powder. Join a tour as a solo or small group or create your own custom tour.
Price p/p Price is per person quad-share inc taxes.
base/invoice currency is USD
Displayed prices might vary slightly to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 4,550
View Details
 
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Portillo here

Cat Skiing Tours

Ski Arpa Portillo Express
ARPA CAT SKIING - PORTILLO EXTENSION
1 Night Lodging | 1 Day Cat Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The ultimate way to finish a week at Portillo and maximise your ski time in Chile. Stay an extra night en-route to Santiago Airport and ski 10,000 - 15,000 vertical feet of freshies with Arpa Cat Skiing.
Price p/p From price is per person based on twin/double-share room (group of 2) staying at Inca Hotel. Min 2 guests required to tour to operate.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 720
View Details
 
Portillo & Arpa Cat Skiing
GUIDED TOUR PORTILLO & ARPA
5/6 Nights | 4/5 Days Portillo | 2 days cat skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Get on board for a fabulous week of guided skiing/boarding at the famous Portillo ski resort & throw in a couple of days of cat skiing at Arpa. Package includes lodging, most meals, lift tickets, cat skiing, guiding, transport & more.
Price p/p Price is per person based on 4 participants on 6 day tour
Price current for 2023 season
Base/invoice currency is USD
Displayed prices may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 3,899
View Details
 
See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Portillo here
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