How to and where to ski close to Santiago (and also how much to pay)

The mountains are always present in Santiago’s everyday life: it can be seen from every corner of the city and it reminds us whether it is winter or summer, depending on the amount of snow covering it. Also, Santiago is one of the few capital cities with several ski centers so close: Farellones, El Colorado, La Parva, Valle Nevado and Portillo are only one or two hours by car from the city.

So if you come to Chile during Winter and want to take advantage of the snow season, schedule your trip between late June and late September, since season dates change according to the weather.

First thing to keep in mind is that in order to reach the snowy hills from Santiago, there is no public transport options, so depending on whether or not you are a ski fan, you have several options to get to know the mountain. Here we offer a guide on the services you can choose and companies that offer them. Just take note that we have no ties with any of them (it’s just we are very nice and want to make the search easier), so always ask about the conditions.

Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado (Photo by Prisca Llagostera on SkiEurope.com)

Day tour, just to know the surroundings

Taking a tour is a good option if you don’t know how to ski or just don’t want to, but do want to know the ski resorts and the snow. This kind of tour usually picks you up from your hotel, along with other people, makes a few stops to take pictures and then takes you to one of the ski centers, where you have time to get to walk around, play with snow, take a funicular ride or have fun with a sledge. Almost all of the options include a tour of Farellones, a small mountain town in Lo Barnechea district, and the gateway to the winter resorts. Some of the companies that provide this kind of service are RutasChile, ChileanSki, Get your guide, among many others. Prices go from 40 to 60 dollars per person.

Day tour, to ski

This kind of tour is for people who want to go to the mountains and spend the day skiing or snowboarding. Those who are planning a round trip (with a guide), the price is USD 90 per person. If you want to buy a package including the ticket to access the ski tracks, necessary equipment and lessons, the price goes between 180 and 230 dollars, depending on where you want to ski. Some of the companies that offer this kind of service are ChileanSki, Get your guide, SkiTour, etc.

Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado (Photo by VisitChile.com)

To go on your own

If you do not want to rent a car, SkiTotal has a regular bus service that leaves from Omnium Shopping Center (on Apoquindo avenue) and takes you to Valle Nevado, El Colorado, Farellones and La Parva everyday of the ski season; it goes to Portillo Ski Center every Wednesday and Saturday of the season. The bus goes up and returns by the end of the day and as it is the cheapest option. It fills up fast, so you should arrive early to take it (8 a.m.). Prices start at USD 27 per person, round trip, depending on which ski center you want to go to.

Additionally, for some time Uber has offered UberSki in its app, offering you to hire trips to Valle Nevado and El Colorado. It costs USD 130 approx. round trip, and can fit up to 4 people.

Other option to go at your own pace is to rent a car. The prices are between 50 and 300 dollars per day, depending on the company and make of the car. Remember that it’s not easy to drive on the mountain, as the road is very winding, slippery and even dangerous. Because of that, to use chains on the wheels is mandatory, so you will have to request it as an extra service at the rent a car.

Whichever option you choose, always find out if they include the prices of ski tickets, equipment, lunch, etc. because all that could make your trip quite expensive. Now we’ll give you some information about the centers and the reference prices of their services if you go on your own.

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Farellones

Farellones (Photo by Bailey Hall on Unsplash)

Farellones

Besides being a mountain town with houses, a small hospital and even a school, Farellones ski center is the closest to Santiago (only 36 kilometers) and also the cheapest one. It not only has 11 ski tracks, but also a snow amusement park, with games such as canopy, tubing, sleigh, magic carpets and fatbikes. This is why, unlike other ski centers, you pay USD 42 to enter, instead of a daily pass. With the entry ticket you can do all the non ski activities, as many times as you want. If you also want to ski or snowboard, you pay an extra USD 17 for your lift ticket.

Full equipment rental for adults: USD 25
1 Group lesson for beginners (2 hours approx.) + Equipment rental: USD 54
Entry + Classes + Equipment rental: USD 60

El Colorado

It is located 40 kilometers from Santiago (one hour by car) and is easily accessed by following the road to Farellones: after the town, take the road to Los Cóndores and in a few kilometers you will have arrived. This center is special for families, because more than half of its 100 tracks are for beginners, so it is a good place for a first experience.

Daily ticket for skiing in high season:
USD 76
Full equipment rental for adults: Between 41 and 52 dollars
1 Group lesson for beginners (2 hours approx.): USD 61

La Parva

This ski center is very close to El Colorado, also following the road to Los Cóndores, after Farellones. La Parva, more than a ski center, is another mountain town, one of the most exclusive in Chile. Its 40 tracks are quite demanding and 70% are reserved for experts.

Daily ticket for skiing in high season: USD 73
Full equipment rental for adults: USD 46
1 Group lesson for beginners: (2 hours approx.): USD 58
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Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado (Photo by Team Airkeep)

Valle Nevado

It is located about 46 kilometers from Santiago and to get there by car you have to follow the road to Farellones and once in the town, take the detour to Valle Nevado and drive no more than 15 extra minutes. It’s the favorite center of professional skiers and the largest one in South America. It has more than 40 tracks, with levels ranging from beginner to expert. If you want more than just skiing or snowboarding, you can even practice heliski.

Daily ticket for skiing in high season: USD 76
Full equipment rental for adults: USD 46
1 Group lesson for beginners: (2 hours approx.): USD
66

Valle Nevado

Valle Nevado (Photo by Team Airkeep)

Portillo

This ski center is the oldest one in South America, it exists since 1909. It has 35 tracks, mostly for intermediate skiers. It is 165 kilometers from Santiago (two hours by car), so it is ideal to stay for several days. It is located on the road that connects Chile with Mendoza, Argentina, so you must follow the road to Paso Los Libertadores in order to get there.

Daily ticket for skiing in high season: USD 71
Full equipment rental for adults: USD 46
1 Group lesson for beginners: USD 46

Going to the mountain is an excellent idea if you have a day off in Santiago. If you are just on a short term visit, remember that you can leave your bags with one of our Keepairs and enjoy mountain without excess baggage. If one day is not enough for you, all centers have accommodation available, either within the complex or in its surroundings. Enjoy the experience and have a good trip
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