Guide to Chile: Chillan Ski Resort
Chillan is a great looking resort on the slopes of a volcano in the Lake District, with the Andes as a backdrop some 400km south of Santiago.
The ski resort and hot springs are surrounded by forests so you have the only tree runs in Chile as well as some fantastic terrain above the tree line.
Wide slopes, great off-piste, and South America?s longest (and slowest?) chair lift as well as enough variety to satisfy any group of skiers or boarders.
The slopes at Chillan are generally considered to be amongst the best in the southern hemisphere. Amongst the pistes is ""Las tres marias"", at 13km this is the longest groomed run in Chile.
Chillan has one of the largest piste networks in Chile and is the only one with runs below the tree line.
Having said this, the more challenging slopes for advanced skiers are all on the higher mountain. The top lifts are surface lifts, so they are better able to operate even in bad weather.
That is assuming that the weather isn't bad enough to have closed the lower lifts which get you up there.
Off piste boarding terrain is excellent - deep powder, highly accessible and you don't have to share it with anyone!
Slopes and lifts
Slopes: 28 slopes for all skill levelsLifts: 9 ski liftsMax altitude: 2,700mSnow: Powder (slightly wetter generally than the dry snow near Santiago)Season: June to SeptemberServices: Heli-skiing, husky sledding, cross country skiing and snow mobiles.
There are two hotels and some apartments at the foot of the slopes. Of these, it is the five star, Gran Termas hotel which is the best of the bunch.
A little further down the hill, 7km away, is the three star Hotel Piramihuida which is very good though.
There are other hotels not linked to the resort at Chillan, i.e. lift passes will not be included, but can be very good.
The Mission Impossible Lodge in Las Trancas comes highly recommended if you are looking for a younger, fairly lively environment.
The Cabanas los Andes are a great option if you are travelling as a group of four or more and want to enjoy the flexibility of your own vehicle.
Pura Aventura can help tailor make your ski holiday to Chillan using any of the above lodgings.
If you are staying up at the slopes in the Gran Termas hotel then you have the wonderful hot pools on your doorstep. There is also a very good spa facility to take away the cares of the world.
There is also the 'clubhouse' which is a bar and live music venue open each night. It's fun, nothing crazy at all but it's all you have so enjoy it.
There is also a casino on site if you fancy losing your shirt.
If you are staying down the hill at the Piramihuida you have the bar of the hotel or a couple of bars nearby, again no nightlife to speak of.
Staying in Las Trancas itself, you have a little more variety of bars, restaurants and even a nightclub. It's still a small village so do not come here expecting to be clubbing all night long!
A recently completed rail connection with Santiago means that getting here is easier than ever. Trains are modern, comfortable and reliable.
From the train station in Chillan (town) it is a 77km drive up to the slopes, just over an hour.
Alternatively, fly to Concepcion from where it is a two to three hour transfer up to the resort at Chillan.