Whos Up for Skiing in the Andes this Summer

When you think of skiing, you're likely to conjure up the white winters of the Swiss Alps, Mont Blanc in France, Vail in the US, or Mount Fuji in Japan.But Latin America has of course the Andes. And Chile is where we'll be skiing this summer. The best news is that, given the tricky economic situation lived in the country, skiers are greeted each year with excellent package deals.Despite being lesser known than those in Europe or North America, Chile has already hosted World Championships, and is also the chosen training ground for some national ski teams, such as the US.

Do you wonder why?.Imagine living in a place where you are greeted each day by the amazing Andean mountains. Of course, Chileans pay a price in exchange for having such a wondrous backdrop ? pollution. Pollution easily gathers above the cities of Chile and given the sheer height of the mountains covering the region, pollution simply stales above with no way of escaping.But a 2-hour drive towards the mountains quickly leaves the grey air behind and we reach the Portillo Hotel. Built in the 1940's on a site known to have been a burial ground used by the Incan people, the luxurious Portillo resort is one of the top ski resorts in Latin America, and given the quality of the slopes, it has been attracting professional skiers and daredevils to the Andes since the late 1800's.

The Andes, which peak at over 7,000m on Mount Aconcagua, are an idyllic destination even for non-skiers. The scenery is breathtaking, the mountain air is refreshing and the people of Chile are hospitable folk happy to help in whichever way they can.The crowds at the Portillo are a mixed bunch from around the world. Many are not even there for the skiing. That's why the Portillo offers a wide array of recreation, at the resort and outside.

On a sunny day, you can take part in guided walks along the trails, stop off for a picnic and return to the resort, get yourself into one of the external heated pools and contemplate the stars. A full week of this and you'll return home feeling refreshed and ready to take on what comes along.For skiers, however, adventure awaits you on the world-class Double Diamond chute known as "The throat". There are easier slopes for beginner skiers or snowboarders and instructors are at hand to give you the basics. If you've skied before and feel a little rusty, a lesson or two on your first day will get you back on track.

It is also important to point out that the Andes can be sneaky terrain and the slopes that are seemingly easy at first sight will put you to the test. So I always recommend even avid skiers to join a class to regain your confidence and relearn the basics ? it is a handy tool to have when traveling at the speed of light towards the window of a restaurant.If you really want to experience life on the edge, heli-skiing is for you. It is not for me or for other light-hearted folk. But world-class skiers visit especially to heli-ski the Andes.

The third day is usually when the pain sinks in. Your tired muscles beg for a break, and on such a day, your best option is to visit the wine region. Chile produces some of the best wines in the world, and a visit to Los Vacos is the ideal escapade where you can taste some local Merlot or Cabernet.A restful stay is assured at The Portillo, not only because there is a "no tv" house- rule but also cater to a maximum of 500 guests at a time.

Kids also have a myriad of activities to choose from and allow parents a smooth, quiet stay.For off-slope activities, local tour operators offer some very interesting activities, such as a visit and lunch with the indigenous Mapuche community, or trips to neighbouring resorts in Chile and in Argentina.The Vale Nevado is only 1.

5 hours away from Santiago and also offers deluxe accommodation in its lively resort and some of the best snowboarding in the region.The Termas, or hostprings, de Chillan are 6 hours away from Santiago. But the reason why so many skiers will do this longer trip is the opportunity the ski the Chillan volcano. The local hotel is also deluxe, offers guests a world-class spa and the crowds are an international bunch. The off-slope activities are also varied enough to make it a good destination for families.

Las Lenas ski resort is probably where you'll find the best deals, and the slopes are some of the most difficult, so you're likely to be rubbing shoulders with experienced skiers and world champions out on some training.Known at the Gran Catedral, Bariloche is located in Argentina and given its unstable weather conditions has some great off-slope activities, such as hiking, sightseeing and a fantastic atmosphere at night.All in all, and regardless of the resort you choose, the Andes are your best bet. Enjoy the high life at any its luxury resorts, experience some incredible skiing, meet people from around the world, sip some of the world's finest wines, and wake up each morning to the fresh Andean air and one the most exquisite vistas in the world.

.Cristina Santos owns The C Channel, a multi-interest website which attracts a globel audience to its travel, weddings and shopping sites. For The C Channel Travel Portal we are building up profiles for destinations around the world, and every day you will find new articles, new photos and new destinations to dig into.

Visit us at http://www.the-c-channel.com.

By: Cristina Santos

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