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Could you send me brochures, pricing information, etc.?

No, I do not send this type of information. To receive resort brochures, prices, etc., contact the resort(s) directly. Contact information is included in the individual resort pages. Telephoning is the best way to get information quickly. English may or may not be spoken. If you do not speak Spanish, find somebody who does. Faxes and letters will probably be answered. Writing in English should not be a problem. A few resorts have email (addresses are in the individual resort pages) that is theoretically checked regularly.

Could you tell me where to find snow reports?

Check the AndesWeb Snow Report Page.

When is the best time to go?

Sometimes snow falls heavily in May and June. If the snow is good, you'll have excellent skiing and riding, few crowds and lower prices. Snow is usually good in July, but South Americans have Winter vacation during this month. Resorts become more crowded, and prices are at their highest. August is usually the month with the best snow and weather. It is also less crowded than July. September usually has good snow, but conditions are sometimes spring like. Crowds are usually small. October is a good month for Spring skiing and riding. During an average snow year, the biggest resorts are still in full operation at the beginning of October.

Can you stay in Santiago and drive the the Three Valleys Areas? Is it safe to drive? Could you recomend any car rental agency?  Is it similar to Salt Lake City and the Canyon areas?

Instead of renting a car, I would recommend using one of the van services (see Travelling within Chile page). Some operators will pick you up at your hotel. The ride to the mountain costs around $10-15 round trip.

When the roads are clear, it takes about an hour to get the ski areas from the city. The road to the Three Valleys areas, while paved, is not like the access roads at U.S. areas. The road is very steep, has several hair-pin turns, is narrow, and in spots has no guard rails. When it snows, it is mandatory to use chains. Most international car rental agencies serve Chile. Consult a guidebook for more information. I think you would probably avoid a lot of potential hassles by using the van service, and you may save some money.

Is Santiago safe? Is Chile safe? Is Argentina safe?

Chile and Argentina are democracies and are among the safest countries of the hemisphere. Watch out, though, for the notoriously bad drivers. Santiago is at least as safe as an average big city in the U.S. Nevertheless always use common sense and be cautious.

Could you recommend a place to stay?

The guidebooks are your best source for this type of information. Check out the guidebook page. Take a look at the official resort home pages (listed within the AndesWeb resort pages).

What about tours?

Again, take a look at the tours.

Are snowboarding, telemarking, monoskiing and skiboarding allowed?

Yes. A large number of foreign and Chilean snowboarders ride Chilean slopes. Some resorts do not allow snowboarders on surface lifts on crowded days. As far as I know, 100% of Chilean terrain is open to riders. Telemarking is allowed, but it is not widely practiced. Monoskiers and skiboarders are a more common sight than in North America.

Will I be able to rent equipment?

Yes. Skis, boots, poles are available on mountain. Equipment for all ability levels and snowboard equipment is available at all but the smallest areas. Prices are comparable to those in the U.S. Equipment can be rented more cheaply in Santiago.

What are prices like?

Lift tickets, lessons, food, etc. cost about the same as you would expect to pay in the U.S. The bigger the area, generally the more expensive the prices.

What are options for those on tight budgets?

No on mountain accommodations fall into the low budget category. However, most resorts are near cities or villages that have inexpensive places to stay. Many comfortable rooms cost as little as $10 a night. Consult one of the many guidebooks for more information. You, or a travel companion, should be able to speak Spanish (or be willing to try), if you do not plan on staying on the mountain at one of the destination resorts. The Three Valley Areas (Valle Nevado, El Colorado and La Parva) are all within a short distance of Santiago. Convenient inexpensive shuttle service serves the three resorts. Villarrica-Pucon is a short distance from the village of Pucon where many low cost rooms and shuttle services await the budget traveller. Frequent, comfortable and inexpensive busses connect Pucon to Santiago. Chapa Verde is another good budget option. Shuttles connect the ski area to the city of Rancagua, a 2 hour bus ride from Santiago. The villages of Las Trancas and Los Lleunques and their many budget rooms are a short distance from Termas de Chillan. Shuttle service is often available to the mountain from these villages. Los Andes is the closest city to Portillo. However, the most convenient and frequent shuttle service to Portillo is from Santiago (2.5 hours), and the trip is moderately expensive.

In Argentina, the city of Bariloche has many inexpensive places in which to stay. Consult a guidebook for more information. Low cost municipal bus service connects the city to the ski area.

Resorts often discount lift tickets toward the end of the ski season (September and early October).

What is the terrain like?

The biggest resorts have terrain for all ability levels. Experts, intermediates, and beginners should be able to spend a week on mountain without becoming bored with the terrain.

What is the weather like?

In Central Chile the weather is similar to Lake Tahoe. Sunny skies and temperatures in the 30's and 40's F are the norm for 70% of the winter. When it snows, storms generally last from 1 to 3 days. Because elevations are high, snow is usually dry. Lift operations are often limited during storms. In Southern Chile precipitation falls more often, and snow is generally heavier. Argentina is similar, but, being on the Eastern side of the Cordillera, sometimes receives less snow than Chile.

Can I get by with only English?

It depends on the resort you visit. If you travel to Portillo, you will have no problems. At Three Valleys resorts, Spanish is useful, but 80% of the time you should be able to get by with English. At other resorts you should expect to use Spanish to communicate. Broken, phrase-book Spanish usually will do the trick. Chileans are friendly and will often go out of their way to understand you.

I am desperately looking for a job at any ski resort in Chile or Argentina this summer... I could work as either a lift worker, ski instructor, or any other possible position.

I wish I could give your some encouragement, but lift workers, waiters, snowshovelers, etc., are all jobs done proudly by Chileans and Argentines. And our Latin neighbors work for wages that most North Americans and Europeans would find unacceptably low. If you are an instructor with special skills, and speak Spanish, there may be a chance of getting a job. Chilean and Argentine instructors earn comparable wages to their North American and European counterparts. An instructor certification certificate from an appropriate internationally recognized organization, such as Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), is normally required. Full certification (Level 3 or higher) is most desirable. If your home ski school is willing to hire South American certified instructors, your chances of landing a ski school job are much higher. Certified ski patrollers may also be able to find work. While you may have a small chance of prearranging a job by telephone, fax, email  and/or mail, travelling to Chile or Argentina at the end of the ski season (in September or early October) and meeting personally with the appropriate managers and/or supervisors to try to arrange a job for the following season is the most likely way to get a job. This seems complicated and expensive (and it is complicated and expensive.). Sometimes, if the early season snow is good, if business looks strong, and if the ski school director is feeling generous, it may be possible to arrange a job at the beginning of the season (in May or June). This is especially true at the small and medium size areas (where wages are significantly lower).

Another possibility is teaching English. Chilean language schools are increasingly looking for native English speakers to teach classes. Schools generally look for a long term time committment (do not plan on staying for a month and then moving on.). A college degree also helps. Pay varies but should be enough to cover living expenses. Check El Mercurio classifieds for job listings. The most likely way to get a teaching job is to meet personally with the language school directors/managers.

Do you have names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc. of appropriate supervisors and managers I should contact to find work?

No, your best bet is to contact the ski areas directly (contact information is in the individual resort pages) to find out whom you should speak to. Telephoning is the best way to get information quickly. If you do not speak Spanish, find somebody who does. Faxes and letters will probably be answered. Writing in English should not be a problem. A few resorts have email (addresses are in the individual resort pages) that is theoretically checked regularly.


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the many discussions on skiing, riding and other fun stuff! For employment information go to the F.A.Q. page.
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