Portillo is soon to wind down the Winter 2010 Season. Arctic Tropic’s recent trip there, 3 weeks ago, was nothing short of amazing!
from MIA to SCL was a comfortable 8-hour flight. After exiting customs, a driver from Portillo met us and took our luggage. Two hours later, after a 10,000 foot climb up the Andes, we arrived at the Hotel Portillo. One hour later, we were on the slopes.
Portillo is almost like a private resort. The hotel usually has about 400 guests. Since there is no other accommodation in the area it seems there are never more than 200 or 300 people on the entire mountain at any given time. On weekends, perhaps 100 more skiers arrive from Santiago for the day. The longest line we ever encountered was a group of 5 people. It is very common to be able to ski or snowboard down the mountains by oneself.
Juncalillo Run – 10 AM.
Va I Venti lifts are unique to Portillo and get expert skiers up the mountain in minutes.
Skiing down El Plateau.
Lunch at Tio’s Bob’s !
ArcticTropic was part of a press group and we had the opportunity to sit down with the owner, Henry Purcell at teatime one day. The Purcell family, originally from the United States, has owned the hotel and resort for over 50 years. A very interesting history can be read HERE
Après – ski is relaxing and very social. First, a bone –warming soak in the outdoor pools and hot tubs heated to 38 C.
Dinner, like all meals, is included in the one-week package, along with accommodation and lift tickets. There is no need to carry cash. One simply gives their room number if asked, or signs for extras, such as drinks.
Many of the staff have worked at Portillo for 20 to 30 years and greet their guests by name when they return each season.
After dinner a lively crowd gathers at the bar, with different bands every night. For the late night crowd, there is a disco that opens at Midnight. Roaring fireplaces keep all the public rooms warm.
At night the hotel almost has the feeling of a ship, -far away from civilization under the bright cold Andean sky full of the Southern Stars.
ArcticTropic will have regular updates from Portillo during the off-season and lots of news before next season’s opening in June ,2011. Updates are always available on the Portillo Website