Last January TotalAdventure flew across the Pacific from Portland,Oregon to Tokyo. TotalAdventure had only 8 days in Japan, so we decided to split it between Tokyo, one of the most urban places on Earth, and Hokkaido, one of the widest ,snowiest islands on Earth.
We Only Had Four Days, So We Stuck To The Sapporo Region. At Two Million People,Sapporo Is One Of Japan’s Smallest Cities.
Shinto Temples Abound Everywhere.
Year Round Outdoor Cafe. Coffee Is Overtaking Tea In Japan.
A Woodcut of Otaru Port In The 1600s.
Winter Festival In Sapporo. TotalAdventure Watched The Sculpting.
Global Warming Is Not Yet Affecting Hokkaido. When It Does, More Snow Will Fall.
After a long and productive week at the Adventure Travel World Summit, where TotalAdventure met with hundreds of Adventure Travel companies who will be part of the TotalAdventure community, we headed back north to the sunny springtime of Santiago.
The next morning my host and I headed one hour from Los Condes to the top of El Colorado. October 12 was supposed to the the last day of a long season -El Niño has dropped many meters over the winter – but even more heavy snow later that week kept the mountain open to November 1 – the equivalent of May 1 in the Northern Hemisphere.
Afterwards we headed back down to Santiago so that I could catch my evening flight to Buenos Aires. The snow is only at the highest elevations.
THe temperature was nearly 70 degrees ( 21 C ) just one hour below in the Valley. For TotalAdventure packages in Chile – CLICK HERE !
ArcticTropic flies by Cerro Aconcagua, 22841 ft , 6962m, the highest mountain in the Western HemisphereLast Friday,February 3, ArcticTropic was returning to Chile after business meetings in Argentina. The Mendoza to Santiago flight was on a midsummer’s day. One can see the Argentina – Chile border post on the highway below, then Portillo Ski area in Chile, beside the bright blue Lago de Las Incas.
Valarie D’Elia – the Travel Reporter for NY 1 – New York City’s 24/7 All News Station is airing a summer travel feature – “ Warm Up To Cool Ideas For Extreme Temperature Travel ” Along with great clips from Havana, Iceland and New York State is footage shot by ArcticTropic while skiing at Portillo,Chile last August. Portillo is the premier ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere – now enjoying 27 inches of fresh powder that fell over the weekend. Be sure also to check out Valarie’s site – Travel With Val – for the best travel deals all over the world.
Portillo is soon to wind down the Winter 2010 Season. Arctic Tropic’s recent trip there, 3 weeks ago, was nothing short of amazing!
LAN 501 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.
Next Monday night, August 30th, ArcticTropic will board a LAN Airlines flight from Miami to Santiago.The flight will transition from a hot steamy night at MIA to a sparkling winter morning in SCL, 8 hours later. After clearing customs, we’ll board a van to Portillo, Ski Capital of South America !
LAN has brand new planes, comfortable seats, multiple entertainment choices and complimentary cocktails.
From New York or Miami – one can board a night flight and be on the slopes by lunchtime the next day.
This week the forecast calls for optimum late winter conditions – bright sunshine,mild temperatures ( though very cold at night ) and packed powder snow. ArcticTropic will have periodic updates before next week’s departure.