[Sponsored by Valle Nevado]
Are you the adventurous type looking for an unforgettable summer experience? Look no further than heli-skiing at Valle Nevado, Chile. As the snow begins to melt in the Northern Hemisphere, chair lifts stop spinning, and the temperatures skyrocket, one thing is certain. Snow is beginning to fly in the Southern Hemisphere and especially on the Andes Mountains. There are very few ski helicopter operations in the Andes and Valle Nevado is their premier place to go if you like to ski big terrain with fantastic snow. Not only are the runs in Chile insanely long, but the terrain options have expanded so there is something for every hardcore skier out there. The terrain is truly unlike any in the world and being able to access via helicopter makes for a truly unique experience.
Most people would argue that Valle Nevado has the best heli-skiing operation in South America. Within viewing distance of Santiago, Valle Nevado is incredibly close to the major metropolitan area which makes for ultimate convenience, but it is the vast amount of terrain — 300 square miles and counting — directly accessible from a world-class resort that makes the operation stand out from the pack. And, the insanely long runs (see below). In fact, the heli-ski operation at Valle Nevado has exploded over the last year, growing by 30% from the previous year. Valle Nevado already has 2,200 acres of skiing, but if you are an international visitor the resort offers weeklong guests two interconnect tickets to neighboring resorts El Colorado and La Parva. Combined, this totals around 7,000 skiable acres.
Think this adventure will break the bank? Think again. Let’s be honest… Doing anything via a helicopter is going to be expensive and is a known known. However, compared to other operations in the United States (Alaska especially) or Canada, it is truly unbelievable how competitively priced Valle Nevado heli-skiing is. Based on a group of four, a half day is $1,100 per person and for a full day, it is $1,450 per person. Most other ops are right near the $2,000 mark or even higher. Also, in the event of poor weather, they will reschedule and if that is not possible, they will refund you in full. If you are staying at the hotel, you can book a la carte. Check it out for yourself.
What’s even better is Valle Nevado is now apart of the Ikon Pass. So if you are looking to utilize your Ikon Pass even more, you should certainly take a look at skiing Valle Nevado.
Not confident that you will get your money’s worth? Valle Nevado heli-ski runs that are longer than Alaska. Just so everyone is aware and for those who slept through geography in school… we are talking about the Andes here. The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and have peaks well above 20,000 feet (~6,000m). Only second to the Himalayas, the Andes have some of the highest peaks in the world. The heli runs are long, seriously longer than you can imagine. They can range between 4,000ft (~1,200m) and 6,000ft (~1,800m) in vertical. Best time to go is in August. July can be good, but there is a lighter base (remember, skis are tools, not jewels!).
Short on time? Just visiting Santiago and want to go ski? No worries! When you are on one of the peaks surrounding Valle Nevado, you can see the major city and capital, Santiago. It can be expensive, but if you are in a rush or have an urgent desire to hit the slopes you can ship your luggage from Santiago to Valle Nevado and take a helicopter from the city. The helicopter departs from the Titanium Building or the Tobalaba Aerodrome in Santiago and flies directly to the resort.
Still not fired up? Check out what Black Diamond and Valle Nevado Heli Guide Mike Barney put together showcasing heli-skiing at Valle Nevado:
Heli-skiing not your thing, but you still want to go ski some sweet, sweet lines around Valle Nevado? Valle Nevado obviously has an incredible heli program, powder skiing at the resort, but what isn’t that well known is the fantastic backcountry skiing around the resort. You can hire a guide at the resort and go ski some jaw-dropping lines using only your legs. Leave the resort and drop down the plunging valley and then start climbing some serious terrain with stunning views. Sign me up!
Bottom line, Valle Nevado has a heli operation that services serious skiers to stunning terrain. With runs longer than Alaska and at a competitive price, this is a summer activity that should not be passed up.