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Starting at the edge of the Languna Del Inca, skiers take the El Plateau chair lift up to Portillo's on-mountain restaurant, Tio Bob's. As you'll see in the photo essay below, it's one of the most scenic lunch and apres ski spots in South America, if not the world, thanks to its location amongst the jagged peaks. Next week, we'll break down Portillo and how the ski area compares to the nearby competition. For now, enjoy the dramatic views of the Andes Mountains:
Travel Snapshot / Wish You Were Here / Portillo Travel / Chile Travel / Ski Travel / Adventure Travel / → All Tags
It might still be sweltering in many parts of the States, but it's wintertime here in Chile.
This week, we're getting an early start on the traditional North American ski season in Portillo, located in the Andes about two and half hours from Santiago. It's where many Olympians and celebrity skiers come to train during the "offseason." We're here to soak all that in, as well as investigate how Portillo differs from Santiago's other ski region, Valle Nevado.
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Then, as the snow melted in April, we explained why ski towns are also awesome during the summer months. Practicing what we preach, we paid a visit to Steamboat at the end of July for some mountain biking, and the result was an cool contrast that demonstrates why the mountains rock all year round. Skiing dominates the winter, but there's actually more to do in the summer, including biking, camping, hiking, climbing, and whitewater rafting.
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Summer in Colorado
Ski areas are closing down across North America, and for skiers and snowboarders, there is definitely a disappointment that comes along with rising temperatures and melting snow. But ask anyone who calls a ski area home their thoughts on the impending summer season, and you realize that the bittersweet emotions also include feelings of not only optimism, but excitement.
We've had many conversations with employees of ski resorts over our years of covering them, and the most common refrain is how they moved out x number of years ago for one season and haven't looked back since. Most surprising, though, is that although their original motive for moving was the winter ski season, the summer is what has convinced them to stick around.
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If you've never been, it'd be easy to take Lake Tahoe for granted as a skier, especially the past two years where the winter has been mild and significant snow dumps have eluded the region. We understand why that would make one hesitant in terms of booking a trip, but as we learned earlier this month, a lack of snow can't cover up the sheer beauty of North America's largest alpine lake.
There are over a dozen ski areas in Tahoe, and many of them offer views of the lake. Squaw Valley and Kirkwood get a lot of attention, yet some of the best vantage points are found from the hills that hover closer to the shoreline. We recommend visiting several mountains next year to check out the different terrain, but be sure to hit at least one of these to experience the full effect of the lake:
If you drink enough cheap beer, you are probably hip to the fact that Coors Light uses a mountain range not only as the background to its logo, but as an indicator of when your beer is cold enough to drink. When the mountains turn blue, the party begins.
Well, here's one for the next round of bar trivia: Those mountains actually exist, the design based off of Wilson Peak in the San Juan Mountains 11 miles west of Telluride, Colorado. Long before it became iconic with Coors, the range has been a scenic staple for those skiing Telluride Mountain.
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If you're driving south along the western side of the lake, Emerald Bay, shown in the photo above, is the gateway to the town of South Lake Tahoe. That's a big thing to remember right there, the fact that we refer to South Lake as an actual town, compact and comprised of hotels, restaurants, casinos, and Heavenly Mountain. You can see its size on the map below, marked off in yellow - the only of its kind in the region.
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Skiing is one of the most expensive hobbies you can get into, but thanks to one of those made up national holidays, "Play Hooky and Ski Week," you can get great deals on lift tickets across the country this March.
The website to find them on is called Liftopia, and it's pretty straightforward. It's a discount "lift ticket deal engine" that partners with over 250 resorts across the U.S. and Canada. In this case, it has a special site set up for "Hooky Week" from March 3rd to 7th, and there are some great opportunities on single and multi-day passes, with the typical savings in the 30-40% range.
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Utah Claims to Have the Greatest Snow on Earth, But How Does Steamboat's 'Champagne Powder' Compare?
We told you about the sexy, clothing-optional Strawberry hot springs and showed you photos of a pretty amazing ski day, but now it's time to get a little nerdy. For years, Utah has claimed to have "the greatest snow on earth" with its classic trademark, but Steamboat Springs and its "Champagne Powder" might have something to say about that.
We'll save you the science lesson, but what it all boils down to is the amount of water in the snow. A study conducted by the University of Utah concluded that while other areas may get similar snow fall, it is the low water content of Utah's powder (along with smart marketing) that gives it its worldwide reputation.
Those crazy Coloradans are up to it again!
We gave you the scoop on how to buy pot legally in Colorado, and although smoking marijuana isn't technically allowed on the slopes, you can now showcase your bro-tastic apres habit thanks to the new "Juicy Fruit" design from Folsom Custom Skis out of Denver.
Over a foot of new snowfall dropped on Steamboat Springs prior to Super Bowl weekend, setting up deep runs through its infamous trees on Saturday. The locals refer to the area's snow as "Champagne Powder" (which we'll tell you about later), but it was when the storm passed that things got epic.
Every skier/boarder loves a good snowfall, but one thing that gets sacrificed on the account of a storm is the views and scenery on the mountain. When we woke up on Sunday morning, the clouds had cleared to reveal what is known as a "blue-bird sky" in ski lingo, providing a striking contrast with the white of the snow that had caked on to the Aspen and pine trees. Because the Broncos had yet to embarrass themselves, hope was indeed heavy in the thin Rocky Mountain air.
As we begin February and settle in for the last home stretch of winter, we thought a glimpse of how beautiful it can be would do you well.
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Taking a soak in a hot tub after a day on the slopes is a classic apres-ski activity, and while the modern whirlpool at the hotel will do the trick, many Colorado towns offer the option of going all natural in a mountain hot spring.
Now, to be fair, this is a double-edged sword. The hot springs are "natural," meaning that the heated water is coming from the ground, but the infrastructure is man-made, added to make it more accessible, such as handrails, stairs, concrete walkways, etc. This creates a fusion that lands somewhere between mountain and modern, and sometimes it works out better than others in terms of the atmosphere it creates. Some seem really phony (cough, Glenwood Hot Springs, cough), and others, like Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat, are really well done.