Start ski mountaineering in Chile.
The wide, steep slopes of the Chilean volcanoes will give our teams over 5000’ of descent as they soak in the panoramic, postcard-worthy views. These slopes provide a blank canvas for our teams to carve out some of the best runs of their lives. Aside from skiing, Chile’s unique culture and landscape create opportunities for lifelong memories. Imagine volcano corn skiing, natural volcanic mineral hot springs, and farm-fresh Chilean food to finish the day. Chile provides the perfect location to apply your skillset to new places while being lead by our certified guides.
Chile Backcountry Ski Expedition Itinerary
- Day 1
Arrival into Chile
Welcome to Temuco, Chile, the largest city in Chile’s “Lake District”. After you arrive in the early afternoon and meet the team, you’ll board our vehicle and travel through lush farmland and dense forest in search of snow-capped volcanoes. The 2-hr drive brings you to our new home, the Canon del Blanco Lodge. From here, you’re perfectly situated for the next two days of skiing and riding.
- Day 2
Climb and Ski Lonquimay Volcano
After breakfast at Canon del Blanco Lodge, you’ll load up for a 1hr drive to the base of Volcan Lonquimay. Your first tour of the trip brings you high above the town of Malalcahuello and the ski resorts located at the base of Lonquimay. In perfect conditions, you’ll be able to skin to the top, but everyone will have an ice axe, ski crampons and boot crampons in case we encounter firm snow. A quick ride up the lift will shorten our tour. At the top, you’ll be standing above more than 4,000’ of perfect spring snow that leads back to the car.
- Day 3
Climb and Ski Llaima Volcano
Across the valley from Lonquimay you’ll see Volcan Llaima, your second objective of the trip. After an early rise and breakfast, you’ll hop in the car for another 1hr drive to the base of the volcano. While your legs will feel heavy to start, this feeling will quickly dissipate as the sun begins to rise, and you find yourself climbing another perfect slope. Llaima is a bit steeper than Lonquimay, and it’s crater rim is covered in ultra- sharp lava rock formed during an eruption in 2009. After you descend more than 5,000’ back to the base, you’ll be racing for the hot springs at Canon del Blanco Lodge.
- Day 4
Rest day in Pucón
With nearly 10,000’ under your belt, today’s leisurely pace will be welcomed. After you rise for a late breakfast at Canon del Blanco Lodge, the team will drive to Pucon, a small mountain town near the base of Volcan Villarica. Known for its outdoor activities, Pucon is home to many hot springs and blends lazy afternoons with a vibrant and social scene in the evening. An afternoon soak and dinner in town will prepare you for tomorrow’s tour on Volcan Villarica.
- Day 5
Climb and Ski Villarica
One of the most active volcanoes in Chile, Villarica is the prize of Pucon. A 45 minute drive will bring you to the start of your climb. A bit steeper than the previous two, you’ll start your ascent on skins, but will switch to crampons as you near the top. The strong smell of sulfur will let you know you’ve made it, and you’ll quickly switch to skis and boards before your third perfect spring run of the trip. Back in Pucon, you’ll have the afternoon to explore before another night in town.
- Day 6
Rest day in Puerto Varas
After a leisurely breakfast in Pucon, you’ll continue to travel south through the Lake District to the town of Puerto Varas. Located along the shores of Lago Llanquihue, Puerto Varas is a little town with wide streets and grassy lawns. The last objective, Volcan Osorno, stands proudly just across the lake to the east.
- Day 7
Today we will decide to continue our recovery as a rest day/weather day, go climb & ski Casa Blanca, or hit the Hot Springs!
- Day 8
Climb and Ski Osorno Volcano
Your last tour of the trip is arguably the best. Right on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, Volcan Osorno is the prize. After an hour drive to the base, and 4-5hr ascent, you’ll have earned every bit of glory you’re about to experience. This last descent back to the car marks the completion of your adventure, and it’s time to celebrate. You’ll head back to Puerto Varas for a grand goodbye dinner.
- Day 9
Drive to Puerto Montt and Depart
Depart from Puerto Montt.
Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim – the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding.
Recommended: Alpenglow Hat
A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet.
Recommended: Black Diamond Levels Beanie
Neck Gaiter (Buff)
A multi-purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy.
Recommended: Alpenglow Buff
We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours.
Recommended: Black Diamond Coefficient LT Balaclava
Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies).
Recommended: Vaurnet Ice Rounds
These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired.
Recommended: Vuarnet Everest Goggles
A ski specific helmet that is less than 10 years old.
Recommended: Scott Track Plus Helmet
These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation.
Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight Wooltech Gloves
All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.
Recommended: Black Diamond Tour Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be the workhorse glove for any expedition.
Recommend: Black Diamond Mission MX Gloves
A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON
Recommended: Ice Breaker Merino Liner
Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in-town. It’s good to bring several pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Hiking Sock
Ski socks will keep your feet warm and dry during long tours in the mountains.
These light to mid-weight shoes are for everyday use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow.
Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide
Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light-colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Hard Shell Jacket
Mid-Weight Puffy Jacket
Skis w/ Touring Bindings
A lightweight touring ski with touring bindings. Our guides suggest something between 95mm and 110mm underfoot. Keep in mind that extremely lightweight boards are great on the uphill, but can prove challenging in variable conditions.
Recommended Skis: Black Diamond Helio Carbon 95 Skis
Recommended Bindings: Black Diamond ATK Crest 10 Bindings
Ski Touring Boots
These need to be a touring specific boot with walk mode, and a rubber sole. Typically sized a bit larger than your regular alpine boot, and light weight is a huge plus. Be sure to try many pairs on to find the right fit; it can make or break a day in the mountains!
While ski crampons are strongly recommended on our domestic backcountry ski programs, they are required on all of our International Ski Expeditions. These are typically used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer.
Recommended: Black Diamond ATK Ski Crampons
A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions.
Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard
The same boots you wear at the resort are great for your splitboard. Be sure they’re comfortable, backcountry touring means long days in your boots!
Recommended: Burton Tourist Snowboard Boots
While splitboard crampons are strongly recommended on our domestic backcountry splitboard programs, they are required on all of our International Splitboard Expeditions. These are typically used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer.
Recommended: Spark R&D Ibex ST Splitboard Crampons
A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended.
Recommended: Black Diamond Evac 7
A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm.
Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Pro Probe 280
A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using.
Recommended: Black Diamond Recon Avalanche X Beacon
Many options are available, and are often comparable. Most important is to ensure your skins are trimmed properly for the ski you will be touring with. Skins with a secure tail clip are preferred.
Recommended for Skis: Black Diamond Glidelite Mix STS Climbing Skins
Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Glidelite Mix Splitboard Climbing Skins
General Mountaineering Axe
One non-technical climbing axe. The tool should be approx. 55cm- 65cm long and comfortable to hold. *Ice axes are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe
Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. *Harnesses are also available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Couloir
Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail and that they fit snugly on your ski or snowboard boots. Crampons are available to rent (for our introductory climbing courses) at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recommended: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons
Locking Carabiner (2)
Small, lightweight locking carabiners are best.
Recommended: Black Diamond LiteForge Screwgate
Non-locking Carabiner (2)
Small, lightweight small carabiners are best, wire-gates are fine.
Recommended: Black diamond HotForge Carabiner
2 Duffle Bags – At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big – between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don’t recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It’s common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you.
Note: For ski expeditions such as the Ecuador Ring of Fire, you can replace one of these duffle bags with a ski/splitboard bag.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stonehauler 90L
Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters).
Recommended: Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack
Internal frame pack that is between 25 and 35 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners to protect from precipitation. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body.
Recommended: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol 32L
Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube
Two 1L Nalgene Bottles
Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles.
Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth
While Alpenglow provides hot drink options every morning, it can be nice to have your own on hand any time you need a boost. With hot water always readily available, having instant coffee packets can give you the energy you need after a long day in the mountains!
Recommended: Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee
- Passport (with visa, if necessary)
- 2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)
- Non-cotton underwear
- Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace
- Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear
- Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)
- Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)
- Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)
- 3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)
- Hand Warmers
- Face Mask
- Hand Sanitizer
- Powerbank (6-10K mAh good for 2-3 phone charges, weighing under 8oz)
Alpenglow is the best
“I’ve been climbing with Alpenglow for over ten years. After my first expedition, I knew I’d found the best team. I feel like I’m a member of the Alpenglow family, and have come to know and love many of their guides, office staff, and programs. Alpenglow is truly the best!”