You’ve built up your ski touring and ski mountaineering skills in your home range, and now you’re considering the next step to take those skills abroad. The world is full of incredible ski objectives, and the lake district of southern Chile is a destination that provides the key ingredients of adventure, culture, and incredible ski touring. It’s hard to put the experience into words, but we’ll try.
Alpenglow’s certified ski guides are constantly on the search for new destinations for us to explore, and they have identified the volcanoes of southern Chile as a destination that provides everything we look for in a high-quality expedition. Beautiful snow-covered volcanoes rise out of the forest like sentinels guarding the heavens, and they beckon skiers to enjoy their flanks. On these slopes, we’ll find spring skiing conditions similar to what you’ll find in the High Sierra or any spring ski mountaineering objective. Incredible corn snow fills slopes between 30-45 degrees as we search for the best conditions day after day on wide-open slopes.
The trip begins as we arrive in Temuco after a long period of travel and drive 2 hours to Malalcahuello. We recommend arriving early in the day so that we can spend the afternoon resting and exploring. Perhaps we’ll have a chance to sample the natural hot springs that dot the landscape and prepare ourselves for the long days of ski touring ahead of us.
Our first objective is the Lonquimay Volcano. Dotted with a couple of ski resorts, we choose the path less traveled and tour for about 3-4 hours to explore slopes of 30 degrees to get our legs under us. We spend the night again in Malalcahuello and will soak again in hot springs.
The next day we wake up early and travel for an hour to the base of Llaima Volcano. This is the signature volcano of the region and for good reason. It stands to deliver us the longest day of touring at 5-6 hours, and we’re rewarded with the longest descent of the trip at over 5,000’ of bliss.
Now we need a rest day – we travel 4 hours to Pucón where we spend the day exploring the city and replenish calories with local cuisine. We again have the chance to soak in hot springs to relax our tired legs.
We’re back at it on day 5 as we ascend the Villarrica volcano. We tour up the flanks of this active volcano for about 5 hours. When we make it the crater, we will have the chance to peer deep inside and can possibly catch a glimpse of the molten lava within. We’ll click in at the crater rim and descend back down to where we came from, skiing slopes as steep as 40 degrees in some zones.
Nearing the end of our trip, day 6 brings us to Puerto Varas, a beautiful city on the shores of lake Llanquihue. Across the lake we’ll have views of our next objective, the Osorno Volcano. Today we rest and tour the city, always keeping an eye on Osorno.
Our final day of touring brings us to the base of Osorno. It’s a 1-hour drive from Puerto Varas, and once we begin ascending we’ll be moving for about 4-5 hours. The last slope up high is quite steep and we may utilize fixed ropes. We’ll take in our final view from the top of a peak and begin our steepest descent of the trip with slopes up to 50 degrees.
The trip wraps up in Puerto Montt, a beautiful city on the shores of the pacific ocean. You’ll catch your first flight home here as we say goodbye to an eye-opening and adventurous trip to the volcanoes of southern Chile.
Our Chilean ski tours are guided by one or more of Alpenglow’s IFMGA/AMGA certified lead guides. AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification is the most prestigious in the world, attained only by the most experienced and dedicated guides. Our lead guides have traveled and climbed extensively throughout South America and possess intimate knowledge of the Andes Mountains. A thorough understanding of Andean culture combined with a passion for teaching others guarantees an experience you won’t soon forget.