Portillo, Inalterado - Ski Mag

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Ingrid Backstrom on lower El Estadio in Portillo, Chile

Portillo Unchanged

Welcome to Portillo, Chile, where gringos trade flip-flops for ski boots, racers and freeriders mingle, and pisco flows like carménère. The vibe is unabashedly old-school, and Portillo’s diehards wouldn’t have it any other way.

Portillo Photo Challenge

Portillo, Chile

Thanks to overnight flights from the U.S. and a two-hour drive from the Santiago airport, you can ski Portillo the day you arrive.

Portillo, Chile

Inside Line: Portillo, Chile

At Portillo, there’s a good chance you’ll share a Poma with Seth Morrison or Daron Rahlves. It’s the off-season training spot for the pros. It’s no wonder why. All above treeline, the terrain is point-and-go, from rock-lined chutes to wide-open bowls to impeccably groomed cruisers. Laps are punctuated by boots-off, white-tablecloth lunches, hot-tub soaks, Ping-Pong with the locals, and thumping disco. Stay at the all-inclusive, European-style Portillo Lodge, where ski history seeps from wooden walls decorated with trophies from the first World Cup races. Thanks to overnight flights from the U.S. and a two-hour drive from the Santiago airport, you can even ski the day you arrive.

The lower 48’s highest peak is often a training ground for mountaineers looking to conquer higher peaks, but that doesn’t mean that with some skills or a guide it can still be attainable for savvy backcountry skiers.

Where to Ski in August

August is when the itch gets the worst. Hot, lazy days lose their shine. The buzz of the air conditioner starts to burn your eardrums. And winter feels SO far away. And it is, but a plane ticket or a long hike could change that. Here’s where you can get your midsummer fix.