With recently visiting Chile and discovering what the mountains over there have to offer, Lucy focuses on the resort of El Colorado, from everything ski to what local dishes we can’t miss out on.
El Colorado – Farellones
El Colorado, combined with Farellones, is the more affordable ski resort in the Three Valleys; here there are hostels and some hints of nightlife, unlike the other resorts, the pub El Montañes has great food and livens up after dark! The ski area, Farellones especially, is the best-suited resort for beginners and intermediates, but as Farellones is the lowest resort, by the end of the season it is very slushy, or as the Chileans call it, ‘sopa’!
El Colorado offers the most choice when it comes to accommodation, from the self-catered ski in- ski out apartments, to hostels. Farellones is the only resort that offers accommodation for the solo, budget conscious travellers, as the shared rooms won’t completely break the bank. You can choose between Chile Xtremo Hostel or Lodge Cordillera, which are both cheaper than renting a whole apartment.
The resort can prove difficult to navigate at first, as you need to take the main ski lift up and to access the more challenging runs, you will need to ski around the mountain. Much like La Parva, many of the lifts are button lifts and rather slow, so make sure you’ve wrapped up warm as the temperatures can be very cold in the shade.
While you are enjoying the sublime views, make sure to look out for an Andean Condor; to my delight I spotted one while on the chairlift as it swopped and circled above me. If you take La Liebre chairlift, there are a couple of good red runs you can choose, some of them are used for slalom practise, and as they are nice and wide you can have a really enjoyable run, especially over the rollers.
For a quick morning coffee stop, the Juan Valdez café has a great terrace overlooking the Cono. Once you’ve, hopefully, mastered the resort map and enjoyed a morning ski, take a lunch break at Mirador’s to eat some typical Chilean bbqued meat or sandwiches lathered in palta (avocado), or Olimpo, which overlooks the three valleys. By the end of the afternoon, you will have definitely earnt yourself some afternoon piscos at Alambique Bar, it really is rude not to indulge in their favourite beverage.
The El Colorado park is small but always has jumps, rails, boxes, and is clearly a good place to practise because this September, freestyle hero Jesper Tjader, was cruising around and sending it in the El Colorado park, ahead of filming ‘Supervention 2’ which comes out on November 23rd.
The Andes Mountains really are a dream come true for powder fanatics and off piste explorers, and El Colorado does not let the side down. Both the Cono Este and Cornisa lifts will take you high enough to access some great off piste runs. The Cornisa lift, sitting on the top of the mountain, is where you should start, with the option of the pisted ‘bowl’ run and ‘bumps’, a mogul field, as well as the famous Chancito, which has many small couloirs. To get there, turn west at the top of the Cornisa. This lift also links you to the off piste around Cono Este, where there are cliff drops and more couloirs.
The Valle Olimpico face at the top of the Los Pioneros run allows you to access a great area for fresh powder runs, so make sure you get their first!
The Falso Embudo is another well-known off piste ski area, however you must be careful around this area as some of it is out of bounds (see below).