After having taken a look at some of the summer ski areas in Europe we now want to focus on the areas which are a bit more difficult to reach. We will cross over the ocean to explore the ski regions in North and South America. These do not only differentiate themselves from the Alps with the pistes they offer, but also with the different cultures round and about.
We will look at one ski area each in Canada and the USA before we travel down south to Chile and Argentina.
Whistler, British Colombia in Canada can be the perfect destination both in winter and summer for all ski and snowboard enthusiasts. From the 22nd of June until the 28th of July 2013 the Horstman Glacier ski lifts are open to the public between 12:00 and 15:00 to get in a summer sequence of snow. Even a snow park can be found at the glacier. To make the most of the beautiful panorama view of Whistler Valley you should take the time to pause, maybe on the peak of Blackcombe Mountain, and rest for a moment before you can continoue on with a mountainbike tour in the afternoon. The combination of skiing and biking in one day is no problem at all here!
The longest season of the North American ski areas can be found in Timberline Lodge, close to Portland. From the 1st of June 2013 the ski lifts are open again on a daily basis. This area is mainly used by the professionals for training their skills. However, there is also a piste which is open daily between 07:00 and 13:30 which is also accessible to the “normal” sports enthusiasts. The resort stretches across the Palmer Snowfield on the south face of Mt. Hood and extends right up to 2,600 m altitude.
South America – this normally makes you think of sun, sand and sea, rather than snow and skiing. Nevertheless, there are also possibilities to find winter sports here, too. Mostly however, you will have to travel to Chile or Argentina for some fun in the snow.
Ski Portillo in Chile, right at the border to Argentina, comprises one hotel with approx. 400 beds, at 2,880 m altitude – and that’s it! But this is exactly what makes the resort so attractive. 45 km of piste and many freeride opportunities, heli-skiing and ski tours are the great winter sports magnets here. The season extends from the 22nd of June until the 5th of October and intivtes all winter sports fans to try the Chiliean Ski Mecca for themselves. There are surely no waiting times at the lifts here. The ski resort limits the number of lift tickets per day to 450 in total. Wide, emtpy pistes are therefore guaranteed here.
The Valle Nevado, not fat from Santiago, opened on the 28th of June 2013. Comprising 37 km of piste, this Chilean ski area offers the most modern lift systems and the most popular snow park in South America. The first gondola in Chile was also erected here. Together with the ski areas El Colorado an La Parva, the Valle Nevado forms the “3 Valleys of the Andes”. The comparison to the French “Trois Vallées” may not be meant too seriously here, though. 107 km of piste in total is however still enough to enjoy.
Finally, we come to the ski area Cerro Catedral, approx. 20 km from the city Bariloche in Argentina. The season here goes from the 18th of June until the 10th of October. With 103 km of piste and 40 lifts the area is almost comparable to a European ski area. Even a modern 6-seater chair lift with wind cover can be found here. The snow park is well-tended and offers lots for freestylers to enjoy. Therefore the area is also a popular host to many freestyle events, such as e.g. the Big Air Reef or Rip Curl Winter Search.
– To be continued –