Skiing on live volcanoes is simply one of those things that just has to be done in life!
Even if you are not a seasoned skier or you are not really all that into the sport, you can while away time on the lower slopes and enjoy the views, the crisp winter weather, and not to mention the infamous après-ski drinks of course!
The Andes provide perfect weather conditions for skiing hence why there are many resorts between Chile and neighbouring Argentina. Some are located deep in the mountains while some are super close to towns.
Our Araucanía region is blessed with a choice of ski resorts. They are smaller than those you can find in the mountains outside Santiago, but the views more than make up for the fewer number of runs available.
The closest option to Pucón is our very own Villarrica volcano ski resort. Just 25 minutes from the centre of town, Ski Pucón has 6 ski lifts connecting 17 pistes, plus a 200m long x 50m wide mini snow park for ski and snowboard games, events, action & acrobatics. The 17 pistes are distributed as follows: 4 easy (green); 6 intermediate (red); 5 difficult (blue) and 2 very hard (black). Of course there are also classes on offer, personal or group, plus daily activities for your skiing bambinos!
From the pistes the views are simply amazing. On a clear day you can see 5 volcanoes including the Osorno volcano near Puerto Montt. Not to mention Andean lakes tucked in-between ancient forests.
To the north, closer to Temuco there is a wonderful national park called Conguillio. The imposing Llaima volcano is located within the park and offers heavenly back country skiing for the experienced at the Las Paraguas ski centre. Las Paraguas has actually been around since 1979, but the refuge and cafeteria were not added until 2008, and both were fully remodeled in 2015. Located at a height of 1500masl and surrounded by ancient araucarias, this mountain refuge not only offers great skiing opportunities, but also ice and rock climbing courses, guided ascents to the 3125masl peak of Llaima volcano, ski equipment rental, a range of food and accommodation in the refuge itself. Their Spanish only website includes details about activities, contact and how to get there: http://www.losparaguas.cl/ Definitely a perfect option for the more adventurous!
Within the same national park there is also another winter wonderland resort called Las Araucarias which gives the impression of having stepped straight out of Narnia! At this magical resort you find yourself actually skiing through and in-between majestic Araucarias with views of sparkling turquoise glacial lakes.
With 1 chairlift and 3 ski lifts, Las Araucarias is smaller than the Ski Centre Pucón, though it does offer 350 hectares of skiable surface area. The base has a cafeteria and a ski equipment rental.
The journey up to Las Araucarias is an experience in its own right passing through forests of endemic trees and narrow snow ploughed tracks. Do check that you have the right chains for your hire car or truck though as it is usually obligatory to carry them.
So there you go! That is it for our local ski resort round up! The question you ask yourself now is: shall I choose to go skiing on a boring old slope or on fresh powder on the flanks of a live volcano? We will leave that decision up to you!
Lake Lodge will be open during the whole of July to receive you with open arms! The whole hotel offer central heating, deliciously comfortable beds and large bathtubs to enjoy a long soak in after a long day on the pistes. Contact us here today for rates and reservations. We look forward to welcoming you soon!