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Chilly in Chile A SKI BUMS PHOTO TOUR

Our summer is their winter

When the hot sidewalks of the Northern Hemisphere bake under the summer sun, the cold peaks of the Southern Hemisphere freeze under soft blankets of snow. We've been lucky to host two terrific trips to Chile. As we prepare to return, here's a glimpse of the sights, sounds and thrills that have inspired us in the Andes.

See the SKI BUMS trip to Chile >

Natural highs

9,839 feet high. That's the altitude of the base lodges at Valle Nevado resort, where the peaks stretch beyond 12,000 feet. With two adjoining resorts -- El Colorado and La Parva -- the area forms the largest ski resort area in the Southern Hemisphere. All together, they offer a huge snow playground with more than 7,000 acres of fun.

On a clear day, you can look up and see those snowy peaks from the bustling streets of Chile's capital city, Santiago.

Sophisticated Santiago

With a population of more than 6.3 million, Santiago is one of South America's most modern cities. The infrastructure's excellent. The economy's booming. As the city grows and new skyscrapers leap into the sky, Chileans pay homage to their traditions while proudly supporting progressive art and culture.

In the heart of the city lies the historic Mercado Central, featuring dozens of stalls of freshly caught seafood. We began our last adventure in Chile with a mouth-watering lunch; these were the largest king crabs we'd ever seen!

The city that copper built

Chile developed massive copper mines in the 1950's and 1960's, which brought tremendous wealth and stability to the nation. Today, one third of the world's copper comes from Chile. It boasts the highest GDP per capita in all of Latin America.

Cultural capital

Tracing all the way back to its Incan history, Chile honors its past by preserving its culture. We marveled at Santiago's gorgeous Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the oldest art museum in Latin America. Santiago's newest major museum opened in 2010: the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. You'll be deeply moved by its exploration of Chile's Pinochet dictatorship.

View our plans for Santiago >

Santiago's subway: clean and efficient. We were jealous.

Curating craftsmanship

Chile's arts and crafts draw inspiration from its Incan and Mayan traditions. Today, Santiago's Pueblito Los Dominicos features dozens of artisan workshops, where instructors pass along their skills to a new generation. We marveled at the workmanship, and brought home beautiful handmade gifts for our families and friends.

Up, up and away

Santiago's eastern horizon dazzles with the dramatic peaks of the Andes. The road from the city to the resort climbs more than 8,000 feet through dozens of switchback turns. Watch our video below to see a breakneck version of the 90-minute ride!

Valle Nevado, El Colorado and La Parva

Because Valle Nevado sits entirely above the tree line — there are literally no trees here — this is the kind of mountain where you can choose your own adventure. Scan the hills and pick any path where you see snow! You won't be hemmed in by a corridor of tree trunks.

The resort was launched by French entrepreneurs in 1988; staff from Copper Mountain in Colorado helped develop its modern lift systems and an extensive ski school. Today, it welcomes guests from around the world to its three on-site hotels, nine restaurants and pubs, and even its very own neon-lit dance club.

Adjoining the resort, El Colorado and La Parva serve as off-season training grounds for Olympic ski teams. Complimentary one-day lift tickets for these resorts are included in our package. We loved all three resorts on our previous trips, and with a full week in the mountains, it's more than enough time to explore it all.

View this summer's trip dates and itinerary >

Chic mountain style

As one of the finest ski hotels in South America, Hotel Valle Nevado features stunning views of a massive, rocky canyon that soaks up warm orange sunlight each afternoon. You'll love the sunrises and sunsets. The hotel features chic, stylish amenities and a staff that's eager to please, and the ski-in, ski-out location can't be beat. The lifts are just outside our door.

See what's included with our lodging >

Hotel Valle Nevado -- ski-in, ski-out comfort
On a clear night, gaze up to see the a whole new sky: the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere.

A warm welcome for global visitors

Valle Nevado feels like a North American ski resort in many ways. At the base area, you’ll find cool bars, a well-stocked rental facility, and on-site shops from Burton, North Face and all the world's most popular gear outfitters. Trail maps, signs and lifts are well-marked; signs are in Spanish and English.

Level playing field

The terrain at Valle Nevado, El Colorado and La Parva is well suited for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. So whether you're new to this or you've been shredding since you were five, you'll find that it's easy to have a whole lot of fun here.

View the trail maps >

Personal connections

At Valle Nevado, the friendly breakfast servers greet you each morning with a warm “buenos dias,” and the hotel's impeccable private ski valets will know you on a first-name basis. The giant outdoor jacuzzi is an inviting, social spot to relax your muscles as the red sun sets into the Andes. You’ll see the same friendly faces here every afternoon.

Meet the people who are going to Chile with us this summer >

The ruby red sunsets at Valle Nevado are often astonishing.

Scenic vineyards and historic Valparaíso

After a week in the mountains, it's time to explore the beauty of the lower elevations. Chile is one of the world's top wine exporters; the vineyards near Santiago are irrigated by melting snow. Along the coast, the brightly colored colonial homes and cafes on the hills of Valparaíso form a UNESCO World Heritage site.

See this summer's Chile trip itinerary >

La cocina chilena

The cuisine of Chile draws from massive agricultural riches and a huge coastline full of fresh fish. But one of our favorite dishes is pastel de choclo, a corn-crusted pot pie that's an ideal winter comfort food.

Off the vine

Chile is the world's fourth largest wine exporter (after France, Italy and Spain), but Chile reserves some of its best wines for local consumption. You'll have the chance to try a glass of supple carménère or its wonderful fruit-forward cabernet sauvignon.

Peruvian or Chilean?

Peruvians love to boast that a pisco sour was invented in Peru, but Chileans drink far more pisco than their northern neighbors; each year, Chile produces more than three times as much of this fermented grape brandy. An authentic drink contains pisco, lime juice, bitters, egg whites and sugar.

Learn how to make a pisco sour >

Dining in style at Valle Nevado

Our meals at Valle Nevado are included within the trip price, and the menus range from French cooking to Chilean, Italian and American. The chefs here love to show off, especially when it's time for dessert! Yum!

Incredible new friends

SKI BUMS focuses on developing rich, long-lasting friendships that extend beyond the winter. Those new friendships form even more easily when we're discovering the thrills of a new country together. Since our first South American trip in 2008, we've had the chance to meet some truly amazing people on our adventures to to Chile's Valle Nevado and Portillo, and Argentina's San Martin de los Andes and Bariloche.

View more pictures from our South American adventures >

Make yourself at home

Chile is one of Latin America's most LGBTQ-friendly cultures. It was among the first to offer same-sex civil unions, and Chile's current president is pushing for expanded protections for gender identity and adoption. Santiago's annual Pride parade welcomes more than a 50,000 annual visitors, and its weekend nightlife includes neighborhood bars, elaborate drag show performances, and pulsing night clubs.

La Moneda, Chile's government house, is illuminated each year to mark the International Day Against Homophobia

Come to Chile with us in August

We're experts at designing a vacation that highlights the best parts of Chile, and we can't wait to return this summer! From August 24 to September 2 -- just before Labor Day -- a group of SKI BUMS will once again discover the incredible cuisine, spectacular sights and friendly faces of this South American wonder. Space is limited, so we encourage you to sign up today before it's sold out!

CHILE 2018 -- see all the trip details and pricing >

Meet the Chile BUMS

If you'd like to see if anyone from your area is joining this trip, join our Chile 2018 Facebook Group. Everyone's welcome to come say hello and learn more about our adventure in the Andes! Simply click the link below and request to join. We'll see you there!

Join our Chile 2018 Facebook group >

Credits:

Photos by SKI BUMS and Valle Nevado Resort

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