Portillo Journals

The Portillo Experience

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A September 2005 trip to Portillo by ovenking

View of the lake from the hotel balcony Photo, Portillo, Chile More Photos
Quote: A week-long ski/snowboard trip to the famous Portillo resort in Chile, high in the Andes

The Portillo Experience

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Overview

Va-et-vient poma, aka Slingshot. Photo, Portillo, Chile
Quote:
I spent a Saturday-to-Saturday week at the famous Portillo resort, sampling much of the famous snow and resort experience.On my first full day there I woke up to a glorious blue sky after a dump of snow. Almost everyone starts the day out on the Juncalillo side, then moves to the plateau side later in the afternoon to follow the movement of the sun. I did a quick warm-up run, then decided to brave the Roca Jack Va-Et-Vient Poma (also often called the Slingshot) for my next run. It's definitely something for advanced/expert people only, requiring balance, control and a generous helping of courage. It's also much easier to go up on with skis than a snowboard. If you want a taste of the S...Read More

Inca Lodge

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Hotel

Inca Lodge Photo, Portillo, Chile
Quote:
After double-checking at reception, I was stuck with the Inca Lodge as my accommodation, as the Octagon Lodge was filled. In the future I would definitely book way in advance for the Octagon. The Inca itself is not much to look at. If you've stayed in tiny hostel rooms before and done the dorm thing, this should be familiar to you. If not, this is not a good time to start and I would pay the extra cash to upgrade.My room had two bunks to accommodate four people, was about the size of a shoebox, and with four guys stuffed in there, plus drying ski gear, gave off a rather, ahem, pungent smell. At least the rooms were fairly clean, as the cleaning staff did come by every morning to clean a...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Inca Lodge

Portillo, Chile

Dining Room

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Restaurant

Quote:
As for food, staying at the Inca Lodge means you get a meal card valid for use in the staff cafeteria. It covers 4 meals a day and the food itself isn't fancy.As a vegetarian, my choices were far more limited, usually to a combination of mashed potatoes, rice, soup, bread, and vegetables, depending on the day and meal. For a meat eater, there were almost always two selections of meat/fish for most meals.Yeah, it's not gourmet food, but given that we were paying $500 each for a week's worth of skiing/riding, accommodation, and food, it was definitely the best deal to be found in Chile, and there were occasional flourishes with yummy desserts. The cafeteria was a great place t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

Dining Room
Portillo
Portillo, Chile

Bar and Disco

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Attraction

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There is a bar in the hotel that is quite cosy and comfortable, with a range of Chilean beers and drinks on offer, as well as a limited food menu. All drinks are extra, but are reasonably priced, at least by Western standards. There is live music every night of the week, with a couple of different bands coming up during that time. Almost every song is a cover, so don't expect great virtuosity or any indie rocking. The atmosphere is laid-back, with a mix of hotel and lodge guests, along with off-duty employees.The disco downstairs also serves drinks. However, it doesn't really get started until later in the night. Again, there's nothing too special about the music, but then again, peo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 9, 2006

The Portillo Life

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Story/Tip

On the Plateau chairlift Photo, Portillo, Chile
Quote:
Area-wise, it's not a big mountain by any stretch of the imagination, but there's plenty of off-piste stuff to entertain and keep you occupied. I hooked up with several telemarkers from Alaska, and they were pretty happy during the week, heading off on crazy traverses and way, way off-piste. Definitely bring your avy gear if you're planning on doing a lot of off off-piste, though, as it is avalanche country in many areas. Portillo and the army do perform avalanche control as well.Terrain-wise, it's not really set up for freestylers or boarders. Portillo is definitely a skier's mountain, and when I say skier, I mean the euro-type skier. There were plenty of incredible technique skiers o...Read More

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