Comments Off

Portillo — Mountain layout

Mountain Layout—Skiing

Click here for large trail map.

Within a few miles of the Argentinean border, Portillo sits above the tree line at 9450’. The 2,500 vertical foot drop and 1,234 acres are accessed by an assortment of 13 lifts, one of which was specially designed for the ridiculously steep slopes of the resort. The “va et vient” (a.k.a. slingshot) is a hybrid of a poma lift and a tramway. One cable is anchored in two spots in the solid rock up the slope and to a giant pulley below. A 7-foot bar has 5 poma platters connected to it, and riders stand side by side as the lift accelerates up the 30-plus degree slope. This innovative design is necessary due to the large avalanches that wiped out the stationary poles of the traditional lifts. To fully comprehend this unusual ride, it must be experienced.

Most of the terrain is off-piste, but groomed runs exist off of all the lifts, except for the va et vients. From the very bottom of the resort the Juncalillo triple climbs 1,115’ and crosses over the highway four times as the road switch backs its way towards Argentina. With semi trucks and double decker buses cruising underneath, this lift ride is far from the ordinary. La Laguna quad starts by the hotel and leads up to the Roca Jack va et vients.

 

Expert and Advanced:

The entrance to some of Portillo’s famous chutes is accessed from the high traverses off of the Va et Vients lifts.

These traverses should be attempted by only advanced riders, especially if it is icy. A slip in the wrong spot could be deadly.

However, if the conditions are good and the rider’s right traverse is open, check out El Estadio, one lap down this epic run could make the whole trip to Chile worth it. This giant 2,000 vertical foot chute is steep and sustained from top to bottom.

El Plateau quad ascends over 1,000 vertical feet and tops out at the “Plateau” overlooking the lake, the hotel, the highway, and the Chilean-Argentinean border. Needless to say, the view is not too bad from here.

Going left off of this lift leads to the Condor slingshot. From here extreme riders can hike and traverse up and out to the many chutes above the lake.Dropping just below the Tio Bob’s restaurant, the Garganta (throat), is a very steep, mogul filled chute that is guaranteed to get the heart pumping.

Portillo also offers huge swaths of out-of-bounds skiing, which can be explored with a guided skiing service, as well as heli-skiing.

[TOP]

Intermediate:

Below this and the other chutes, is the well manicured, intermediate run, Juncalallio.

This mile and a half groomer is where the first speed skiers broke the 200 kilometer per hour (120mph) record in 1978. On the other side of the mountain, the west facing slopes are the best bet in the afternoon when spring conditions exists.

El Plateau quad ascends over 1,000 vertical feet and tops out at the “Plateau” overlooking the lake, the hotel, the highway, and the Chilean-Argentinean border. Needless to say, the view is not too bad from here. From the top of the Plateau, a steep, wide, groomed, advanced intermediate run drops to the hotel.

Gates are usually set up here for the northern hemisphere racing teams or the ski school. Las Vizcachas slingshot extends to the far end of the resort’s boundary. With a giant open bowl, this is a spectacular run in the afternoon as it drops down to the hotel.

[TOP]

Beginner and First-timer:

The beginner lifts are at the base of the hotel and the mellow slopes make this a great place to get started with astounding views all around.

[TOP]