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Termas de Chillan — Mountain layout

Mountain Layout—Skiing

Click here for large trail map.

What you see from the bottom is not what you get from the top. Once you get off the El Tata lift, which leads from the Gran Hotel to the main ski hill, and then proceed up either the Don Otto or the Don Benno and Huemul lift combination, a whole new world of expansive terrain opens up.

From the base of the area, this seems to just be another ski area, but as the terrain unfoldes beneath the Don Otto or Huemul chairs, any knowledgeable skier or rider well begin to salivate.

This is a unique geographic area of the world formed by volcanic eruptions and flowing lava that has left a skiable terrain that resembles the swirls and curls of icing on a birthday cake with scores of smaller bowls and chutes that lead to more of the same. It is absolutely playful for any skier or rider worth their salt.

Expert/Advanced: Few resorts in the world have the phenomenal and dramatic terrain found here at Termas de Chillan.

The best terrain is found off the glacially slow Don Otto lift. Turning right off the chair, then descending Condor 1 or 2 and El Burro present nice challenges. If it’s too much, you can bail about halfway down onto intermediate-rated Pirigallo. Come to think of it, forget about following any trail map and just dive into the scores of small bowls and faces that beckon.

But, for in-bounds with some out-of-bounds effect, scoot yourself just to skiers’ right off the lift, and descend between the marked trail Huemul 2 and the El Huemul lift. These descents have no names, but are rated as “backcountry” by the resort. You can also reach backcountry terrain further on skiers’ left or off the El Condor double tow; but be aware. Everything here ends in a tight, narrow gully with no escape routes. The consequences of an avalanche could be very serious.

Those looking for the ultimate adventure can climb Volcan Chillan from here, but it is advised to check with ski patrol for current conditions.

Helicopter skiing and riding is big here with flights taking up both intermediates and experts. The backcountry area available for helicopter skiing and riding is more than 25,000 acres.

Intermediate: Ascend the El Fresco double tow to the very top for a combination of superb views and long, long cruises that can lead either to mid-mountain or all the way to the bottom via 3 Marias Baja, Golf Bajo and Zig Zag. Indeed, traversing riders’ right from El Fresco serves up the resort’s full 3,600-plus vertical feet in one continuous run. The Golf trail is about 8 miles in length and is one of the longest runs in South America. Bowls, gullies, and rock fields are scattered all around, and it is easy to get lost, so go with somebody that knows the area.

From the Don Otto lift, follow the Volcan cat track for a fast, consistently pitched ride. The track empties just above the mid-mountain restaurant where a t-bar takes skiers back up to El Pillin where two trails drop back to the restaurant or back towards Argentina down to the El Fresco lift.

Beginner: There’s a wide and gentle novice-rated area just below the base lodge restaurant that’s served by the La Mami double chair. The Bosque Nevado, Zorrito and La Peta trails drop through trees back to the hotels providing a nice, groomed, winding, switchback way to slide home that’s fun for beginners. These last trails can be skied off the El Tata double chair.

More advanced novice-level (or low-intermediate) runs are scattered from the top of the El Huemul double chair. It’s worth the ascent and challenge just to be able to admire the spectacular views.

Below the Gran Hotel and the condominiums, the La Cascada tow serves the Novicio Cascada learning trail.