Valle Nevado: Our first snow and ski experience

Valle Nevado is a high end ski resort located in Chile. A lot of tourists and travelers from all over the world come here in winter in order to ski on the Andes mountains. It is the main location for snowboarding and skiing and is set on the Andes mountains, making it a spectacular view even for those who are not so fond of skiing.

This winter in 2015 has been pretty dry with little to no rainfall. We haven’t been getting too much snow as compared to 2014. But in light of the recent and continuous rainfall over the last 4 days prior to the ski trip, Valle Nevado ski resort decided to have a special promotion. It was perfect timing as the forecast reported heavy snow so we couldn’t resist saying yes to this opportunity.

The promotion we choose cost us $50AUD per person. The package included rental of the ski gear, lunch, transportation and a 1 hour free skiing lesson for beginners like us. It was pretty cheap considering the normal price would be around the $150-$200AUD mark.

Travel Vlog: Valle Nevado in Chile

Before we dive into the details of the snow trip, we wanted to share with you our vlog we did just to give you a better idea of our experience. If you haven’t checked out our vlog from our snow trip to Valle Nevado, you can watch it here below or go to our YouTube channel by clicking directly on the video.

If you want to learn more about the overall day, scroll down and continue reading! A lot of the details that we talk about below can help anyone who is interested in traveling to Valle Nevado ski resort or if you are just curious about our experience.

Let it snow!

We met up with a group of others at 7am in the morning to head over to the ski resort. It was pitch black and super cold even with our layers and thermals. The drive was packed with traffic as we had to pass through highways during peak time. Although Valle Nevado is only 2 hours away from the main center of Santiago according to the Google maps, it probably took us 3 hours to get there due to the traffic.

We got to the ski gear rental store which was on the way to Valle Nevado ski resort at about 9am. This was a pretty overwhelming experience with a lot of people trying on jackets, pants and other ski gear. Clothes and ski gear were all over the floor. It looked like the place had been ransacked. Being our first time, we were unsure what to do and watched others to learn the basics of fit and what gear would be most essential. We ended up renting jackets, gloves, googles and pants for about $50AUD. We were all ready to go and headed back to our car munching on my homemade empanadas for breakfast!

Living most of our younger years in Sydney Australia and then in other countries were there was no snow in sight, the experience of just being among the snow was already good enough for us to do the trip. The only ski resort in Australia that we know of is made with ‘fake’ or man-made snow. To date, we had been living in Chile for almost a year and half and never had the opportunity to see the snowy Andes Mountains up close and personal like this because we were so busy with work. So being here among the beautiful snowy mountains was something we both really enjoyed.

Before we could get on the slopes, we had to first check-in and collect the rest of the ski gear. We both decided to learn how to ski as appose to snowboarding. The staff were really nice and helped us select the right shoes and gear. There were heaps of people and it took us about 30 minutes to go through the system with all our gear. The ski gear was incredibly heavy and carrying everything was harder than what we thought it was going to be. It was difficult getting on the escalators and even carrying the ski gear down the stairs was a task. We hadn’t started skiing yet and were feeling exhausted just carrying our ski gear.

Once we made it up the escalators and onto the cable car with all our gear, the first thing we did was play in the snow. We’ve never seen snow before and so making snow balls and throwing snow around seemed like the best idea ever!

Ski lesson experience

We headed over to the basic slopes of the Valle Nevado ski resort for our free skiing lesson. We choose to attend the beginners lesson in English not Spanish. Both of us have never skied before and we were pretty nervous just walking on the snow yet alone doing anything else. Our teacher was super nice and spoke English. Although she yelled at us (mostly me) a few times because of our poor form while going down this baby slope.

We learnt the basics like how to stop, how to slow down or go faster, what not to do and even how to turn. There were a few people in our group who had to sit down and rest due to the altitude.

We then advanced to the real slopes. This was the basic one where you ski down and line up at the conveyor belt to get back to the top to ski again. Albie really enjoyed this as he was pretty much a natural skier. I on the other hand, had difficulties partly because the ski boots were digging into my shins and began to develop bubbles and bruises.

Once the lesson was over, we headed over to get our lunch. This was at about 1pm. Our legs were sore and in pain from the crappy snow boots. The lines were packed and it took us about 1.5 hours to get our food. As we ate, we could feel our hands, face and feet get colder and colder. We then decided to head back to the slopes as Albie wanted to continue skiing until we had to leave.

At around 4pm, we made our way to the entrance of the resort to return our ski gear and meet the others in our van to go home. Overall, the experience at Valle Nevado ski resort was interesting and fun considering we’ve never skied before. There were a number of things we didn’t enjoy such as the heavy gear and the painful ski boots that made us reconsider doing it again but with the panoramic views of the Andes mountains, fluffy white snow and Albie’s natural ability of skiing, the positives really outweighed the negatives. Hopefully we get to try skiing (or snowboarding) in another resort somewhere else in the world.

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