Visitor reviews for Portillo Ski Resort
July 12, 2014
Davey B. from United States
I really wanted to like Portillo, but frankly it's mediocre in most aspects. The vertical is not great with all lifts accessing less than 1,000'. It's very difficult to expand that number because the resort is divided in half by the Inca Lake. The best skiing is the "bowls" - really just long chutes that you reach via 4/5 person poma lifts that whisk you up. There are 3 of these, and from them you can traverse or climb to some others. In most other ambitious ski resorts these would all have chairlifts and better planning of layout throughout. The care-taking of the mountain is seriously lacking, with minimal grooming, little signage of any kind, and complacent staff attitudes. The "trails" number less than a handful and get boring quickly, especially after skiing/boarding them for a day or two. If snow is iffy there is hardly any snowmaking backup - a serious problem. Most folks stay at the Hotel Portillo (except for the budget minded - there's a bunk bed building) which is basic; very modest rooms including 4 meals daily which are surprisingly bad and sometimes near rancid. I don't know how it's partnered up with Rockresorts, other than a stunning location (it has nothing in common with those five star resorts). As someone who has skied most everywhere I'm glad I visited for my own education, but I'd find it hard to recommend this place except for the most inquisitive, it simply doesn't live up to expectations. From what I understand, Valle Nevado is a better choice, and when I return to S.A. it will be my next.
Overall: 3.8. Based on 26 votes and 22 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Portillo.
Public Transport: 3.8
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Portillo, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Portillo, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 2.9
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 3.8
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Portillo.
Ski in/Ski out: 4.3
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Portillo, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Portillo is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Portillo relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.4
(1) There are no snow groomers at Portillo, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Portillo are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Portillo is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.9
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Portillo, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.4
(1) Portillo usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.5
(1) The staff at Portillo are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Portillo are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.5
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.4
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.1
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Portillo has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Portillo, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 1.9
(1) Not even a kicker at Portillo, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Portillo, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Portillo has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.9
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.8
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 2.7
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.8
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.7
(1) Overall, Portillo is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 4.0
(1) Overall, Portillo is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
August 21, 2012
Tomasso from Chile
- way less congested than the resorts near Santiago (El Colorado, La Parva, Valle Nevado)
- great scenery
- an absolute lack of security; in 2011 an Argentine girl died when she was strangled by the lift's rope of Roca Jack .. those dangerous lifts are still in place, and there's hardly a sign telling you how the five skiers have to download
[note from the editor: staff, at the resort, contacted us with the hope of creating a balanced impression. They wanted to reassure visitors to the ski area. I recommended that they submit their own posting to express their intentions.]
September 22, 2010
James Statham from Canada
Just returned from Portillo and in a light snow year and had a great time.
Portillo has the vertical of an eastern resort, but with western conditions - high alpine with chutes, steeps and the world famous Super C couloir.
Tio Bob's is one of the best ski bar/restaurants in the world along with the Moosewirt in St. Anton and the Longhorn at Whistler/Blackcomb.
More of the world's best skiers have skied here than anywhere else. Portillo is a legend. The only place better is Revelstoke.
August 27, 2010
Arthur from Brazil
Portillo is a nice place to come and have fun, with good food (all included) and a live band every night to distract people after ski. There's also a nice swimming pool and dance club. What is a bit dissapointing is that there are very few slopes, mainly two big ones and others small on the sides. This is really not enough to compare with the other large resorts available, even in Chile. Also there is no snow park, which can be frustrating specially to the snowboarders (like me). But overall we had fun, people were friendly in general. I hope the number of slopes increases in the future, it would make Portillo a real good option even worldwide. Today I think it's still limited.
August 17, 2010
Rich from United States
Portillo has a beautiful and cozy bar with a fireplace on the second floor (not a lounge like in the Minneapolis Radisson). There is tons of off-piste skiing accessible from the four (not two) multi-man slingshot lifts - only in use at Portillo - that gain 500-1,100 feet of vertical over a length of 1,100 to 2,100 feet. As for pitch, the top of Roca Jack is 50+ degrees, good enough for the Austrian Ski Team to use for downhill training every year. Finally, you drove yourself to Portillo, a place with zero use for a car, instead of taking one of the easily accessible drivers or shuttles? If you're going to diss a place, at least get the facts straight. Giving any bias, Portillo and its loyal guests - including some of the best skiers in the world - are probably glad to see the last of you.
June 30, 2010
Martina Diez-Routh from United Kingdom
I love Ski Portillo, it is a great place with spectacular scenery. For those comments I have been reading below that they did not like some aspects of it, I would say, you might have got a wrong selling speech. The hotel is old and not-fancy, with no TV, only one bar, one disco and a bar across the international route where the staff mainly goes with some adventurous guests, but the quality of snow usually is great, thanks to its altitude and lack of wind. The food is great and the chef gives you great options of all kinds of fish in Chile. You have four meals a day and then you can have one meal on the on-top mountain restaurant Tio Bobs with superbs views of the Laguna del Inca.
The rooms are simple, with no TV, but that makes you want to go to socialise to their living room. It feels like if you were staying at home, like what old ski resorts use to be.
Obviously, it is great to relax on the pools and now on their two hot tubs, and you can take their yoga and stretching sessions.
Overall, Portillo is a great experience with magnificent vistas.
December 17, 2009
Kevin Lee from Canada
I keep reading that this area is one of the top 10 in the world. This really upsets me, because I made a point of travelling across the continent to ski it (travelled from Buenos Aires). It's a tiny small area, with nothing but blue runs. Nothing challenging, nothing steep, nothing long. The lifts are from the stone age, slow and clunky. When I was there half the resort was down due to a power failure for half the day. They harp on the "off piste" Well there are a couple of cable lifts that drag you literally only 2 or 3 hundred meters up a slope. From there you might get a half dozen turns on reasonable steepness. But I ask you, is it worth the time and expense for 6 turns? Also, at the end of the day I thought I'd drop into the lounge for a beer before driving back to the city (Santiago). Well to my disbelief there is no lounge. No where to sit and enjoy a cocktail or hot drink after a day of skiing? What's up with that? As I was walking through the hotel looking for the non-existent lounge, I was confronted by a nasty hotel worker who began shouting at me in Spanish, telling me I can't walk around the hotel. I was in the pubic area.
All in all, I was not impressed. One of the worst 10 areas I've ever skied at, and I've skied hundreds.
September 20, 2009
Brett from Australia
Portillo is a great resort with excellent terrain. The food is top notch, bar the afternoon snack; bring some alcohol and some good books. The hotel at Portillo can organize a shuttle service for 12000 peso back to Santiago. Stayed in the Inca lodge. You can meet great people and the staff are friendly.
September 06, 2009
Alix from Bolivia
I am currently in Portillo and staying in the lodge: a less expensive option to the overpriced hotel. The weather is dreadful and I haven't been able to walk to or from the lodge to the hotel as the walkway hasn't been shoveled and I fall down to my waist trying to traverse the short distance. I've found the staff surly and the place dirty. The staff seem bored and are all sitting around in groups; it would be nice if someone would shovel the walk way. If I could get a shovel I would do it myself. The food for those staying in the lodge is exceptionally bad - stale bread rolls with butter for afternoon tea. All the attractions listed such as the cinema, library, game room etc are closed as are the lifts and runs. A very poor holiday experience all round.
June 15, 2009
Bruce from United States
Portillo now has off-piste as steep as Jackson Hole or the Palisades at Squaw. Riding the Va a Vients (a new advanced run for 2009) is an adventure.
For adventuresome children, there is certainly enough to keep them occupied when not skiing (indoor soccer, basketball, a decent library, et. al.) For sedentary children, it would be 'boring'.
For adults, a late evening at La Posada is a must.
Instructors are excellent. Food and service are superb (get to know Senor Besa) and Henry and Miguel have done great things to the resort. Just remember, the rooms are simple and while there is no TV (a blessing from my perspective) there is good wireless connectivity.
Access is two hours from Santiago, with some magnificent vistas.
Just bring your game when skiing OB.