SKIING THE PACIFIC RING OF FIRE
Phil Smith from Snoworks travels to Chile to ski the Pacific Ring of Fire and writes:
If someone had said to me I would be standing on the top of a live Volcano looking down into the centre of the earth with bubbling lava one minute and then skiing off piste in perfect snow the next I would have thought they were crazy.
Yet here I was doing exactly that. Chile is a country of startling contrasts which on average is over 2,700 miles long, the equivalent distance from Edinburgh to Baghdad and nevwith some of the most active volcanoes in the world.
I first started my adventures in Chile six years ago when I was lucky to meet a good friend of mine Cristián Levy. Cristián runs his own Chilean tourism agency based in Temuco in the centre of the Lakes and Volcano district. I was familiar with Valle Nevado and Portillo the main Chilean ski destinations but Cristián persuaded me there is a totally different side to skiing in Chile.
Antuco, Corralco, Araucarias, Pucon, Huilo Huilo, Antillanca and Osorno are ski areas very few skiers have ever heard about so when I took my first group there 6 years ago needless to say I was pretty apprehensive. We’re used to The 3 Valleys and the Espace Killy with hundreds of ski lifts stretching in every direction. Here we were travelling half way around the world to ski in resorts with only one or two ski lifts! You have to be joking I thought. Nervous was an understatement. I had persuaded some of my guests to take three weeks off work and part with a fare chunk of their income to ski in a resort with two lifts!