Our flight arrives into Santiago, Chile at 5:40am local time. My travel partners and I have been on the go for approximately 24 hours now including drive time to our local airports and a layover in LA. You would think after traveling all day that everyone would be tired and worn down, but not this crew. Everyone is smiling, peppy, and ready to go. The next step in our journey is to take a 2 hour shuttle transfer to our first destination on our Chilean ski tour…Ski Portillo.
As we head out on the road from Santiago the scenery quickly changes from cityscape to vineyards to quaint Andean villages and finally to snow-capped mountain precipices…we are getting closer. The final stretch on the road to Portillo (el Camino de los Libertadores) is a series of 30+ switchbacks. To get to this point you need to get approved to pass through at the Guardia Vieja road check by the Carabineros de Chile (police). This final stretch of this highway closes often due to snow. In fact, the day we arrived the road was just being reopened after a few days of snow…lucky us! And what is even better, only guests at Ski Portillo are allowed to proceed. The road is still closed to the many truckers who use this mountain pass as a main shipping route from Chile to Mendoza, Argentina. As we carefully make our way up the switchbacks we are ecstatic. We are the only people on the road which means…fresh powder turns for us!