If your dream ski vacation includes wide-open, above treeline powder slopes or endless backcountry skiing, Corralco, Chile is a destination you should become better acquainted with. Situated on the Lonquimay Volcano in the Chilean Andes, Corralco provides access to 1,235 inbounds acres and 7,500 backcountry acres. Offering two chairlifts and four surface lifts, 29 marked runs and one hotel, Valle Corralco, the Corralco experience is quite different than other than Chilean ski resorts.
You won’t find much in the way of nightlife, and the nearby town of Malalcahuello is quaint, but sleepy. Rather, the focus in Corralco is the skiing. Abundant snowfall and unique geography ensure high-quality snow conditions and a longer ski season than some of its counterparts.
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Opening in 2013, Corralco Mountain and Ski Resort has quickly gained traction as well-frequented resort by South Americans and backcountry enthusiasts primarily. Because the resort is just at its genesis, skier traffic is low and lift lines are unheard of.
When it comes to bluebird powder days, nothing compares to Corralco. With views of four other surrounding volcanoes in the distance, 100 percent above-treeline terrain and a 3,000 plus feet of vertical, Corralco is a paradise for experts. However, beginners appreciate the treeless landscape while they’re learning the basics.
There are a handful of long, groomed green runs near the base, and further up there a few intermediate to advanced intermediate groomed trails. Off-piste routes, which tend to follow lava-flow paths, are scattered in between the groomed runs and provide an opportunity to traverse across the slopes ski the resort a new way each run.
For the backcountry-mined, the 1,600-foot hike to the Lonquimay Volcano’s peak from the highest lift is a rewarding challenge and provides the opportunity to get some untracked turns.
In Corralco, the ski season typically lasts from early- to mid-June to mid- to late-October. The best time to go is typically August.
The Corralco ski resort has a beautiful new day lodge with a restaurant, sun deck, rental shop, ski school and picnic area.<
Valle Corralco Hotel and Spa offers various winter activities such as snowshoeing in the Araucaria forest and snowmobiling on the volcano. Guests looking to earn their turns, can arrange for a guided backcountry alpine tour. It’s also possible to enjoy a soak in the local hot springs.