8 Days / Contact us / Call: 1-888-565-7158
Group size: 8 maximum
September to October custom dates available.
Reserve This Trip
Join our ACMG-IFMGA-AAGM backcountry ski guides to explore and ski the volcanoes of Chile on this 9-day adventure ski tour and split board adventure taking us deeper into the beautiful southern Andes. These mighty volcanos sky thousands of meters above the fertile lands, hotsprings and protected reserves of Chile’s stunning Araucaria Region.
The backcountry ski descents of Lonquimay and Villarrica offer over 10,000 vertical feet of classic volcano skiing, and we will explore more in the days in between including options such as Volcano Lanin on the Argentina border, Volcano Quetrupillan and more. After a full day of skiing volcanoes in Chile, relax in the thermal hot springs and dine on local meats, fish, veggies and of course Chile’s famous red wines. Each day ends in our comfortable hotel or lodge.
This guided randonee and splitboard journey is open to the advanced skier and split boarder looking to earn his turns and venture into the spectacular world of backcountry volcano ski touring in South America.
- 9 day-guided backcountry ski touring around the stunning volcanoes in Chile
- 8 guests maximum
- 2 certified guides on every trip. Lead ski guides are certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA), the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), or the Argentine Mountain Guide Association (AAGM) Meet our guides
- Soak in volcanic mineral hot springs
- Visit the volcanoes Lonquimay, Villarrica, and more
- Outstanding culture and landscapes of Southern Chile and Northern Patagonia
- Comfortable double occupancy in 3 star lodges
- Trekking, horseback riding, spas, etc. if we encounter poor weather days
- Fantastic dinners and red wine
Such a ski adventure. A true mix of fire and ice!!! – Greg Hawkins, Chile Volcanoes Ski tour guest
Important Trip Notes: The below itinerary is just an example of how we will spend our days on the volcanos in southern Chile. The schedule is set to be flexible due to weather, group, snow conditions on the volcanoes, etc.
Day 1: Welcome to Chile! Fly into Temuco, Chile (airport code ZCO), a 1.25 hour connection flight from Santiago where we will have a private transfer take us deep into the sacred lands of the Mapuche Indians (People of the land). Surrounded by expansive farmland, volcanoes, national reserves, and abundant thermal hot springs, the beautiful area of Malalcahuello will be our base as we attempt to ski tour Volcano Lonquimay. That evening we will have a trip and safety introduction followed by dinner to fuel up for our first day on snow tomorrow.
Day 2: We get an early start with a little help from an excellent breakfast. Based in a large Araucaria (Monkey Puzzle Tree) Forest, Corralco Ski Resort at the base of Volcano Lonquimay offers us easy access to begin our day, getting our legs going with some warm up runs off the ski lifts and some short touring on the southern face of Volcano Lonquimay.
Day 3-4: Our focus for the next two days is to ski tour on the Lonquimay volcano and surrounding zones. Weather permitting, a rewarding climb to the volcanic crater, 2,865m (9,400 ft), takes approximately 3-4 hours. At the top the view is truly stunning. You can see 7 nearby volcanoes, and a distant view into neighboring Argentina.
The descent off the top offers a constant pitch of 35-40 degrees, on classic snow covered volcanic terrain.
The evenings we have options to soaking our legs in the nearby hot springs followed by a well deserved homemade dinner, Southern Chile style. On the afternoon of day 4, we will take a drive (2-3 hrs) to the town of Pucon, our home base for the remainder of the adventure. Pucon is known as the adventure capital of Chile.
Day 5-8: Pucon, or “Entrance to the Mountain” is that and more. This tourist based mountain town borders 2 national parks, a national reserve, and sits on the black sand beach of Lake Villarrica. In addition to skiing Volcano Villarrica, Pucon offers class 4-5 river rafting, volcanic caves, hot springs, mountain biking, trekking in nearby forests, nightlife and much more.
Our focus for the remainder of the trip is to ski the 3-4 nearby volcanoes with a flexible itinerary based around weather and snow conditions. We have options to ski Volcano Lanin (12,293 ft.), Volcano Villarrica (9,317 ft.), Volcano Llaima (10,252 ft.), Volcano Quetrupillan (7,743 ft), and a few other nearby gems.
The touring climbs provides an epic panoramic view of Chile’s Lake District and nearby smoking Volcanic cones. If that’s not enough, when was the last time you peered into one of the world’s most active volcanic craters?
We can finish the days with a sunset soak in the nearby thermal hot springs along side the cold waters of the Liucura River. After days like this, if you still have the energy, you have the option to celebrate in town at one of many pubs and clubs.
Day 9: After breakfast we have a mid-morning check out, and it is off to Temuco to catch your return flight to Santiago. You arrive in the afternoon allowing for connections to evening international departures, and access to numerous central hotels we can recommend for those of you staying a few extra days for sight seeing in Santiago.
Enjoy your vacation and concentrate on the adventure and brilliant culture. We take care of the rest!
- Maximum 8 guests
- Backcountry certified bilingual ski guide (IFMGA, ACMG, or AAGM)
- Avalanche Safety Review
- Backcountry guiding
- Breakfasts and dinners
- Red wine, mineral water at dinner
- Private transportation
- Lift ticket 1st day in Corralco
You are responsible for your inbound and outbound flights (our agents can assist you), required travel insurance, hot spring entry fees, and lunches.
We do not anticipate using the ski lifts other than our first day but should there be the opportunity and it is beneficial to the group, then we may use the lifts at cost to the group.
Booking This Trip
Or call 1-888-565-7158 or contact us via email to book with our office staff.
$ per person.
Payment: A 30% deposit is required at time of reservation. Final payments are due 60 days before trip departure. We accept most major credit cards, PayPal, and bank wires.
- Single travelers as well as small groups of 2 or more guests are welcome!
- If we have less than 5 guests sign up, the trip will have one guide. We require a minimum of 4 total guest to operate the trip.
- When booking your trip you need to agree to our Terms and Conditions detailing our cancellation policy.
- After receiving your deposit you will be directed to an online link to sign our Trip Release Waiver. View waiver.
Arriving and Departing- Airport Details
You need to fly into and out of Santiago, Chile (airport code SCL), followed by a short 60 minute local domestic flight to the Temuco Maquehue airport (airport code ZCO). See this trips itinerary in the Overview tab for details on when to schedule your arrival and departure. We have travel agents we can recommend to help you with your flight reservations and can often get cheaper fares. Contact us for their info.
Meeting The Guides
Your guides will meet you at the Temuco Maquehue airport the first day of the tour. An official meeting time and place will be emailed to you a few weeks before the tour. From there, we head directly up to the mountains, about a 2 hour drive.
On the last day of the tour, we have a shuttle to the Temuco Maquehue airport to catch your return flight to Santiago.
Extending Your Stay
Extending your stay is a great way to get in a few more powder days, check out the urban culture of Santiago, visit a classic vineyard, the coast, Easter Island more. See the Suggested Add-Ons Tab for suggestions.
- Apine Touring or Randonee Ski set up (We suggest an “all mountain” type ski with a waist between 85-110mm)
- Alpine Touring bindings
- Climbing skins (Adhesive glue type)
- Ski Poles
- Ski crampons (for the melt freeze cycle that happens in the spring if we are into a corn cycle)
- Splitboard with climbing skins and split crampons (for the melt freeze cycle that happens in the spring if we are into a corn cycle)
- Extra binding screws and straps are a good idea
- Collapsible trekking poles ( 3 parts)
- Avalanche Transceiver, shovel and probe (Rentals available)
- Boots (good idea to carry on plane if you can. Renting boots is not fun!)
- 35 Liter backpack minimum with suitable external harness straps for carrying your skis or snowboard. Please test before the trip as this is essential!
- Water bottle to fit in your backpack (we prefer water bottles to hydration systems)
- Boot Crampons
- Walking Ice Axe
- Portable tool kit for loose binding parts
- Headlamp (extra batteries)
- Padded ski or board bag. (Da Kine makes good ones that leave enough room for the rest of your gear
- Polypropylene long underwear and wool blend socks
- Fleece, primaloft, polarguad or down jacket. (light primaloft with hood, is our favorite)
- Warm stocking hat (Beanie or Toque)
- Neck gaiter/ face mask
- Wind/waterproof shell with hood (Goretex is recommended)
- Snow pants (Goretex is recommended)
- Ski gloves or mitts (Da Kine)
- Thin windblocker type glove for hiking and touring
- Sunglasses and ski goggles (Smith is our favorite)
- Sun block (AT LEAST 35 SPF) and lip balm
Personal first aid kit to include at least the following:
- ibuprofin or similar for headaches, aches, etc
- Moleskin and band-aids
- Light weight toilet articles
- Prescription medicine
- Personal items for women
- Large plastic garbage bag for wet clothes
- Ear plugs for light sleepers
AND OF COURSE…
- Airline tickets
- Credit card, ATM card, and credit card cancellation phone number
- Starting cash in U.S. dollars
- Small travel clock alarm for those early powder days!
- Bathing suit for hot springs, spas and pools
- Rain jacket, or use your snow jacket/shell
- Portable music and headphones
- Converter and Plug adapters
- Energy Bars
Passports, Visas, Entry Fees
PowderQuest recommends bringing a rubber band or clip to keep all your documents secure in your passport. It is also a good idea to bring a photocopy of your passport to keep separate form the original. Also, keep an extra copy backed up that you can access if needed.
Entering and Leaving Chile
A passport, valid for at least 6 months is required for most countries. A few (not the USA, Canada, UK, or Australia) are also required to have a visa issued by the Chilean Consulate. It is important to check the on the latest visa requirements.
Tourist Cards, good for 90 days, are issued upon arrival and must be surrendered when leaving Chile. Do not throw this away! Keep it in your passport at all times.
Reciprocity Fees: The reciprocity tax to enter Chile no longer applies to USA or Canadian passport holders!
There is a one-time reciprocity tax for Australia ($117 usd) passport holders, upon arrival to Santiago airport. The fee is payable in U.S. Dollars or credit card and is good for the life of your passport. This fee is paid in a separate line, before the customs line, generally to the left as you come down the stairs once leaving your plane.
Required Travel Insurance
Personal travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation coverage is mandatory to travel with PowderQuest. Click for details and to book online
What to Expect When Traveling in South America and with PowderQuest
For most of us who are from North America or Europe, we are used to and expect that things run smoothly. We are not only on time but usually at least 5 minutes early. With the exception of trains, buses and most flights, Chilean and Argentine services are not known for their punctuality.
We provide the following information in good faith so you will have a clear picture of what to expect before you arrive.
Meals and Restaurants
A true highlight to the trip! All meals, with the exception of some lunches are included with your tour. Our guides selection of wine and mineral water is included with dinners on most tours. This will generally consist of 2 glasses of wine and a bottle of water. Should you want to drink more, including beer and mixed drinks, this will be an additional cost.
In addition to the delicious food included with our stay at many of the resorts, PowderQuest guides have selected great restaurants serving everything from local favorites to international. Many guests say they have eaten the best meals of their lives with us!
The norm in South America is lunch around 2pm, a smaller tea and cakes snack around 6pm and then a late dinner. We will usually be having our dinners between 8pm-9pm as most restaurants don’t open before 8.
Extra costs will include lunches not included with your trip, additional drinks and activities outside our described tour itinerary. You are responsible for any airline/airport taxes and charges due to excess, oversize or overweight baggage, including on flights that are included with the cost of the tour.
On the days we cannot get on the mountain (Rain, wind, poor visibility, etc.), PowderQuest will arrange trips such as whitewater rafting, hot springs, snowshoe trips etc, at no extra cost to our guest.
Chile and Argentina are two of the most modern countries in Latin America. With quality foods, no yellow fever or malaria, and an abundance of well-stocked pharmacies (including personal items for women), the only discomforts travelers occasionally have, are upset stomachs and a temporary bowel disorder. This is common with travels anywhere in the world, and can be avoided by drinking bottled water, avoiding side salads, and uncooked foods.
With active tours including full days in the snow and sun, it is important to stay hydrated. Backpacks are great ways to carry your essentials. Da Kine makes great packs. Keeping updated on vaccinations, especially tetanus, is always a good idea. There are no health requirements for entering Chile or Argentina.
Sunburn is always a concern in the mountains especially with the snow reflection and higher elevation. Sunglasses, goggles like Smith Optics, and quality sun block with SPF factor 35 and higher are a must in the Andes.
Frostbite can also be a factor in the Andes. Staying warmly dressed, well hydrated, and regulating body temperature by using layers and ventilation in the outer layers are good ways to prevent the skin from freezing.
Ski Resort Infrastructure
Overall expect later starts than you are used to at home. The 7:00 tram line up simply does not exist in the Andes. Most ski resorts open by 9:00 am but full mountain operations can be delayed until mid-morning for no apparent reason. When there is fresh snow or a current storm, these delays can be even longer. However, due to longer natural light, you can also ski later into the afternoon in South America. Some resorts do not stop running lifts until as late at 5:30 pm.
The ski resorts in the Andes vary from modern with millions of dollars in infrastructure to rustic areas with little more than a small cafeteria and a few tow-lifts. In many ways, we find this positive. This is not written to discourage you from visiting this beautiful part of the world, however, if you are accustomed to North American ski resort amenities, you will find the infrastructure of some resorts we visit more rustic, especially the speed and layout of the ski lifts. South America simply runs on a different pace.
The good news is, we find it all evens out. Some lifts may be slower, however 45 minute lift lines are virtually non-existent in the Andes. In addition, you do not have thousands of skiers fighting for those untracked powder runs. If you come down with an open mind you will find this part of the world fascinating and quite often comfortably relaxing!
Snowboarders should expect to encounter long traverses to access some of the better terrain at several ski resorts.
Weather forecasts are available and our guides are competent in understanding weather maps and local forecasts. However weather is not an exact science and the info available is not like in North America and Europe. Sometimes just like anywhere, forecasts are completely inaccurate.
Winters in Chile and Argentina can throw anything at us from warm and sunny “spring-like” days to bitter cold, blizzard like conditions. Fog can be common at lower elevations, while bluebird skies welcome us once reaching the snow.
Rain is common at low elevations including many of the towns we will be visiting. The resorts generally receive deep snow from Pacific storms and can be accompanied with winds. Preparation for all types of weather and ski conditions is recommended.
There may be days that there is so much wind or snow that lifts close down or simply never open. When the visibility is poor due to a storm or low clouds it is very difficult to see and for safety reasons we may choose not to go out.
Although we do not refund money for unused lift tickets, we do cover the expenses of alternate activities. We have many fun optional activities tucked up our sleeves for when these glitches in scheduling occur. Not a good day for riding in the mountains? How about a day of surfing in the Pacific Ocean, or a relaxing massage, or perhaps exploring Patagonia on horseback?
Sometimes road conditions are poor due to rain, snow, mud etc. Heavy snow and high winds can quickly stack up snow on the roads we travel. Maintenance can be slow so there may be times when you find yourself delayed on leaving our hotel in the morning, stopping to put on chains, or outside pushing the transfer through a tricky spot on the route. Some ski areas we visit have dirt roads. Dusty when it is dry and snowy and muddy after a storm. 4×4 is often needed on the roads to our cat skiing destinations.
Ski Patrol in South America is not always up to international standards. This goes not only for hasty assistance on an injury, but also snow safety. One of the reasons PowderQuest works with certified guides recognized by international guide associations. See our Safety Document for more details.
Groomed runs are not what you find in Aspen or Vail, and mountain hazards and boundaries are not marked as vigorously as you find at home.
Off Mountain Safety
As our guest, your safety is a priority to PowderQuest both on and off the mountain. Security in Chile and Argentina, even in the larger cities is quite safe. Common sense should be used, especially in busy city areas where pick pocketing can occur.
Cell phone coverage and general internet access are surprisingly good. Before your trip you will receive a list of phone numbers of our accommodations and guides where you may be reached in case of emergency. We have done our best to secure accommodations on most tours in areas where there is internet access available but few locations it is either unavailable or slow at best. Take this in stride and revel in the luxury of being disconnected for awhile!
Spanish is the official language of Chile and Argentina. Dialect between the two cultures is quite different. Chilean Spanish tends to be more difficult to understand as they cut their ‘s’, and slang is used in all age groups. Chileans have adopted many words from the English language, and are used in everyday conversation.
Argentine Spanish has greater influence from Spain, even a bit of Italian, and you can pick it out in the accent.
We hope you will want to get to know the locals of both countries. A few Spanish lessons and a phrase book will get you further than you think. Both cultures are patient and are very excited that you want to practice their language. Don’t be surprised if they want to practice their English with you.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The official currency of Chile and Argentina is the peso (Chilean peso and Argentine peso). Both currency value on the dollar fluctuates. For daily updates, click here.
Use of a credit card and ATM’s are your best bet for good exchange rates during your stay. In Argentina some U.S. dollar cash can go a long way if you are willing to exchange on the black market, easily found in most towns. In addition many shops will accept dollars at a higher rate than the official exchange rate.
Although travelers checks are accepted in some areas, the exchange rate is poor, and can often send you running around town looking for places to accept them.
Time throughout the winter months in Chile is the same as EST (New York City). Argentina is one hour ahead.
Measures and Voltage
The metric system is used in Chile and Argentina. For power, 220 volts AC, 50 cycles. Be sure to buy a plug adapter & converter if you plan on bringing electronic equipment. Quality batteries are easy to find, but less expensive if you bring them from home.
Laundry service is available in just about every town and resort we visit, and can generally be dropped off and picked up within the same day.
We encourage you to tip your guides if you feel you have received outstanding service. A typical gratuity varies between 3% to 7% of your tour price, per guide. For example. $4000 trip = $120-$280 per guide.
PowderQuest covers the gratuities at dinners. 5-10% is a normal gratuity in bars restaurants and pubs. Tipping your hotel staff and driver is encouraged if they have provided you with excellent service. Your guides will be able to help suggest amounts to leave for your driver and hotel staff.
We encourage you to embrace your trip to South America with all it has to offer, and if that means that things are not right on schedule, let that be part of the adventure! For more info have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.
PowderQuest has hand selected a mix of comfortable, small to medium size bed and breakfasts and log cabins. Most are family run with cozy beds and include breakfast. All of our accommodations have free WIFI internet and relaxing social areas where you can get to know the group and enjoy a glass of local red wine before heading off to dinner at one of our favorite nearby local restaurants.
Extra time before or after your guided trip with PowderQuest? Come explore modern Santiago, sample the famous Chilean red wines, get in some additional powder days, or head to the Pacific coast offering a unique mix of iconic fishing villages, modern Vina del Mar and hip Valparaiso. How about Easter Island or the northern desert? Chile is more than great snow.
Our staff’s top picks
(photo credit Sernatur Chile) Ranked as New York Times top place to visit in 2011, Santiago should not be overlooked. We host a wide range of hotels, unique city tours, museums, world-class shopping, vineyards, top restaurants and more.
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Why not spend some extra days in the mountains lapping up more fresh snow! We’ll set up your hotel, transportation to the resort, lift tickets and more.
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Known for the giant stone Moai statues and Rapa Nui culture, the world’s most remote island, 2,300 miles off the Chilean coast has been named a UNIESCO World Heritage Site. The volcanic Polynesian island might be one of the most unique places you ever visit.
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Chile produces some of the world’s top wines, including the country’s staple Carmenere. Stroll the vineyards, sample the award winning wines, and take in the vistas of the surrounding Andes Mountains.
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Described as one of the most spectacular areas on the planet, the driest place on Earth, with no recorded rain fall, is a host to a realm of geysers, salt flats, volcanos, lagoons, lunar landscapes and the bohemian village, San Pedro de Atacama. Adventure trips and star gazing are the attraction. Budget to 5 star hotels.
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(photo credit Sernatur Chile) Valparaiso is described by the New York Times; “a destination that encompasses history, art, culture and a vibrant dining scene, all under a canopy of sunshine with a backdrop of postcard-worthy views.” Tack on Vina del Mar or surfing in Pichilemu for a multi day coast tour.
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