18 Westgate Drive, Massey, Auckland, NZ • P.O.Box 84003 • Ph: (64 9) 831 0019 • FrPh: 0800 336660

Portillo Ski Resort

7 Nights from $3,999pp

Package includes: return flights from Auckland to Santiago, return airport transfers, 7 nights accommodation, 6 day lift pass and all meals.

Portillo is the oldest ski area in South America and is nestled in the magnificent Andean peaks. Portillo caters for all levels of skiers and boarders with 80% of the terrain groomed on a daily basis. Beginner and Intermediates are offered groomed runs and open bowls and with no crowds and powder snow, it’s the perfect place to learn. Expert skiers have access to vast and challenging steep terrain and off piste terrain.

Portillo operates on a week-long, Saturday to Saturday basis. This all inclusive resort offers packages that include lodging, lift tickets, four meals a day and use of hotel facilities.

Portillo is not like any other resort that you have visited anywhere in the world!! It is magnificent and totally unique.

There is only one hotel on the skifield which is about 2.5 hours from downtown Santiago and nestled in the Andes on the main road to Mendoza, Argentina. The hotel has accommodation for approximately 400 people, in a combination of bunk rooms (for those saving a dollar) through to regular hotel rooms and chalets. There is something for everyone's budget. This also means that there are only ever 399 other people on the whole mountain with you and you get to know them all.

With only one hotel, it is like a cruise ship - you get personal attention from your assigned waiters and you become one big family whether in the restaurant, bar with live music, night club, hot tubs or the non-existent lift queues. The all-inclusive price seems odd at first but with accommodation, service, 4 meals a day (3 courses) and lift passes it is amazing value for money. The food is up there with any Michelin star restaurant and unlike Argentina, there is a vast selection of fish and vegetables.

While the hotel has a 5 star setting it probably wouldn't get 5 stars for luxury rooms. Having said that, they are excellent and perfectly good - especially as you only ever use them for sleeping. The hotel has the most amazing list of amenities in addition to its spellbinding ski slopes. You can climb the indoor rock wall, go to the in house cinema, play pool or table tennis, or even basketball and indoor soccer on the full size court, laze in the heated pools, work out in the gym (if your legs aren't already jelly from the piste), or just kick back and discuss the days skiing in the bar, lounges or library.

The skiing is epic with plenty of easily accessible off-piste runs for the adventurous. When we were there we skied alongside Chris Anthony and Wendy Fisher (a quick google will show you their preferred style of skiing). There is a little bit of skiing for beginners and the kids are well catered for both with ski schools and babysitting, but this is definitely a skiers resort. If you can, try out a few runs of heli-skiing.

If you would like to enjoy a ski-in, ski-out trip of your life and during the NZ winter (no more missing the best 2 weeks of summer up in North America)?

Interested in going? Then check out Warren Miller's "Journey" on Youtube (below). It's a little dated but gives you an idea of what you will be getting.

PRICES ARE IN NZ$. Please note most of these prices are ex Auckland and subject to currency fluctuations, flight availability and dates of travel. High season surcharges may apply.