nice modern facilities, great for kids
obnoxious clientele, lots of learners, too many j-bars
I didn't love Valle Nevado. Everything - facilities, verticality, snow - was fine, and it's the beautiful andes so i feel conflicted about complaining, but there are some pretty nagging problems.
the terrain is lazily maintained and this is frustrating upon considering the potential of the terrain if staff did anything to improve or even just maintain it. there are also impossible to avoid butt pulley lifts which are run irresponsibly fast and injure riders. the clientele we encountered were incredibly obnoxious in most regards, but especially in rules of the road on-piste - and there were a ton of newbs all over the mountain in addition. All of these problems slowed us down and diminished our enjoyment significantly.
the most significant difference of Valle over its competition is that its lodges and facilities are the most modern of any of the Chilean ski areas, and it's quite comfortably laid out from a logistical perspective. this plus a large lessons program may explain its popularity with families.
when we were here over several days in August 2010, the powder and coverage was just OK, we fared much better at La Parva.
other things to keep in mind:
-in this part of Chile - try to ski straight through 10-2. any earlier is crusty, and at 2 it becomes slush o'clock
-trails are barely marked - usually only a single metal stick with the color of the terrain difficulty
-skiing above the treeline means goggles with good contrast are hugely important