Read skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews on El Colorado that rank the ski resort and mountain town on a scale of one to five stars for attributes such as terrain, nightlife and family friendliness. See how El Colorado stacks up in the reviews, on and off the slopes, from skiing and family activities to the après scene. Read up on pros, cons and other comments in reviews left by fellow skiers and riders. Don't forget to submit your own El Colorado review! Scroll to the bottom of this page to let other travelers know about your skiing and resort experience. For more destination information, click Add to Compare to see a side-by-side comparison of El Colorado vs. other ski resorts (up to 10 total).
Reviews for El Colorado
A ski resort's overall star rating displayed here is not calculated based on a simple average but takes several factors, including the age of a review, into account.
All Mountain Terrain
I publish a magazine here in Santiago called South Pacific Review. My skiing ability is intermediate. I can go down the expert slopes but do not go off track yet. I learned to ski in North Carolina and have never skiied out west in the USA but skied once in Austria. So my experience is limited.
That said I went to El Colorado three times this year and Valle Nevado once. I always went during the week except last year I went on the weekends.
Regarding snow this is just a bad year due to lack of snow. Early this season there was plenty of snow but now in late July there is a severe drought. The snow has melted completely on the Northern sides of the mountains here. But there still is enough snow to go skiing. The termperature at this elevation is maybe 2 celcius at most while down in Santiago it gets up to 23 celcius making quite warm winter days.
Last week I went to El Colorado and spent all my time at the highest elevations. There were literally only four people on the Los Pioneros Slope. The view is fantastic. You can see over to El Plomo whose 5240 meter summit is in Argentina. This slope is steep at the top an easy going down. From there you can head back around the mountain to the next set of slopes where there were maybe 30 people skiing. You can take some very long runs and see no one at all. On this day not many people were skiing the steepest run because the snow had some thin patches. They make snow at the bottom of the resort but not way up there.
Other people have written that the chair lifts here and at Valle Nevado are slow and there are too many T-bars. Well maybe so but at least you are not going to freeze like you would in Pennsylvania or Vermont as it is not cold here. And since there are not much lift lines it does not matter if you go up slowly.
I said at the top that the road is bad. On the weekends when it snows people stop in the middle of the road to put on chains and this causes a three hour delay going up. Plus there is no guardrail in all places. The guy who actually built the road plumged to his death there when he went over the side in his vehicle. So the Chilean government is starting a two year project in 2014 to take out most of the curves and widen the road to three lanes.... Full Review
By David Johnson - CASA Tours
Located just over an hour from the Santiago International Airport, El Colorado is considered the locals mountain in the tri-resort complex of Tres Valles. While not as international as Valle Nevado or as chic as La Parva, El Colorado offers the most lifts and the best terrain park. El Colorado also has the best access to Santa Teresa, some of the most spectacular off-piste, lift-accessed terrain in the Chile.
Although El Colorado receives far less attention than its neighbors, its conical volcanic peak reaches 3333 meters (10,935 feet) and its south facing slopes have an impressive 906 meter (2971 feet) vertical drop with over 2500 acres of terrain evenly suited for advanced, intermediate and beginning skiers and snowboarders. The Cono Este lift accesses El Colorado’s steepest and deepest terrain and provides awesome views of the surrounding Andes. We also take advantage of our private transportation to lap Santa Teresa. Over the years El Colorado has become a favorite stomping ground for our guests and guides alike. Due to El Colorado’s proximity to Santiago it is a featured resort on most of CASA’s Chilean tour itineraries. Our groups spend their nights in the village of Farellones, which is located directly at the base of El Colorado’s lifts.
... Full Review
I went to El Colorado in late August last year (2007) for a few days around the same time as the other poster who saw Shaun White. I stayed in the Puerta de Sol Hotel which is the mid-range hotel at Valle Nevado. Overall, its a decent place to ski for a day or two if you are staying in Santiago, but I'd avoid the Valle Nevado hotels and would much prefer Portillo both for the hotel, food and skiing.
Valle Nevado is big by acerage, but doesn't feel nearly as big once your there. A lot of the terrain is the same, but they do have a high speed that allows you to log big vertial. The trail underneath the high speed is nice before the mountain flattens out. When I was there it hadn't snowed in a week or two so snow was extremely hard. It made going off piste very difficult. Given that Valle Nevado sees a measly 150 inhes of snow a year I don't think this was all that uncommon.
What really compounded the hard snow conditions was extremely flat light coupled with the lack of trees or other terrain features. I don't know if its common, but for the 3 days I skied there there was overcast skiies with strong sun behind then or even worse complete white out. I don't know if these are common, but I was totally unable to see any terrain features even with Pink Lense Goggles.
Since Valle Nevado is completely above the tree line and lacks major rock features the groomed runs are only market by an occasional stick or two. With the flat light it was impossible to tell where the trail was and I often found myself skiing on ice moguls. When I did go off piste I found it diffiult to see these features which made skiing off the groomers impossible.
On the final day we had a white out where I missed the trail to get home on more than one occasion. It was impossible to see the hotel from even 20 feet away.
It looked like there was some good terrain off the upper pomas, but not the variety of terrain, rocks or trees, that you see at some of the premire ski resorts in the world. I'm sure that if the sun was out and it had snowed recently these areas whould have been fun, but in no way transcendant.
I will say however that skiiers right off Andes Express provided massive amounts of open terrain and natural halfpipes. This area was awesome and by the last day I spent all my time there. This area may technially be out of bounds, but it is easy to get back to the lift. The out of bounds signs must keep some skiers away and the snow was very soft. The slopes for whatever reason also got more sun then the other half of the mountain. Anyway this valley whih is huge between Valle Nevado is the best skiing in the Three Valley's region. Once you get comfortable with the undulatiosn you can just rip across what feels like and probably is a couple thousand acres and 2600 or so vertical. Particularly for boarders this is a dream.
There are a few downsides of this area though:
1. Its technically OB.
2. If you ski down the wrong valley you'll end up at the El Colorado T Bar. It's an awesome lift too, but if you don't have an Colorado lift ticket you have to hike out.
3. One you get to the bottom your stuck taking 3 chairlifts to get back to the top. That's the trade off I guess.
To sum it up the trails are ok with nothing great. The one area to skiiers right off the Andes Express is great but its technically OB and difficult to get to.
Hotel: I stayed in the Puerta de Sol Hotel which is the mid range of the three Hotels at Valle Nevado. The whole hotel felt a little run down, but nothing dramatically bad. The rooms were decent and fairly priced, included lunch and dinner. The hotel had some nice amenities: Hot tub, Bar, Pool table, Foosball, Free computers and Wireless. Nonetheless the overall disorganization was unbelivable and would deter me from ever going back. I know that general disorganization is part and parcel of going to South America so maybe this is standard, but this was certainly worse than what I saw in Portillo or the several Santiago hotels I stayed at.
The problems below:
1. When we first arrived check in took 45 or so minutes. I was hoping to ski immediately so this delay was not appreciated.
2. The number one disastisfier was probably the restaurants. Dinners were included at any of the 5 Valle Nevado restaurants. We could eat at whichever we wanted, but had to make a reservation that morning on some computer that had serious difficulty combinign reservatiosn for the two rooms we were staying in. As a result we would repeatedly show up at restaurants and they would tell us that they didn't have our reservation or would only seat two of us. At the French Restaunt La Fourchette, we showed up late and they refused to seat us even though teh restaurant was completely empty. There were actually two other groups who were having the exact same problem, but the restaurant manager still refused to seat us. I think the problem was that the hotel would reimburse the restaurant, but only if we were on file through the reservation system. As a result they wouldn't seat us even when it was obviously not our fault. Since we had made a very late reservation there was no where else we could eat and we would have the same problem anywhere. We were pretty furious nad eventually the hotel security was called by the restaurant. Hotel security finally sorted out the problem and we were seated, but its hardly the experience I like to have on a vacation.
As far as the restaurants go La Fourchette D’or is really phenomenal and I'd make every restaurant there for every night if I went back. La Trattoria was pretty decent, while Don Giovani was a disaster with poor food and services. I didn't eat at the swiss/fondue restaurant, the sushi bar (not an option with the hotel plan) or the Chilean place.
3. Checking in was also a huge problem because thye were totally inapable of delivering our bags to our room on the first day or even assigning us to our rooms correctly.
4. Our keys never worked correctly and I was constantly going down to the front desk to get them exchanged. With three people in a room and all over the resort this created serious difficulties.
5. The hotel is a lot of stories ~10 and there are only two small slow elevators. Even if you wait for them they are often completely full. As a result, you need to take the stairs which is bothersome at 8000 feel after a day of skiing.
Oveall: There are some decent areas or the mountain. The hotel complex has major disorganization problems that by all accounts are not just contained to the Hotel Purerta del Sol. Given the mountain, lack of snow and the crappy hotels there are much better places in South America to go for a vacation. If I was in Santiago for business I might consider getting one of the Ski Vans to take me up for a Day or Two for skiing, but the trecherous road makes this a scarey and time consuming proposition.
... Full Review
I was staying at Vallen Nevado and came over to El Colorado for a day. I'm not really a fan of either, but I wouln't reccomend going to El Colorado. Overall its a mountain with slow lifts and lot of very similar runs. When compared to Valle Nevado you just have slower lifts and more similar runs, with very limited big mountain skiing or real difficulty.
On top of the runs being very similar about 70% of the runs were being used for race training and mostly by junior racers from the North America. I used to race and I can see why it would be a good mountain for basic race training. They have wide open faces with good consistent pitch and I saw one face with probably 13 slalom and GS courses set side by side.
That being said no one likes to have their slopes taken away for traning, and certainly not by high schoolers (I do find it kind of cool when your in South America and see an international ski team training).
As is mentioned elsewhere the only really exceptional skiing is on the East side T bar that connects to Vallen Nevado. I will second that this is some pretty awesome terrain ans is the oppisite West side or Valle Nevado. Both these arease are pretty lightly skiied and it finally feels like a big mountain experience.
You can get some pretty interesting lines espescially from the Colorado side if you are willing to ski down to the road and hitch a ride back up. The downside of this face though, is that the T-bar is at some sort of odd angle. South America is full of odd surface lifts, but this was the worst for comfort. Its on a sidehill and puts extreme pressure on your downhill ski. As much as I enjoyed this face, its really have to go up it more than 3 times before you want to give up.
I haven't been to the town or hotels, but have heard good things about price. I did have a good mid-mountain meal that was better than corresponding options at Valle Nevado so that is a plus.
Good to train, maybe good for a beginner low intermediate, not much other reason to visit. ... Full Review
I just finished reading a couple of reviews here for El Colorado and most of them were about right. Although it ought to be said that even though Farrellones is a tiny little resort. The chutes and rock bands that are easily accessible from El Colorado are quality and rarely tracked out.
Plus in El Colorado there is a place to stay that is slopeside and very affordable... 3valleyschile. They are located in the Monte Blanco building just below the terrain park. It is shared accommodation but they can do private lodging too. There are many amenities included in your stay with them. ... Full Review
Valle Nevado is the big daddy, La Parva is the rich cousin and El Colorado is the little brother in hand-me-downs – that kind of funky, low-key resort where the lifts are slow and the skiers are generally recreational types who stick to groomed runs. But there are a lot of decent steeps here, and few know that El Colorado can be a gem on a powder day – its east face, in fact, usually receives the largest dumps in the Three Valleys area. I’ve been here on a weekday after a storm and felt like there were only ten other people on the mountain. The steep chutes that face Valle Nevado are especially good, with a nearly vertical T-bar lift that can be either fun or a butt-burner, depending on your perspective. During the early season when there is little coverage the wind can whip the west face until it’s totally bald, or turn snow into bulletproof conditions. The resort wraps around a cone-shaped mountain above treeline so you can pick a line anywhere you want – there are loads of off-piste runs here, and they have a snowpark.
The best thing about this resort is that it is closest to Santiago, and that a small and ramshackle village called Farallones spreads out below and offers loads of economical lodging options, including a backpacker’s hostel, the Posada Farallones, and the resort’s own apartments, which I’ve stayed in and can vouch for as being much more comfortable than La Parva’s. There is a small “resort” also called Farallones that connects with El Colorado and is mostly beginner runs and a tubing center popular with nonskiers up from Santiago.
I’d say this is a good resort if you want a) a shorter stay than demanded by Valle Nevado or b) something cheaper on the lodging side. El Colorado sits smack dab between Valle and La Parva, so one day you ski El Colorado, the next buy an interconnect ticket and ski Valle, then the third day shuttle the 10 minutes over to La Parva and ski there.
... Full Review
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