The world-famous winter resort of Portillo, Chile, offers excellent skiing (both downhill and cross-country), skating on Laguna del Inca and splendid mountain views. Many European, Canadian and U.S. ski teams train on Portillo's slopes during the Northern Hemisphere's summer. The ski season runs June-September, with August the best month. Portillo is 102 mi/164 km northeast of Santiago.

If possible, you may want to see the Christ of the Andes statue atop a nearby 12,572-ft/3,832-m mountain. The bronze statue, cast from melted-down cannons, commemorates a Chilean-Argentine peace treaty in the early 20th century, but snow blocks access during the ski season. The drive to Portillo from Santiago passes through the scenic Aconcagua Valley along the Rio Blanco, which has some vineyards and wineries along its lower stretches.

Other ski areas in the region include Farellones-El Colorado, La Parva and Valle Nevado. Easily accessible from Santiago, all are less than an hour from the capital and offer lifts and skiing at elevations of 7,500-9,000 ft/2,200-2,700 m. The Valle Nevado resort caters to a young, international crowd.

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