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Skiing the Chile Volcanoes with Pacific Alpine Guides. Skier descends Lonquimay with Llaima and Villarrica in the background.

Chile Volcanoes

ARAUCANÍA REGION, SOUTHERN CHILE

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Summit descents in Araucanía.

Fall in the Northern Hemisphere means spring skiing in the Southern Hemisphere. If you like high alpine ski touring when it's not even ski season yet, majestic summits, and corn snow, as well as local culture that is as warm as the abundant termas (hot springs)... Araucanía is the place to be.

description  //  ITINERARY  //  DETAILS  //  check availability  //  FAQ

Options include: Antuco, Lonquimay, Sierra Nevada, Llaima, Villarrica, Quetrapillán, Sollipulli, Lanin, Mocho Choshuenco, Puyehue, Osorno and more...

Skiing the north side of Volcán Llaima
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Description

Just north of Patagonia, Southern Chile's Araucanía Region is a land of monkey puzzle trees (Aruacarías), ancient forests, and otherworldly landscapes. Protruding from lush green valleys are white, perfectly cone-shaped, snow-clad volcanos – a vibe that is Switzerland. Many of these volcanoes are still active – Llaima last erupted in 2009 and Villarrica in 2015! Araucanía is also the home of the Mapuche people, the largest indigenous group in Chile.

On this 9-day adventure, our goal is to climb and ski as many volcanoes as we can – maximizing our weather opportunities and enjoying the entirety of the experience. The peaks are all one-day missions of varying lengths, so we carry light day packs, along with a few extra ski mountaineering tools such as ice axe, boot crampons and a harness (no previous mountaineering experience is needed for this trip).

Safety is number one, always. The elements we need working in our favor to safely ski/ride from any of these summits are good weather, low avalanche hazard, and edge-able snow. We've found late September into October to be the ideal timing for these variables to come into alignment.

Guide Tyler Reid has built this program over the last 10+ years, learning the intricacies of skiing in this region while creating a great relationship with our local outfitter Sergio Perez. Since we first started running this trip, we've tested many variations on the timing and itinerary, and we are really psyched on where we've landed with with this current iteration.

Descripton
Skiing on Sierra Nevada in Araucania Chile, with Lonquimay in the background
ITINERARY

This is a sample itinerary that represents the general flow of the trip. There is a high concentration of objectives in this region, so we may alter our plan as we go based on the weather, snow conditions, or the group. Regardless, our goal is to explore as many volcanoes as we can during our time in Araucanía. Because these are day missions, it's completely reasonable to take a rest day if you feel the need at any point throughout the trip. 

 

Day 1 — ARRIVE in TEMUCO

Travel to Temuco, Chile (ZCO) typically takes 14-24 hours fro the US. Airport pickup and transfer to our hotel in the city. Meet the group, explore the city or relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Temuco. 

 

Day 2 — LAGUNA DEL LAJA NATIONAL PARK

We drive north from Temuco to a refugio at the base of Volcán Antuco (9,774’ / 2979m), a stunningly beautiful perfect cinder cone that rises above a majestic lake in Laguna del Laja National Park. In the afternoon we head up for a warmup  tour to get our ski legs under us and make sure all of our gear is functioning properly. Overnight at a refugio. B, D

 

Day 3 — SKI VOLCÁN ANTUCO

Antuco  //  summit: 9,774’ / 2979m  |  vertical ascent: 5,100’ / 1554m

With a semi-alpine start we head up from the base of a small ski area on the northwest side of the mountain, gaining a broad shoulder that leads to the final summit pitches. Unparalleled summit views are followed by a huge descent. Hang out by the lake in the afternoon. Overnight at the refugio. B, D

 

Day 4 — MALALCAHUELLO

In the morning we drive four hours south to the beautiful village of Malalcahuello. Options for afternoon activities include skiing at the local ski area, Corralco (a training site for the US Ski Team), visiting the local termas (hot springs), or exploring the village. We settle into our accommodations at a beautiful ranch run by our local outfitter, Sergio. Overnight in Malalcahuello. B, D

 

Day 5 — SKI VOLCÁN LLAIMA or SIERRA NEVADA

Llaima  //  summit: 10,630' / 3,240m  |  vertical ascent: 6000'

Sierra Nevada  //  summit: 8,379' / 2554m  |  vertical ascent: 3800-4600' / 1158-1402m

These two mountains make up Conguillio National Park, and we’ll chose the best objective based on weather and snow conditions, as well as the snow line elevation (affects how close we can drive to the different approaches). Both are amazing descents and longer missions - expect a big, rewarding day in the mountains. Interesting fact: Llaima last erupted in 2009. Overnight in Malalcahuello. B, D

 

Day 6 — SKI VOLCÁN LONQUIMAY

Lonquimay  //  summit: 9,400' / 2,865m  |  vertical ascent: 4600' / 1402m

We start from the base of the Corralco ski area. Depending on energy levels, we have the option of going human-powered the whole way, or using the lifts to access the upper mountain. The final 1500’ ascends an aesthetic arete to the summit. Lonquimay has a classic crater at the top that can be explored on a nice weather day. B, D

 

Day 7 — SKI VOLCÁN VILLARRICA

Villarrica  //  summit: 9,380’ / 2,860m  |  vertical ascent: 4700’ / 1433m

First thing in the morning we drive south to Villarrica; the most popular volcano in this region and one of the most active. Another classic cone, it towers above the tourist town of Pucon and Lago Villarrica. Pucon is a hub for outdoor activities in this region, with great restaurants, souvenir shopping, and termas (hot springs) a short drive away. B, D

 

Day 8 – SKI VOLCÁN QUETRAPILLÁN

Quetrapillán  //  summit: 7,740' / 2,360m  |  vertical ascent: 4400’ / 1341m

A short drive from Pucon, Quetrapillán sits between the Villarrica and Lanin volcanoes. In some translations it means "blunted" – looking like one of those perfect cinder cones had the top removed. 

Day 9 – RETURN TO TEMUCO

In the morning we return to La Araucanía International Airport for outbound flights.

ITINERARY
Skiing from the summit of the Chile Volcanoes on our guided program.
DETAILS
View from Llaima towards Sierra Nevada in Parque Nacional Conguillio.

DETAILS

COST INCLUDES

  • 7 days of guided ski touring in Chile's Araucanía region

  • 8 nights lodging (double occupancy)*

  • Breakfasts and dinners, as stated in the itinerary

  • Ground transportation roundtrip from Temuco

  • Lift passes for ski area accessed days

* single occupancy upgrade available at additional cost

NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights to/from Chile

  • Lunch food, dinners in Pucon, and alcohol

  • Additional activities outside of the itinerary

ARRIVAL

Fly into Temuco, Chile: La Araucanía International Airport (ZCO). Most departures from the US require leaving a day early. Travel times from the US average from 14-24 hours depending on connections.

When you arrive in Temuco you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to our hotel.

 

DEPARTURE

We finish the trip in Temuco, arriving in the morning from Pucon. We recommend planning outbound flights for no earlier than 11am (a custom transfer can be arranged should you need to fly out earlier).

PRE-TRIP INFO

CHILE VOLCANOES

2023 DATES

October 16-24, 2023

2024 DATES

Sept 28-Oct 6, 2024

Oct 6-14, 2024

9-DAY COST

$3800

CUSTOM DATES

Custom dates and itineraries are available for private groups and individuals. Please contact us for more info and availability.

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Chile Volcanoes FAQ

What are the qualifications for this trip?

Previous backcountry touring experience, advanced downhill skiing ability, and excellent physical fitness are the key ingredients for this adventure. You should be confident with your uphill touring skills and systems. In Chile we will likely encounter a wide range of high mountain snow conditions – everything from hero snow to more challenging conditions at various timings and elevations. Fitness wise, expect days ranging from 4000-5000 vertical feet (1200-1500m).

What's the weather like?

We've experimented with the timing of this trip over the years and have had the best luck with late September into October for more consistent, stable weather windows. The later you go, generally the better the weather, but this is offset with rising snow-lines and the need to walk in trail shoes with skis/board on your back (depending on the year).

What's the snow like?

Generally, think melt-freeze spring conditions. Ideally we time our ascents to be skiing sun-softened corn on the descent. If we are skiing corn off the top of a volcano, it usually means the lower flanks might be a bit too soft – but all part of the grand spring skiing equation. We've also experienced great powder skiing in this region before, as well as everything in between.

What skis/splitboard should I bring?

Skis: We recommend something in the zone of 90-105mm at the waist. You can go wider (less edge hold) and you can go narrower (less flotation) but we've found the 95-100mm waist to be the sweet spot for this trip. Ski length is a personal preference.

Board: A splitboard you know and love, with good edge hold (not a powder board).

I've done a lot of ski touring but no mountaineering, or ski mountaineering. Is this still a reasonable trip for me?

Definitely. Basic ski mountaineering skills will be taught/reviewed along the way. For the most part we are just skinning or bootpacking with some additional tools thrown in to help us feel extra secure.

I'm an expert skier but fairly new to ski touring. Is this an appropriate trip for me?

Unless you are interested in a private trip, we recommend getting at least one solid season of ski touring under your belt first (10-20 days) so that you are totally confident in your gear, and your uphill travel abilities.

I have my own group – can we put together our own custom trip?

Absolutely. Send us a message and we'll put together a quote for you .

faq
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