Heading south for ski season in the Andes

Thu May 15, 2014 7:29pm EDT
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By Rosalba O'Brien

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The Chilean and Argentine Andes are a long way to go for a ski vacation for most, but 2014 might be the year to make the trip way south as an expected "El Nino" weather pattern raises hopes of abundant powder.

Although not on the scale of the Alps or Rockies, an increasingly impressive string of Andean resorts host modern facilities, relatively uncrowded slopes, and high-quality ski schools.

The spectacular ridges and peaks of the Andes, the Western Hemisphere's highest mountain range, offer fabulous views, with the days often clear and sunny at some 2,000-3,000 meters (6,000 to 10,000 feet) above sea level. Great local food and wine seal the deal.

The ski season runs from June to October and high season is July and August, when the local schools are on holiday and the snow is usually at its best. If weather cooperates, September can be an excellent option for avoiding peak crowds and prices.

Here are tips for getting the most out of a ski or snowboard trip in the Andes from Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists in all parts of the world offer visitors the best local insights.