NB The Ski Pucon Resort will not be operating for the 2015 season.
Ski Pucon Villarrica
Ski Pucon is a ski field situated on Volcan Villarrica (ie the Villarrica Volcano) in Chile. The Pucon ski resort is only little and it’s further dwarfed by the vastness of the surrounding stunning landscape that includes dramatic volcanic peaks and massive lakes.
Skiing at the foot of the Villarrica Volcano holds some intrigue, knowing that it’s a very active volcano and one that has a lava lake within its crater. And if you choose to climb up to the rim of the volcano crater, you’ll be just like the volcano….steaming! And the ski down on fresh powder will be smoking! Or maybe the skiing will stink?! OK that’s enough volcano puns!
Pucon Ski Resort Terrain
Ski Pucon is just a small ski area with only 17 runs (10 major runs) that cover a vertical drop of 900 metres (2,953 feet) between 2,100 and 1,200 metres of elevation. The lowermost region of the ski resort has a smattering of trees whilst the upper parts are treeless.
The ski resort is reasonably no-frills. The 6-7 lifts are a combination of chair lifts and surface lifts and they are sloooooow. That’s of course if they’re running and not completely buried!
The ski resort terrain includes some groomed runs and is pretty much suited to beginners and intermediates looking for a fun day. The official piste statistics are 20% beginner, 30% intermediate, 30% advanced and 20% expert. In reality the only advanced and expert terrain is off-piste, including some tasty steep pitches, wind lips, and fabulous lava terrain features such as half pipes and jumps. However considering the top lifts are generally closed, this is just hike-to-terrain.
Alpine Touring Up Villarrica Volcano
The main drawcard at Ski Pucon for advanced and expert riders is the 700 vertical metre ascent (or more considering some lifts are likely to be closed) to the smoking crater of Villarrica at 2,840 metres (9,317 feet). If by some miracle the top lift is open, the ascent to the lip of the steaming Volcan Villarrica takes a few hours, the top part being a little technical. If your legs aren’t wobbly enough from the climb, the stench from the hideous fumes might buckle your knees!
Once at the top you might be able to sneak a peak at the molten magma-spewing crater. The skiing or snowboarding down is fabulously long and includes lots of interesting terrain features created by the former lava flows.
Snow and Weather
Alpine touring to the top can only be undertaken when weather and avalanche conditions permit. And in the south of Chile, the weather can be particularly nasty with lots of wind, storms and precipitation, so good weather days to attempt a summit are not that common. The upside is that these storms can dump massive amounts of snow on Villarrica, and Ski Pucon is reputed to receive 10.2 metres (400 inches) of snow on average per year.
On those rare good weather days, Ski Pucon/Villarrica affords amazingly picturesque views across the volcanoes and beautiful lakes.
Where is Ski Pucon?
The Ski Pucon resort sits on the northern flank of the Villarrica Volcano within the Villarrica National Park, towering above the lakeside town of Pucón. The ski resort is 13km south of the town of Pucon, a drive that takes about 20 minutes.
Pucon sits within the Lake District of Chile. This is in the Araucania Region, 105km southeast of Temuco and 780km south of Santiago de Chile. Temuco has an airport (Maquehue Airport) that receives flights with LAN from Santiago. The flight takes about 1:20 hours.
There is no on-mountain accommodation at the Ski Pucon Resort so most visitors stay in the town of Pucon which provides a variety of lodging such as cabins, hostels, hosterias, and hotels. All budgets are catered for, with lodging ranging from splurge worthy hotels such as the Hotel Antumalal
to a variety of backpacker establishments.
Search for Pucon Hotels
Town of Pucón
Pucón is beautiful with its lakeside location and the striking Volcan Villarrica looming above the town. On fine days you might see smoke billowing from the volcano, and on clear nights it often gives off a spooky glow.
Pucon is the adventure capital of Chile and it is bustling with tourists during summer and delightfully quiet in winter. The upside of it being very touristy is that the town has well developed infrastructure, diverse shopping, and a range of good quality bars and restaurants.
Pucón looks a little like the town of San Martin de los Andes
across the border in Argentina considering the prevalence of wooden architecture, although Pucon only has a handful of chocolate shops. The amount of tourism activity is also similar. It seems like every second shop in Pucon is a tourism place selling adventure activities or trips to nearby hot springs.
Pucon Ski Resort Facilities
Ski Pucon has adequate facilities to cover the basics. The main day lodge is located mid-mountain and is accessible via a chairlift. The amenities and services include ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals, and a cafeteria with a huge deck that offers fabulous views across the lake and up to the top of the volcano.
More Reasons to Ski Villarrica Pucon
This Villarrica ski resort offers a really unique experience, far away from the elite high profile “resorty” ski resorts near Santiago. In Pucon you’ll be able to experience some of the “real” Chilean culture, and on Volcan Villarrica you’ll get to enjoy the splendour of the vistas if the weather gods shine on you.
Advanced and expert riders may get the most out of the Pucon ski resort by including it as part of a Chile ski tour with a guide. Check out the options below.
Summary of Pros & Cons
- The Pucon ski resort is very well suited to beginners (so it’s popular with Brazilians learning to snowboard) and local families.
- Ski Pucon is great for riders who are happy to earn their own turns, with some interesting terrain in the upper parts of “the resort”.
- Villarrica Volcano is fantastic for adventure skiers who can head to the top to see a volcano in action.
- The vistas from the Pucon Villarrica ski resort are spectacular and a little addictive.
- Staying off-mountain in Pucon is a highlight. The town has a great vibe.
- Pucon commonly gets puked on! The volcano gets plenty of snow but the north facing slopes of the ski resort are not conducive to reliable snow quality. The frequent rain and gale force winds don’t help the snow quality either.
- The presence of the lifts just taunts you and makes you wonder “if only”….. if only the chairlifts actually ran during winter. It seems a little criminal skinning up next to a chair lift to access terrain that could be lift accessed. Commonly the only terrain that’s lift accessed is the bunny slopes. And that’s if the ski resort isn’t closed completely due to foul weather.
Tours That May Include Pucon (Villarrica)
No listings were found for Pucon.