MORE THAN JUST A SKI CENTERTermas de Chillan (Chillan Hot Springs) began as a summer resort and now it isknown as one of the best ski resorts in South America.
The Termas de Chillan ski resort is situated 1.600 meters above sea level in the middle Bio-Bio region mountain range. It is a privileged zone for its natural resources that permits the complex to stay open all year with different tourist attractions.
There are two ways to get to the Termas de Chillan: by automobile or by airplane. In the first case take the Route 5 south (only 82 kilometres from the closest city) and Santiago is 489 kilometres away. The highway that was just recently renovated and the route from Chillan to the centre are in optimal conditions; this permits rapid and expeditious access. On the other hand for those who wish saving kilometres of highways should get to the city by airplane and from that point transfer to the Termas de Chillan.
A grand infrastructure
Termas de Chillan is not only a first level ski resort with a grand hotel infrastructure but as well it's a thermal spa of renowned prestige.
Hotels and trails
To lodge, the options are varied in the resort from the luxurious Termas de Chillan Gran Hotel, to the comfortable Pirigallo Hotel and the cozy apartments of the Condominium. While lodging in one of the the passenger can access a variety of services that will make your stay in Chillan to be truly pleasant: thermal pools, restaurants, game rooms, conference rooms, bar, shop, hair salon, gymnasium, squash court, child care and a thermal SPA. Additionally, you will find The Club House where all types of social and cultural activities take place; the dance club, Shangri-La restaurant (international food) and Montañés (Swiss food); a mini-market to satisfy the basic needs of the guests.
Recognized by the quality of the thermal waters, Termas de Chillan has formed a grand infrastructure surrounding this resource while counting with nine thermal pools and three spa centres in where complex cosmetic treatments, hydrotherapy, massages, mud therapy and aromatherapy are performed amongst others.
For those who are not guests of the hotels or condominium and are going to enjoy the snow. Termas de Chillan counts with a Service Centre where there is a cafeteria, equipment rental, bathrooms and a ski school. There are two Rental Ski locals, in the Gran Hotel and the Pirigallo Hotel. In whichever of the three shops you can find equipment for all ski levels and snowboarding for children as well as adults.
Services Center Sector
The resort also offers a ski school integrated by expert professors for all levels and diverse modalities of snow sports: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, Snowboarding and its mini school is the place dedicated for children between 3 and 8 years old.
Termas de Chillan counts with 28 carefully conditioned runs, a total of 35 km and a potential 10.000 hectares of skiable domain.
The skier can access each of the runs by way of nine lifts (1 triple chairlift, 3 double and 5 surface). The runs consist of 30% beginner, 40% intermediate level, and the other 30% is destined for expert skiers which also has a 1100 meter drop. On the other hand part of the skiable domain is thought for those who enjoy skiing off the trails although one must have previous authorization from the resort due to the risks of the sport.
The greatest height in the resort is situated 2700 meters above sea level and it's the initiating point that marks a record for its 13 kilometres in longitude: Las Tres Marias. To get to the beginning of the run from the Service Centre, the skier must take the Don Beno ski lift a triple chair, EL Chueco, a surface platter (be careful with the first pull) that is next to where the Don Beno finishes. Soon after Pillin, a surface T-bar and finally El Fresco that is a surface T-bar as well. The Tres Marias has another entrance that in in the middle of the Pillin lift (to the left) and is convenient when the wind is too strong and the El Tresco is closed. The Tres Marias is a red trail, which is to say that it is a intermediate-advanced level where the majority of the run is small and smooth bumps and of which its last kilometres are hidden in native forest to finish at the base for the El Tata lift (double chair).
Off the trails
Another peculiarity that the resort offer is the longest lift in South America, Don Otto, it is a 2500 meter double chairlift and permits you to get to the red trails (El Huemul 1 and 2, El Embudo, and El Burro) that arrive to the Service Centre, black trails (Condor 1 and 2) and off the trails (Pirigallo and La Mole). For more audacious skiers "Pirigallo" is a steep and very snow-covered bowl that drops to the left of Don Otto through the side of the Chillan Nuevo Volcano.
For those that have a more basic level of skiing and utilize the green trails; they are found principally in the lower zone of the centre but have the "charm" of crossing through the forest that surrounds the hotels. To utilize these trails you can take the El Tata, La Peta, La Mami and Novices lifts.
Being concerned about the total security of little ones, Termas de Chillán counts with a closed area where children can enjoy a run specially conditioned for them with a baby lift and a destined resting place.
What to do to amuse yourself all the time
Yes it is true while thinking of Termas de Chillan the first thing that comes to mind is the hot springs and skiing, the resort has much more to offer during the whole year. Actually, the most traditional of the the activities that is practiced is alpine skiing, that doesn't imply that it is the only activity.
Snowboarding is also one of the activities and as of which Termas de Chillan counts with a spectacular Snow park. Furthermore, those off the trails offer natural cornices and the possibility of trying their snowboarding skills while mastering their way between the trees, eluding natural obstacles and adding a grand portion of emotion on the way down.
For those who prefer other modes of skiing, the centre counts with a special circuit in the lowest point of the centre at 1600 meters above sea level, near the parking where the lovers of Nordic skiing can practice this activity surrounded by the beauty and tranquillity of the area. Those who like randonee, have the same possibilities seeing that there are ample slopes in Chillan Nuevo Volcano and Nevados de Chillan and the possibility of reaching the top of the volcano is a temptation difficult to resist for those who see that skiing is more than just a means of transport.
El Tata Chair lift
The adrenalin and the possibility of dashing through virgin snow are with out a doubt the most attractive of heli-skiing. Thanks to the helicopter the skiers or snowboarders can descend through virgin snow in places that you can't get to unless it's by air.
More relaxing, but not one bit less entertaining is sledding on a sled being pulled by Alaskan Malamute dogs -in the most purest Eskimo style-, or riding on snowmobile through a specially prepared circuit.
During the rest of the year when the snow is not the protagonist, the activities that predominate are trekking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing and observing the flora and fauna of the zone.
Without a doubt, Termas de Chillan surpasses the traditional concept of the ski centre that it "comes to life" solely when snow begins to fall and that it only offers services and products related to it. Termas de Chillan is a unique place where nature and man have joined together to create one of the best ski centres and spa resorts of South America.
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