Santiago is one of the few places in the world where you can ski in the morning and surf in the late afternoon. We decided to put the theory to the test with friends of ours. We found a Thursday statutory holiday and made a sandwich long weekend. The only goals we had were to ski for the morning and to be enjoying pisco sours on the beach by sunset.
We left Santiago at 7 a.m. sharp and we arrived at the Valle Nevado ski hill by 8:15 a.m. We were at a base elevation of 3,000 metres for breakfast in the carpark, and by supper we would be at sea level.
We crammed into the gondola and headed up the hill to sign the youngest two children up for lessons.
The road is so twisty and curvy (40 hairpin turns) that the road opens one way going up, and then doesn’t reopen to go down until 2:45 p.m. As we were doing Ski 2 Sea in August the sun sets at 6:15 p.m. we would have to race to the car at 1 p.m. to get changed and eat lunch in the car. That way we would be waiting in line for the road to open so we could drive three hours to the coast. There are closer beaches to Santiago so you wouldn’t have to drive three hours, but our favourite one is Mantanzas and from the ski hill it would take awhile.
The truly best time to do a Ski 2 Sea would be later in the season when the sun sets an hour later, but with the sandwich weekend we wanted to take advantage of more days at the beach.
To maximize limited space I skied in leggings rather than the typical long underwear. And the children wore fleece + shell/rain coat combos so they could have the two options on the beach. My husband wore jeans under his snowpants. It was a really warm day so could get away with less bulky winter ski jackets and use beach-friendly layers. We also divided up the suppers and food supplies between the two families and bought fresh seafood and extras on the beach.
We decided to stay on the Mantanzas beach as it is our favourite and our friend wanted to kite surf. Sadly, it was cloudy when we arrived so there was no firey sunset to enjoy. But we had a great time running down to the beach (with the skis still on the roof of our car!) and a few brave ones leaped into the freezing cold Chilean surf.
What to pack:
- camping thin beach towels
- bathing suits
- beach toys
Mantanzas is such a lovely walking beach that we walked into town one day (amazing empanadas on the beach!) and we walked the cliffs the other day. Unfortunately, the breezes didn’t cooperate for our friend to do some kite surfing. Next year!
A typical Chilean ‘tina’ which is a wood-fired hot tub was a luxury we all enjoyed! We used Airbnb for the cottage rental.