For those of us that love the slopes, the fresh mountain air and that early morning downhill run through untouched powder, skiing (and snowboarding of course) is a passion and an addiction that is hard to ignore.
When the northern hemisphere slopes close in spring though, fear not, as you have only to set your sights further south to have the chance to still fit in your mountain sport fix.
Both Chile and Argentina offer some of the continent’s very best piste’s, back-bowls and challenging terrain for all levels. In Argentina, you can head to the Lakes District to find alpine-like pretty small towns with wooden chalet buildings and stunning landscapes that make you feel like you might be in Switzerland were it not for the condor flying overhead.
Chile’s classic resorts are more modern and purpose built but the terrain takes you to the next level for more advanced skiers and riders.
If, however, you really want to get to some of the Andes most sublime mountain terrain where yours’ and your companions’ tracks are the only ones you will see, then you need to take to a more extreme form of transport than a chairlift.
If you like your skiing challenging, personalised and when only the very best private mountain guide will do, then there is a unique experience that you will love.
Take to the skies by helicopter to access virgin slopes deep in the Andes for some of the most exhilarating mountain descents you will ever make. The expert local guides will take you out for some action-packed days in untracked powder, across glaciers and down backcountry bowls.
From a luxurious lodge deep in the heart of the mountains and next to a stunning National Reserve, a day spent heli-skiing or snow-shoeing can be followed by a relaxing dip in a hot tub, a wonderful massage in their spa and some very fine dining indeed. Even the lodge itself is accessible only by 4x4 or helicopter for a truly extraordinary mountain retreat.
As well as this unique heli-skiing lodge, there are some other unique and exhilarating mountain ski experiences. Head to the remote and inaccessible Arpa Valley from Santiago, stopping at a delightful hotel that also has its own thermal hot springs (perfect for a post-piste soak!).
Instead of lifts, your unique transport is by snow-cat vehicle and then a hike along a breathtakingly beautiful ridge for some unparalleled descents of up to 4,000 vertical metres in the shadow of Aconcagua, South America’s highest peak and with views down to the Pacific Ocean.
Whichever, experience you choose, spend a few days skiing in the mountains of Chile in some of the world’s best untracked powder. The next day, you could then find yourself by the ocean enjoying a balmy sunny day sipping Sauvignon Blanc or exploring the vineyards of the Casablanca Valley nearby.
Perhaps head north to the driest desert in the world to Atacama where sumptuous hotels offer a mix of active adventure from hiking, cycling and horse-riding amid stunning red-hued landscapes and perfect clear warm and sunny days in winter.