The Snow Gauge

Running the rule over the ski & snowboard industry since 1995

Why you should ski Portillo, Chile this winter

Posted by on May 11, 2017

Portillo Lake Run

Anthony Sharwood doing some spring preparation on the Lake Run, Portillo. Pic: Glenn Cullen

When discussion turns to which ski resort you’ll visit this southern hemisphere winter the arguments will invariably be of the Noah’s Ark variety.

That is, depending on where you live and your peccadilloes, it will be in a two-by-two format.

Australia vs New Zealand. Victoria vs NSW. Perisher vs Thredbo. Hotham/Falls v Mt Buller.

But for a host of reasons I’d like to throw a third animal into the mix: Portillo, Chile.

I visited the South American giant in August last year and, while far from perfect, it’s a place every skier should head to at least once in their life.

Here’s why.

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Fidel Castro, the ski resort and his missing gun

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016

Fidel Castro

Fidel earned his turns – but this was in Russia. Pic: Alberto Korda

Juan Beiza is a legend of the Chilean Resort Portillo. I got to meet him three months ago and heard about how this one time he nearly got shot trying to give Fidel Castro back his gun. Happens I guess …

Juan Beiza is a man of substance, impeccable habits and has a penchant for making you speak Spanish.

The maitre d at Portillo’s yellow hotel has been there almost as long as the ubiquitous yellow establishment – more than 50 years.

There’d be plenty of tales to tell over that time but in the circumstances it’s timely to relay one and one only: that time he almost got shot by one of Fidel Castro’s henchmen.

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The problem with Lindsey Vonn’s butt

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016

Lindsey Vonn

Nothing to see here folks – it’s all about the skiing, promise!

I could be the only heterosexual male in the free world to make this observation but I have an issue with Ms Vonn’s seemingly rock-hard, well-toned posterior. And I reckon any hardworking female athlete – in any sport – should too.

In case you missed it on Instagram yesterday, the greatest women’s skier of all time posted a short video of her doing single-leg step downs in Portillo, Chile.

So what?

Well, it was in the pool. Her costume was on the brief side. And as you may gather by the clip (linked later on so you can make your own call), the slow and deliberate movements as her barely-clad derriere rises from the water has some not-so-subtle sexual undertones that’d make Benny Hill proud.

So what?

Well, why does the winner of 76 World Cups and four overall titles – perhaps the most recognisable female athlete in the world next to Serena Williams and Simone Biles right now – feel the need to promote herself this way? And what message does this send to any other athlete of her gender?

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Top five places to ride RIGHT NOW

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016

Portillo Lake Run

Anthony Sharwood doing some spring preparation on the Lake Run, Portillo. Pic: Glenn Cullen

September and October don’t have to be no-man’s (or woman’s) land for skiers and snowboarders looking for somewhere to ride.

These are my top five resorts to ride around the globe that will be rocking for another three to seven weeks so there’s plenty of time to get you fill before the northern hemisphere winter starts.

All resorts listed are based on current conditions and my first hand experience, well except for one place I haven’t got to quite yet …

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The world’s craziest, fastest, most improbable ski lift

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016

The slingshot lift at Portillo

Jack and Jill went up the hill at Portillo thanks to the slingshot lift. But did they make it back down?

Oh my lord. I managed to get on this thing. Now how the bloody hell do I get off?

After rattling up a 30-odd degree slope probably two or three times faster than a t-bar I at least find myself still attached to Portillo’s infamous Roca Jack slingshot.

I somehow managed to ride straight over a ski left on the middle of the track but myself and four others now must exit this cross between a poma on crack and a swingers’ club’s idea of a water skiing cable.

Gulp.

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