Do you love snowboarding, but want to try it in an exotic destination? While many places such as Mammoth, CA have had an epic winter, there are many premiere snowboarding places in the Hispanic world. Most people perceive Hispanic countries as tropical areas with no snow, but not all Hispanic countries fall under this definition. For example, Spain, Chile, and Mexico offer world class skiing and snowboarding.
Ah Spain, the land of tapas, flamenco and bullfighting. Spain isn’t generally associated with snow sports, but many locations including the Sierra Nevada mountains offer quality and affordable snowboarding. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are located in the south by Granada, making it possible to snowboard and hit the beach in the same day! In fact, these slopes have 80% sunny days and rarely experience inclement weather. If your local mountain has a short snow season, Sierra Nevada might be just right for you as its season runs from November to May.
Since the Andes Mountain chain runs through Chile, it’s not surprising that this country offers great snowboarding. While there are many great snowboarding places in the Hispanic world, Portillo is one of the best ski resorts in Chile. Approximately two hours north of Santiago, Portillo resort is closing in on 70 years of service. The oldest ski resort in South America sits on the stunning Inca Lagoon, just over 37 miles (60 kilometers) from the valley town of Los Andes and has been ranked as one of the 10 best ski resorts in the world by Ski Magazine and the Travel Channel.
Portillo’s snow season runs from June to October, making it perfect to ski during the Northern Hemisphere’s off-season. Portillo offers a variety of runs for all levels with 15% of the slopes for beginners, 30% for intermediate, 30% for advanced and 25% for expert. There are 35 runs along with excellent off piste and back country areas including the infamous “super c” chute. Luckily, Portillo has 3 hotels which are Hotel Portillo, Octagon lodge, Inca Lodge along with 2 discotecas for the night owls.
Mexico is one of the most diverse countries on the planet and has terrain ranging from desert, tropical beaches, temperate climate and tall mountains. Thus, Mexico has some snowboarding opportunities especially at Popocatepetl. Popocatepetl is a volcano with forested slopes, a snow-capped cone and large crater located 50 miles from Mexico City. It is the second highest peak in Mexico at 17,887 feet (5452 metres) behind Pico de Orizaba at 18,405 feet. The name Popocatepetl, which means Smoking Mountain in Aztec. is affectionately nicknamed Popo. Popo and its neighboring volcano Iztaccihuatl (17,342 feet.) rise above the Mexican capital of Mexico City. They are located less than fifty miles from the city, and are separated from each other by a ten mile ridge.
Monterreal, Mexico (kinda sounds like Montreal) is a small resort town in Mexico’s Coahuila state has good conditions with natural snow falling regularly in the middle of winter (December and January). Monterreal is located about 90 minutes from Monterrey, and could be considered a modest snowboarding destination. However, the local accommodations, restaurants and the picturesque Sierra Madre Oriental mountains, famous for its famous oak forests, make Monterreal a good option for people seeking a mountain adventure in addition to snow sports.
Even though many Hispanic countries are purely located in the tropics, some offer great snowboarding opportunities. If you’re looking for world class and exotic snowboarding destinations, Spain, Chile and Mexico have got plenty of them. Were there other snowboarding places in the Hispanic world that I missed? Please tell me below!