If the summer is getting too hot for you, look south. Ski season in the other hemisphere is just getting underway. And Valle Nevado, a ski resort at 17,000-feet elevation and snug in Chile’s Andes 37 miles from Santiago, is offering more than 50 percent in savings -- if you can time your visit strategically.First things first: You’ll be choosing from three different properties (at different prices points) to bunk in. High-end Hotel Valle Nevado has ski-in/ski-out access and was renovated from top to bottom in 2010, as well as a spa, fitness center, and fine dining Mediterranean restaurant. Puerta del Sol caters to those traveling in a small group, with connecting rooms aplenty, an outdoor heated pool, cinema, buffet-style restaurant, library, and kids club. Finally, at the budget-conscious Tres Puntas, up to six friends can share a room, when they're not enjoying the onsite pub with live music or restaurant boasting panoramic views of the slopes.
As far as the deal goes, a three-night stay at any of these properties include lift tickets, breakfast and dinner, and access to spa and fitness facilities. At the peak of the season in July, rates can soar to $2,718 total for three nights ($906 per night) for two guests at Hotel Puerta del Sol, the mid-range property.
But if you can be flexible in your travel dates, you can save up to half that cost. From June 26-29 and 27-30, for example, it's just $1,188 total ($396 per night) at the same property. August is a bit pricier, but even a $2,052 total rate ($684), from the 18th through the 21st, is nearly 25 precent off peak rates.
Tip: The south-facing rooms at Hotel Puerta del Sol offer the best percentage savings, though double rooms at the more budget Tres Puntas property can be a couple hundred dollars less per night.
If you’ve never skied in South America, you’re in for a treat. The vibe is more relaxed than at most American ski resorts -- it’s completely socially acceptable to kick back with a glass of sparkling wine on the terrace, linger over a meal, or sleep in before even hitting the slopes for your first run.