Two of the most popular zones for skiing in Chile are the Cordillera located in the latitudes near Santiago and the volcanoes farther south. They both offer great skiing, yet they are very different than each other. Where these zones overlap are some of the most interesting peaks - with some of the best skiing. The peak called Sierra Velluda is one of the best examples of this...
Sierra Velluda stands 11,762-feet above sea-level and is located just to the southeast of the smaller, but more well known, Volcán Antuco. If you are driving down Ruta 5 on a clear day, this is the mountain that towers overhead as you pass through the area of Los Angeles. Velluda is special because it is not a conical peak like so many of the volcanoes that surround it. It is glaciated on all sides and has nearly 6000-vertical feet of relief. It's a fantastic mountain for skiing – but it's not a straightforward objective.
Sierra is a name many of us are familiar with. For example, the Sierra Nevada means the snowy mountains. Velluda however is much more interesting. If you look up Velluda you get the translation of "hairy." But it really means something more like "excessive body hair." How this came to be is anyone's guess.
In 2010, Greg Hill and I made the first descent of the southeast face of Velluda. It was a pretty great adventure and we both said we want to return. It's still on my list. There is so much more to explore on this mountain.
At the moment I am planning a trip with another guide service from the United States to return to Sierra Velluda. Our goal will be to circumnavigate the peak. I have never seen the south side of the mountain, but I know there is plenty of skiing back there. It might be some of the best in Chile. If you're up for an adventure, Sierra Velluda has plenty to offer.