To climb and ski Lonquimay makes for a great day. It is not very technical. Starting at a small, but developing, ski resort, the first 3000-vertical feet of touring is a fairly easy skin on an easy grade, without too many quick turns. Eventually you gain a ridge and sometimes crampons are required, but it is still pretty easy walking. The total vertical gain for the day is just over 4000-vertical feet. The summit is classic, with views of other volcanoes to the north and south.
The skiing can be world-class. Lonquimay is renowned for getting some of the lightest, driest powder in Chile. I don't know exactly why this happens here, but it has certainly been my experience as well. The descent is basically 4000-vertical feet of consistent pitch! It seems to go on forever. And of course, you'll wish it would never end. I've never seen anyone arrive to the bottom not smiling from ear to ear.
In my opinion, Lonquimay works really well as a warm up for more experienced groups. These groups may go on to ski Villarrica, Llaima or Osorno later. It also works as a grand finale for less experienced groups. Even if you have never skied big peaks before and have limited experience in the backcountry, a combination of Casa Blanca, Mocho-Choshuenco and Lonquimay can be a great week.
Lonquimay has the added benefit of being in one the oldest, most accessible Araucaría forests in Chile. Entering the park we pass through a forest with trees that are over 3000-years old! It is a special place indeed.
If you're headed to Chile to ski volcanoes, make sure you allot time for Lonquimay. It is a gem – a unique experience in Chile.