I first skied the Puyehue crater in 2010. The next year a major eruption occurred two kilometers from the crater and the ash made a real mess of the entire region. I haven't had a chance to go back until this year – it was also my first opportunity to guide the trip. I would say it was worth the wait.
This is a mind-blowing experience. It begins with a three-hour horseback ride from the valley to a small plateau where a very rustic refugio is located. This is typically the snow line, but during our trip we had to walk ten-minutes each day to get to the point where we could skin. But this meant we could eat breakfast and drink beer in the evening in the grass, which is always kind of nice. We had three-days of great weather, which means we skied multiple aspects of the crater and the outside flanks of the peak.
The crater is legitimately steep, with some lines over cliffs and other hazards. There's no "easy" way in, but there are some lines with less hazard below. The runs aren't long, but they are dramatic. I like to write, but I really struggle to find the words to describe how much fun this was to ski and guide.
The flanks of the peak are not as steep, but they are much longer runs. We spent two-days shredding long, easier runs in great spring snow. Sometimes stress-free is fun, too. ;)
I'd say our timing was perfect. This is a great trip for very strong downhill skiers looking for a true adventure in the very end of September or early December. Warming up on Volcán Casablanca and finishing the trip with either Osorno or Villarrica makes for a perfect eight to ten day itinerary.