The “Colectiva” – Ski School Portillo style
This week’s guest blog comes from Portillo’s Ski School Director Robin Barnes. Learn about the mountain while improving your skiing skills with Portillo’s weekly colectiva programs.
The history of Portillo is long and storied and something those of us who visit frequently are very proud of. But even though the hotel was built in the 1960s, the attention you’ll receive from staff and the feel of world-class skiing is extremely modern and up to date. The hotel can house up to 400 guests, but the vibe is more of a cozy bed and breakfast where someone is always on hand to talk about your day or help you out — even with the simplest things like braiding your daughter’s hair, getting your child a surprise ride in a snowcat, organizing a tour through Chef Rafael’s impressive kitchen, borrowing a ski jacket or goggles, and on and on. Hotel Portillo is warm, comfortable and friendly where you’ll feel right at home very soon after walking through the heavy wooden — some might say magical — doors.
And while the resort provides all the comforts of home, the skiing is awe-inspiring and can often break you free of your comfort zone. Which is why it’s great to participate in one of our weekly ski school groups or “colectivas” to make that time out of the comfort zone as productive and fun as possible.
It’s a tradition at Portillo to immerse yourself in a ski-week environment with one of our talented and passionate coaches. Programs generally start Sunday and run through Friday and can run all day or just mornings. We call our ski-week camps “colectivas” but they are essentially group lessons designed for skiers and snowboarders to participate for the entire week with the same coach. You’ll go out with like-minded skiers or snowboarders to find the best terrain to maximize fun and skill progression. Your coach, or local “professor” as we often all them, knows the best times of day to ski the different pitches, exposures and pistes and he or she will share stories and history of what makes the Andes and Portillo so special. The time spent with your coach will be filled with learning, feedback and exploring while also having time to adventure on your own or take in the heated pool or after-lunch siesta — whataver strikes your fancy. It’s still your vacation, after all. The colectivas allow for the best of a camp and learning environment mixed with some independent study of the mountain, the hotel and the Chilean culture. Video analysis or extra time on mountain can be added to your week as well, just let us know how we can customize your experience.
It’s no coincidence we call our coaches professors. Ninety percent of our ski and snowboard school staff hold the highest level of certification from their country (we typically have 12 to 13 countries represented in our staff of around 40.) Backgrounds of our professors range from former FIS racers to current big-mountain competitors to current and former national demo team and more. The mountains are home for these coaches yet they are high level educators, hence the term professors!
Your professor can not only show you the ropes on the mountain, but they’ll be able to help you get accustomed to the hotel as well. They can accompany you to dinner, organize a game of volleyball in the gym, bring you to the best on-mountain eateries, and more.
We will make sure you are matched with the right professor for the week to help you get the most out of your Portillo experience. Our world-renowned team of professors and our colectiva programs will make you comfortable in the hotel and excited on the snow.