The Super C in Portillo

| June 29, 2016 << Back

The ski terrain in Portillo is seemingly endless. One of Ski Portillo’s bona fide gems is the world-renowned Super C Couloir. It’s an absolute classic ski and snowboard line that towers above Portillo’s resort. A backcountry line that requires a lot of effort to access, the Super C is a bucket-list run for diehard skiers and snowboarders who make the pilgrimage to Chile.

The climb starts at the top of the Roca Jack poma. From there, it goes vertical up the Roca Jack couloir to a puckering traverse across a close-out chute before making the final push up to the saddle of Ojos de Agua mountain. With pristine views of Aconcagua—the largest mountain in the world outside of the Himalaya—and 12 other 6,000-plus meter peaks, ascending the Super C is an unreal experience in itself. Getting to the top the Super C requires work. You have to start the two-hour bootpack early in the morning after sliding off the Roca Jack, Portillo’s notorious, carnage-causing five-person platter lift.

Super C Chile

After the strenuous and challenging hike to the top of the classic line, the reward is an unforgettable descent. One by one you drop into the Super C, Chilean powder rising like smoke with each turn on powder days. Vertical rock walls define the couloir’s entrance, so once you’re in, you’re committed. After the blind rollover entry, the slope steepens to a 45-degree pitch. It’s like looking down the barrel of a gun as we link turns in the tight, seemingly endless couloir. Eventually you get spit out onto a wide-open, untracked apron, and arc super-G turns in knee-deep powder back to the hotel’s dining room.

Don’t believe us? Don’t worry. Here are personal accounts from some of skiing’s brightest stars and world-famous pros about the classic line in Ski Portillo: The Super C…

Pro skier Ingrid Backstrom:

“The Super C is one of the coolest lines I’ve skied anywhere,” says Backstrom. “It’s not for everyone—it’s steep, high consequence, and often a no-fall zone if conditions are firm. Also, it’s a long hike to get there, especially when the snow is good and deep. But to be able to ski a huge line like that from a ski area and get 5000 vert and come back to all the creature comforts is pretty spectacular. But, if I’m not skiing the Super C, my favorite run in Portillo is Garganta. I can lap that run all day long!”

Skiing in Chile

Big-mountain skiing legend Chris Davenport:

“The ‘C’ is one of the best lines I’ve ever skied,” says Chris Davenport. “It’s one of the world’s most aesthetic couloirs. For me ski mountaineering is about finding the beauty in a line and the Super C has it all—a fairly demanding climb when you’re putting in the bootpack, and the reward is such a beautiful line. It’s steep and committing. It has so many sections and zones. There’s no run in the world like it that I have found. It’s an amazing visual experience looking down on the switchbacks [leading to the Hotel Portillo] from the top of the couloir. It feels like you’re being pulled down into the valley below.”

According to Ski Portillo’s Resident Mountain Manager Michael Rogan:

“I remember being asked if a guest could use the heli to get to the top,” says Michael Rogan. “The answer was ‘no!’ If you want to ski it you have to earn it by making the climb.”

Chris Davenport Portillo

According to professional skier and model Sierra Quitiquit:

“My favorite line in Portillo is the Super C couloir. It’s a 5,000-foot line with beautiful rock walls. I got to ski it last summer with Chris Davenport, who’s pretty much a local there. We skied it top to bottom and it’s a leg burner!

Jess McMillan remembers the first time she skied the Super C:

“My favorite moment in Portillo was skiing theSuper C last year in a meter of powder,” says Jess McMillan. “The Super C is an iconic line that has eluded me the last 12 years. Finally, last year, conditions were prime. The bootpack to the top was a little unnerving, exposed and we spent some time wallowing in the deep snow, but it was worth the effort: 5,000 vertical feet of steep untracked powder. The memory of skiing the Super C will keep me coming back for more years.”

US Ski Team alum, pro skier, and camp found Keely Kelleher talks about Ski Portillo’s classic:

“My favorite line has definitely been the Super C Couloir. I have been fortunate to ski the Super C twice with some of my favorite people,” says Kelleher. “The views of Aconcagua from the summit and 5,000 feet of couloir skiing are unbeatable.”

Ski Portillo Chile

Pro skier Marcus Caston:

“The Super C is one of the greatest ski lines on the planet,” says Caston. “After a tough hike you are rewarded with views of Aconcagua and one of the longest, most aesthetic chutes for a sustained five-grand. I mean come on…”

Excerpts from the introduction were taken via Skiing Magazine and Powder Magazine.

Here are three recent articles about the Super C that were published when the GoPro edit was released:

“Magic of the Super C” by Powder Magazine

“Davenport and Quitiquit slay Portillo in stunning new GoPro video” by Freeskier Magazine

“WATCH: Chris Davenport Skis One Of The Best Lines On Earth (Portillo’s Super C)” by Unofficial Networks