Alpine Team’s Michael Rogan Returns to Deep Snow in Portillo, Chile

PSIA Alpine Team Coach Michael Rogan is finally back at his favorite “summer job,” working as the Director of Operations in Portillo, Chile.

Michael missed traveling to South America for the past two winters in Chile due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. But with high vaccination rates and diminished cases, the country has opened its borders to international travel again.

Here, he talks about good early snowfall at the resort, its attraction to the World Cup skiing community, and why PSIA-AASI members may want to look for year-round on snow education opportunities in the Southern Hemisphere.

What are the top three things about being back?

  1. The people! Chile has a very friendly culture and my friends here are like my friends in the States – just AWESOME humans. I am so privileged to have such good friends.
  2. The place. Portillo is one of the most awe-inspiring places in the world for me. I have a thing for mountains and lakes together, which is why I am so grateful to live in Lake Tahoe and Portillo.
  3. The job. The Purcell family (who own Portillo) allow me to do cool things for awesome people from all over the world in this special place. I get to set up a world-class resort in ways that bring a surprise to our guests every day. I get to use tools like snowmaking, groomers, lifts, and events to make that happen. Portillo takes a unique approach to the resort experience, it’s inspiring and refreshing.

Snowy mountain in Portillo, Chile, and lake reflection.

How awesome is it to ski year-round again?

Working as a skier, teacher, and winter professional all year is wonderful. It feels right and peaceful.

What do your fellow snow pros need to know about traveling to South America to ski and ride this summer?

It is not that hard to do from a health point of view. Follow the government entry guidelines and it is very easy.

Any highlights on the Portillo/South America calendar that people might consider booking for right now?

Starting mid-August, we get national teams from various countries training here. Watching them go through their training camp is a tremendous education.

How good is the early snow?

We just got 35 inches. That, along with snowmaking, is giving us a great start to the season.