Its hotel sits at an elevation of 2,880 m (9,450 ft) above sea level, and the highest lift reaches 3,310 m (10,860 ft). The lowest lift loads at 2,548 m (8,360 ft), yielding a vertical drop of 762 m (2,500 ft). Ski Portillo has 35 named runs and 14 lifts.
Plans to build the ski area were drawn up in the 1930s. Construction began in 1942 and the ski area was opened in 1949. Several of the ski lifts on the west side of the valley were destroyed by avalanches in 1965 and were rebuilt in time for Portillo to host the Alpine World Ski Championships in August 1966.Those championships marked the emergence of Jean-Claude Killy, who won gold medals in the downhill and combined events. Portillo has since become one of the principal destinations for ski racers to train during the northern hemisphere summer and hosts the national ski teams of Austria, Italy, and the United States.
The summit of the mountain (Ojos de Agua) climbs to 4,222 m (13,852 ft). Nearby peaks include Los Tres Hermanos at 4,751 m (15,587 ft) and La Paraya at 4,831 m (15,850 ft). Aconcagua, the highest peak in the western and southern hemispheres, is nearby at 6,961 m (22,838 ft), which exceeds any peak in Europe, Africa, and North America; only the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Tien Shan in Asia are higher.