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Skiing in Chile, 7 nights, from $590

South America's historic Ski Portillo resort is ringing in the start of ski season by charging last year's rates.
/ Source: ARTHUR FROMMER'S BUDGET TRAVEL

The Real Deal: Seven nights' accommodations at the Inca Lodge in a shared room with four bunk beds and a community bathroom, a seven-day lift ticket, and four meals a day at a self-service restaurant (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tea with snacks), from $590 per person—including all taxes and fees.

When: Stay Saturday to Saturday, Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26, 2009.

The fine print: Airfare is not included. Based on quadruple occupancy; add $60 per person for triple occupancy; $210 per person for double occupancy.

The room is not meant for solo travelers, but a rate can be negotiated. Airport-resort transfers are not included but can be arranged through Portillo Tours & Travel for $110 per person round trip. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: No deadline; based on availability.

Contact: Ski Portillo, 800/829-5325, skiportillo.com.

Why it's a deal: The package rate breaks down to $84 a night and includes seven nights' accommodations, four meals daily, lift tickets for seven days, and access to all fitness and entertainment facilities. Note that Portillo hasn't raised its prices since the 2008 ski season.

For added value, consider scheduling your trip during one of Portillo's free theme weeks, such as the wine-themed weeks during which the region's wine producers offer nightly tastings at Hotel Portillo (Aug. 1- 8 and Aug. 29-Sept. 5, 2009).

More: Upgrade to the Octagon Lodge for an extra $300 per person or to the Hotel Portillo for an extra $860 per person.