The Best Places to Ski in Argentina

Backcountry skiiing near Cerro Catedral

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Argentina is one of the best ski destinations in the world. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, want a full-service lodge by an urban center or prefer remote backcountry huts, Argentina's ski resorts cater to all abilities and preferences. The terrain is diverse and the landscapes unbeatable. Active volcanoes, monkey puzzle tree forests, giant pinnacles of snow, and shimmering lakes are just a few of the sights along runs here. Many of the best places for winter sports will be in the Patagonia region, where the snow will be drier than on the Chilean side of the Andes. The season runs from mid-June to the end of October, though the sweet spot is mid-July through mid-September

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Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia

Bariloche

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The largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere, Catedral contains powdery spires shaped like a Gothic cathedral, from whence it took is name. Skiers can glide down 53 well-signaled runs or opt to utilize the surrounding area’s refugio (hut) system for lodging on multi-day backcountry trips. Patrons can rent or buy equipment at the resort, and book classes at the ski school. Varieties of skiing available include: alpine, Nordic, randonée, and off-piste. Snowboarding, sledding, and paragliding are also offered. Though open year-round, the high season is around mid-June to mid-October. Located just 5 miles outside of Bariloche, the resort can be easily reached by car or bus.

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La Hoya

Pico de Montaña in Chubut

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Famed for having one of the longest ski seasons in Argentina and some of its best powder (thanks to its southward facing orientation and subsequent lack of sunshine), this family-friendly ski resort is located in the province of Chubut. Come here May through October for alpine, Nordic, randoneé, and off-piste skiing, as well as snowboarding and snowshoeing. All of the 24 trails lead back to a single base, and lift tickets are fairly inexpensive. Fly from Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery Airport to the nearby town of Esquel to get there. The lack of crowds, wide beginner tracks, and ski and snowboard school make this a great option for novice skiers, but it’s not only for beginners. More advanced skiers will come for the chutes, bowels, and dry powder of the Fly Park, a terrain park of three sections for different experience levels of off-piste skiing.

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Las Leñas

Centro de ski Valle de Las Leñas

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Big mountain lines, easy access to backcountry skiing, and a strong nightlife scene make Las Leñas one of the most famous ski resorts in Argentina. This is the place for a cat skiing tour and spying pro ski and snowboarding athletes. While mostly suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, it also has routes for beginners. The season runs early June through late September, and the quality of snow, especially in the upper sections, is said to be some of the best in all of South America. Spend all day on the slopes, then head into the village of Las Leñas for clubbing until 4 a.m. To get there, fly from Buenos Aires to Malargüe, then take a bus or drive about an hour to Las Leñas.

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Cerro Castor

Winter Resort Cerro Castor, Ushuaia

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The world’s southernmost ski resort, Castor has one of the longest ski seasons in Argentina, from mid-June to mid-October, and kicks off with the Longest Night in the World Festival. Castor’s 33 well-marked trails cater to all skill levels from beginner to pro, though 60 percent of the runs are graded as beginner or intermediate. Alpine and off-piste skiers, bi-skiers, outrigger skiers, split boarders, and snowboarders all come to ride Castor’s high-quality powder. The resort houses several ski and snowboard rental facilities, medical services, a ski and snowboard school, and multiple coffee shops. Reach it by flying into Ushuaia’s international airport, a mere 15 miles away from the resort.

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Cerro Chapelco

Off-piste skiing in Chapelco, San Martin de los Andes, Argentina

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Chapelco has the comforts and modern amenities of a large ski resort, yet it’s mid-sized. Adrenaline junkies will want to cat ski some of its great off-piste terrain, and those sticking to alpine skiing can still enjoy the forested scenery and good-quality powder. The resort offers 22 trails of varying difficulty (with some of the best terrain for intermediate skiers in the country) and 2,360 feet of vertical drop. Located in Lanín National Park, the town of San Martin de los Andes is only 12 miles away and offers plenty of dining and entertainment options. The season runs from late June to mid-October. Medical services, a ski school, and equipment rentals are all onsite. Also, it’s the only Argentine ski resort powered by renewable energy.

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Cerro Caviahue

A man skis down to the small remote town of Copahue, Argentina

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Come here for skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, or soaking in hot springs. Located in Neuquén Province, the resort sits on the side of Copahue Volcano which can be heard rumbling during evening soaks in the nearby town of Copahue’s mud hot springs. The terrain is ideal for beginners and types of skiing offered include alpine, Nordic, and randonée. The season runs from mid-June to the end of September and, other than the month of July, has very few crowds. It's also much cheaper than the larger the resorts. Fly from Buenos Aires to the city of Neuquén, then rent a car, get a bus, or hire a transfer service to go the 224 miles to Caviahue. There’s a ski school and equipment rentals on site. Check out the Torchlight Parade on Fridays, in which skiers carry torches down the slopes, symbolic of both of greeting new visitors and saying farewell to those leaving.

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Mallin Alto

Domes at Mallin Alto

Mallin Alto

 

A backcountry paradise, go here if you want to ski virgin powder in the middle of the Patagonian wilderness. Though it’s only around 14 miles from Bariloche, the journey there involves fording a river multiple times, then snowmobiling or quad track biking to the base. Patrons can stay in stylish geodesic domes and enjoy unlimited wine and jacuzzi when not backcountry skiing. There are no lifts, and it's definitely for the intermediate to advanced skier or snowboarder. The season runs June through November. The closest airport is in Bariloche.

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Baguales Mountain Reserve

Baguales offers prime backcountry skiing and snowboarding for advanced riders. A typical day here consists of cat skiing 14 to 20 runs with descents of 3,500 to 4,000 meters (11,482 to 13,120 feet). Costs include avalanche safety gear, UIAGM certified guides, return transfers from Bariloche, located about an hour north of Baguales. Equipment can be provided for additional costs, but patrons can bring their own, too. Bagueles has a refugio system of six huts, complete with WIFI and meal service, making only carrying equipment necessary from hut to hut. The season runs from June to October, and the closest airport is in Bariloche.

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Cerro Bayo

Snowcapped Mountains Against Clear Blue Sky in Villa La Angostura

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A small, but fairly modern resort, Bayo totes itself as “boutique”, meaning it’s not cheap, but it’s less crowded than Cathedral or some of the other big resorts. Ski through forests and see beautiful views of the surrounding lakes on its 22 marked runs. The closest town is Villa La Angostura, just over 50 miles from the airport in Bariloche. From June to October, winter sports enthusiasts can go alpine and off-piste skiing, as well as snowboarding. The resort also offers a ski and snowboard school and has instructors who can teach adaptive skiing for those with physical, mental, or sensory handicaps.

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Batea Mahuida Snow Park

Cumbre Batea Mahuida

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Come to this snow park to ski on a volcano and support indigenous people. Managed by the Mapuche Puel community, Batea Mahuida slopes are wind free and have large amounts of snow, making it suited for learning alpine or cross-country skiing. The season runs from June to October. Due to its smallness, multitude of easy runs, and low price tag, Batea Mahuida is super family friendly, albeit remote. Fly to the city of Neuquén from Buenos Aires and rent a car to go the 230 miles to Batea Mahuida. From the top of the snow park, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy magnificent scenery, including: Aluminé and Moquehue lakes, the domes of several volcanoes, and part of Chile. There’s no accommodation on Batea Mahuida itself, but nearby Villa Pehuenia offers several options, as well as winter excursions like ice diving.

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