Whether it’s a quaint and quiet mountain or South America's largest ski resort, you'll find it in Argentina; where the Andes Mountains rise out of the legendary Patagonia region. We’ve teamed up with the locals to scope out the top five ski resorts with the best powder and slopes!
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by Argentina which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included border closures and a nationwide lockdown preventing non-essential travel. Popular ski destination Las Leñas remained closed for the 2020 season, however, other resorts including Cerro Castor were open to locals with restricted lift operations. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
While it may take a commitment to get there, the epic terrain at Las Leñas makes it worth the effort for many skiers and riders. It serves up Argentina’s best lift-accessible big mountain terrain with plenty of runs for intermediates to enjoy. Beginners may have limited options, but it’s still a popular choice for families, partly because all the trails eventually lead back to the village making it difficult to get too lost. The après scene and village is vibrant here with nightclubs that close at 4:00 am (early by Argentinean standards) and even has a small casino.
In Argentina’s lake district, Catedral Alta Patagonia (Cerro Catedral) offers the most lift-accessed ski terrain anywhere in South America. The resort has had a reputation for crowds and long lift lines, which is the reason for all the investment in lift capacity. Cerro Catedral is now a modern resort that offers trails for skiers of every ability level. The resort is also one of the few in South America to have an actual village, similar to destination resorts in other parts of the world. And if that’s not enough, there’s even more available in the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, 12 mi away.
At the very southern tip of Argentina, Cerro Castor offers you the opportunity to ski at “the end of the world” and practically guarantees a good, long season. That translates to modern lifts and extensive snowmaking in case the natural stuff is slow in coming. In terms of size, Cerro Castor’s 1,600 ac might seem medium sized, but the 2,516 ft of vertical will definitely keep you busy. Although there are small cabins available at the mountain, most travelers stay in the town of Ushuaia, where a wide variety of hotels, dining, bars, and shops cater to tourists.
Cerro Chapelco combines modern lift infrastructure with some of the most picturesque views in South American skiing, with stunning vistas of Lácar Lake and Volcán Lanin. In recent years, Chapelco has invested in upgrading its lifts, including a gondola and a high-speed quad. There's terrain to suit just about everyone, from beginner slopes to bowls and gullies as well as tree-skiing. There's no lodging at the base of the mountain, so travelers hoping for ski-in/ski-out access will be disappointed. Instead, stay in the nearby town of San Martin, for a vast array of lodging, shopping, dining, and bars.
What it may lack in size, La Hoya makes up for with its quality snow. La Hoya is an excellent choice for families. Tickets are relatively inexpensive so you can get the whole crew on the slopes without breaking the bank. The lack of crowds make for a laid-back environment for beginners to get the hang of things, and with all the trails leading back to a single base area, you never have to worry about anyone getting lost! And since La Hoya doesn't attract huge crowds, the off-piste areas don't get tracked out too quickly and fresh powder can last for days!