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!
- Great powder that usually lasts late into the season
- All trails lead down to a central base
- Plenty of off-piste terrain
- Small size
- Little infrastructure at the base
- Like most ski resorts in Argentina, far from Buenos Aires
What it may lack in size, La Hoya makes up for with its quality snow. Located in the province of Chubut, near Esquel, the resort gets some of the best snow in Argentina, receiving an average of almost 899 cm of dry powder per year. Since the resort faces south, the white stuff often lasts well into October!
Popular with Families
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!
Plenty of Challenging Off-Piste
More advanced skiers and riders will have plenty of fun at La Hoya, too. There's a bounty of off-piste terrain available, especially from the top of the resort. With a bit of a traversing from the top lift, you'll find chutes, bowls, and even cornices if you're up for some hucking! 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!
Getting There: 2.5 flight from Buenos Aires to Esquel Airport; then La Hoya is less than a 30-minute drive away.
- Good infrastructure
- Great tree-skiing through the native Lenga forest
- Terrain for a wide array of abilities
- Relatively small skiable area
- Nearest accommodations are 20 minutes away
- Can be difficult to get to
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. The resort is 19 km – or a 20-minute drive – from San Martin de los Andes, a resort town rich in Alpine charm but big enough to provide just about everything tourists could need.
In recent years, Chapelco has invested in upgrading its lifts, including a gondola and a high-speed quad to help you get the most out of its 720 m of vertical. There's terrain to suit just about everyone, from beginner slopes with magic carpets to bowls and gullies in the high alpine as well as tree-skiing lower on the mountain. Here, the trees are covered in a hanging moss that makes for a unique experience you won't find anywhere else!
Stay in San Martin de los Andes
There's no lodging at the base of the mountain, so travellers hoping for ski-in/ski-out access will be disappointed. Instead stay in the nearby town of San Martin, a 20-minute drive away. Perched on the shores of Lácar Lake and surrounded by mountain peaks, the town's Swiss look gives it an unmistakable mountain town feel. In addition to a vast array of lodging, it offers shopping, dining, and bars for just about every taste and budget.
Getting There: 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires to San Martin de los Andes; then it’s a 45-minute drive from the airport to the resort. Alternatively, it’s a 3-hour drive north from Bariloche.
- Excellent snow
- The longest season in South America
- Top-notch ski lifts
- Distance from Buenos Aires
- Limited lodging at the base of the resort
- Less challenging terrain than some other Argentinean resorts
At the very southern tip of Argentina in the Tiera del Fuego archipelago, Cerro Castor offers you the opportunity to ski at “the end of the world!” The latitude practically guarantees a good, long season, and the unique city of Ushuaia - a port of call for Antarctic cruises - will make a fascinating addition to your adventure!
South America’s Newest
Cerro Castor is the newest resort in Argentina and in fact all of South America. That translates to modern lifts and extensive snow-making in case the natural stuff is slow in coming. In terms of size, Cerro Castor’s 647 ha might ‘only’ seem medium sized, but the 767 m of vertical will definitely keep you busy. Above the treeline there are bowls and chutes but don’t expect the terrain here to be anything as challenging as Las Leñas or Cerro Catedral. Below the treeline, you can enjoy sheltered groomers and tree skiing. Be sure to take in the views of the Beagle Channel and Chile’s southernmost islands across the border!
An Experience Worth the Trip
Ushuaia is another three and a half hours’ flying time south of Buenos Aires. Although there are small cabins available at the mountain, most travellers stay in the town, where a wide variety of hotels, dining, bars, and shops cater to tourists. There’s a shuttle bus to the ski resort, and the road is paved the entire way (not that common in Argentina) if you choose to rent a car and drive yourself. The latitude - 54 degrees south – means it has reliably cold temperatures that keep the snow around for the longest ski season in the Southern Hemisphere!
Getting There: 3.5-hour flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia; then it’s a 30-minute drive to the resort. A single daily shuttle takes longer, stopping at multiple hotels.
- Diverse trails on massive terrain
- Several lodging options at the base of the slopes
- Close to Bariloche which by itself deserves a trip
- Inconsistent snow conditions: lower half of mountain often lacks snow coverage
- Popular resort sees large crowds all season long
- Wind can sometimes close lifts
In Argentina’s lake district, Catedral Alta Patagonia (also called Cerro Catedral) offers the most lift-accessed ski terrain anywhere in South America. Named after the granite peaks that resemble towering churches, Cerro Catedral is a well-developed resort that offers trails for skiers of every ability level. It’s in the middle of Nahuel Huapi National Park, with the stunning views of the surrounding area - including the park’s namesake lake.
Up-to-date Lifts and Modern Amenities
Cerro Catedral has enjoyed significant investment over the years, and as a result, the network of 37 lifts includes some of the most modern in the region. 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. That means a good selection of lodging, eating, shopping, and drinking options right at the mountain. And if that’s not enough, there’s even more available in the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, 19 km away.
Expansive Acreage and Terrain for Everyone
Cerro Cathedral has had a reputation for crowds and long lift lines, but that’s part of the reason for all the investment in lift capacity. And all those lifts let skiers and riders spread out on almost 1,214 ha of terrain and over 1,128 m of vertical - comparable to many of North America’s best-known resorts! There’s something for everyone although the terrain is largely suited for intermediate and advanced skiers with especially good tree skiing and a range of off-piste and backcountry choices for the experts.
Getting There: 2.5-hour flight from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche; then it’s a 25 minute drive or bus ride to Cerro Catedral.
- The best lift-serviced big-mountain terrain in Argentina
- Plenty of slopes for intermediates and exceptional terrain for freeriders
- Lodging and lively après scene at the base of the slopes
- Difficult to access from Buenos Aires
- Weather and snow conditions can cause the chair at the top to close
- Limited beginner slopes
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 as well as a wealth of runs for intermediates to enjoy. Beginners might 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.
Playground for Extreme Skiers and Intermediates Alike
The Marte chair gives access to incredible views and the best advanced terrain on the mountain, though it’s prone to weather closures. If you’re patient, though, this terrain presents vast opportunities for expert-level adventures, so much so some say is as good as any heli-skiing in Argentina. While the snow cover can vary from year to year, the quality is usually top-notch! Yet despite this reputation for extreme skiing, almost half the runs are rated for intermediates - so there’s plenty of relaxed cruising available, too!
Las Leñas’ Lively Village
It’s not necessarily easy to get to Las Leñas, but once you’re there, the village has everything you’ll need. There’s a wide range of accommodations, from hostels to 5-star hotels and apartments, and many of them feature ski-in/ski-out access. The après scene is vibrant, and there are nightclubs that close at 4:00 am (early by Argentinean standards) and even a small casino where you might rub elbows with some of the pros!
Getting There: 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires to Mendoza; then it’s a 4.5-hour drive or private transfer to Las Leñas, or just over 5 hours by bus. Alternatively, it’s a 2-hour flight to Malargue and it’s a 1-hour drive to the resort.
Have you skied Argentina? What are your thoughts? Did we miss any of your favorites?