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TOP 10 Ski Resorts in South America

TOP 10 Ski Resorts in South America

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TOP 10 Ski Resorts in South America

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Heading down to South America you have to decide where your turns are gunna lie. So where’ll it be? Portillo? Catedral? Lenas? Did we miss your favorite?  Here’s a quick rundown on what you can expect to find at some of our favorite Southern destinations.

1. Cerro Catedral

 

The views alone at Catedral put it at the top


 

Number of Lifts: 38

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 22 km to Bariloche

Vert: 1150m (3773)

Skiable Terrain: 2965 acres

Terrain Park: Yes (snow permitting)

Country: Argentina

Located farther south than many of the resorts, Catedral is located just outside Bariloche.  The resort skiing here is rad, and even radder when Nubes is open.  Plenty of steep terrain and an impressive vertical drop make for some leg burning hot laps. And when things get chopped up after the storm, there is sidecountry to certainly satisfy.  Zones such as Laguna and Little AK will keep you entertained for seasons to come.

If the skiing isn’t sick enough for ya, your also a mere 22 kilometers from Bariloche, a city of almost 200,000 people.  Seven nights a week there is a raging party waiting for you at Will Kenny, Dusk, or any of the other of the many night clubs. Combine these clubs with the fact that there seems to be more hot girls per capita in Argentina than anywhere else, and Bariloche is sure to be a good time.

2. Valle Nevado, El Colorado, and La Parva

Valle Nevado Base Area

Number of Lifts: 13 in Valle Nevado, 20 in El Colorado, and 15 in La Parva

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 59 km to Santiago

Vert: 906m (2971 feet)

Skiable Terrain: 2500 acres (El Colorado)

Terrain Park: Yes

Country: Chile

Located on the other side of the Andes in Chile, this trifecta of resorts certainly offers some terrain to entertain.  Host of this years Eye of the Condor competition, there’s certainly have a thing or two to jump off (including parking garages).  Reports have come back that these resorts lack some of the gnarly exposed lines that can be found elsewhere in South America, but there are a few mini-golfers to keep ya entertained as well as intermediate terrain to-boot.   And the fact that the three resorts can be united under the same lift ticket makes it an excellent family destination. With road laps out the gates of El Colorado and available Heli laps out of La Parva, there’s something for everyone’s budget.

3. Las Lenas

 

Big Skiing in Lenas

Number of Lifts: 10

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 203 km to San Rafael, 367 km to Mendoza

Vert: 1190m (3904 feet)

Skiable Terrain: 43,200 acres

Terrain Park: No

Country: Argentina

Lenas offers some of tallest and longest skiing down south.  With huge Couloirs, wind spines, and skiing comparable to heli laps when the Marte is spinning, Lenas has the terrain to keep the sickest of skiers entertained. Hosting the Red Bull Powder Disorder going on this week only confirms that the terrain at Lenas is sick.  Las Lenas also offers a decent amount of family-friend beginner/intermediate terrain.  Be sure that your going for the skiing though – as a small mountain town (essentially just the resort), there is a suspicious lack of people and night life.

4. Portillo

Portillo Pow Schralp

Number of Lifts: 13

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 142 km to Santiago

Vert: 768m (2486 feet)

Skiable Terrain: 14000 acres

Terrain Park: Yes

Country: Chile

Portillo certainly offers up some fun stuff.  With packages that are slightly limiting (you are comitted to a 1 week stay due to the remote location).  But don’t worry, they have plenty of terrain to keep ya occupied. And the fact that the lodge can only hold 450 people means that things stay fresh that much longer. Be wary of the pomas of Portillo, as they go straight up with a slew of people and it’s everyman for himself when it’s time to dismount.  Approximately 1/3 of Portillo’s groomed runs are covered by snow making, so no need to worry too much about the ol’ skis.

5. Termas de Chillan

Rolling terrain of Chillan

Number of Lifts: 9

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 82 km to Chillan

Vert: 870m

Skiable Terrain: 24700 acres

Terrain Park: Yes

Country: Chile

If skiing pow is your forte, head on over to Chillan. Closed for almost a week earlier this season due to too much snow, this place gets deep. When it snows, it comes in hot and heavy.  But be warned, “coming in hot” is no understatement here; when it rains, and it certainly can rain, it pours. But baring good weather your stay in Termas de Chillan will certainly be an enjoyable one.

Bountiful sidecountry will keep you skiing pow long after the storm and some pretty sweet skiing readily accessible off the Chillan Volcano (there is a cat service to the top if your willing to shell out, or you skin/boot).  And you can do more than just ski with snowmobile operations and a thermal hot spring.

6. Caviahue

Caviyea lodge
Caviahue lodge

Number of Lifts: 9

Proximity to Nearest Major City:

Vert: 772m (2533 feet)

Country: Argentina

Located in the heart of the Andes, Caviahue provides one of the more unique ski experiences in South America.  Complete with hot springs, deep turquoise colored lakes, and the Copahue Volcano, the views are hard to beat. A decent amount of challenging off piste skiing will certainly keep you entertained.  And Caviahue  boasts the longest ski season in the South, so you can continue ripping turns long after others have shut their doors for the season.

 

7. Los Penitentes

View of the Penitentes Resort from the bottom

Number of Lifts: 8

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 180km to Mendoza

Vert: 614m (2015 feet)

Terrain Park: No

Country: Argentina

Like easily accessed side country with a suspicious lack of crowds?  Los Penitentes just might be for you. A medium sized resort offering up a decent serving of intermediate to advanced terrain, this is not necessarily the resort to take your low level girlfriend to.  Rather, head to Penitentes if you like skiing the soft stuff and are willing to put in a little hiking to get it.

8. Chapelco

Mystical trees in Chapelco
Mystical trees in Chapelco

Number of Lifts: 10

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 264 km to Bariloche

Vert: 730m (2395 feet)

Terrain Park: Yes

Country: Argentina

The trees of Chapelco are unlike anything you’ve ever skied.  Perfectly spaced, no branches down low, and a perfect umbrella of a canopy up top the experience is surreal. The downfall to the rad tree skiing is the low angle.  Capelco is certainly not a steep heart thumping resort such as Las Lenas or Portillo, but rather better suited for the beginner to intermediate. On a good year there is even a half pipe at Chapelco, though it is the same meager quality as many park features in South America.

9. Cerro Bayo

Cerro Bayo and it's rather decent view

Number of Lifts: 10

Proximity to Nearest Major City: 86km to Bariloche

Vert: 660m (2,165 feet)

Terrain Park: Yes

Country: Argentina

With terrain for all abilities, Bayo is an up and coming resort still more or less under devolopment.  Each season they are improving their amenities expanding parking, upgrading lifts new lifts, and the recent addition of a terrain park.

10. Castor

 

Number of Lifts: 9

Proximity to Nearest Major City: Ushuiaia is closest airport, .5 hours away

Vert: 772m (2533 feet)

Terrain Park: Yes

Country: Argentina

Located in the southern tip of Argentina, Cerro Castor is among the newest in Argentina.  In addition to their terrain park they have a skier cross course and 2 “mogul” courses. Snow making is also offered on two of the pistes, El Condor and Halcon Peregrino, so if mother nature is frowning upon winter you’ll still likely have something white (or maybe blue) to slide on.  Lacking in any rowdy terrain to speak of Castor is best saved for the beginner to intermediate skier.

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