Didn’t get your fix of powder and fresh tracks this winter? You can still make it happen in 2018 down south this summer. While North American resorts are celebrating the end of the season across the country, winter in the Southern Hemisphere is just around the corner. Argentina and Chile provide world-class ski experiences, convenient lodging, and a unique culture with unforgettable views.
Top Ski Resorts in Chile
South America’s oldest ski resort is set in the Andes. Portillo offers a wide variety of terrain, appealing to families and thrill-seekers alike. Eighty percent of the resort’s 1,235 acres is groomed daily. With a cap at 450 guests per day on the mountain, you can ensure fresh tracks on a powder day. The base hotel offers one employee to every guest, so the level of service is high and accommodating. Couple this with Chile’s amazing food and wine, and you’re in for an unbeatable vacation.
How to get here: Skiers and riders should plan to fly into Chile’s Santiago international airport. From there, Portillo just a two hour drive that is easily accessed by rental car (a good idea if you plan on visiting multiple resorts), or by shuttle.
Valle Nevado, Chile
Located in the heart of the Chilean Andes, Valle Nevado is the largest winter resort in the Southern Hemisphere. The resort offers around 34 square miles of high-altitude, and often powder-filled terrain. Valle Nevado is part of the Tres Valles, which combined with La Parva and El Colorado offers 7,000 acres of interconnected skiing. One lift ticket will easily access all three resorts. Valle Nevado also offers some of the best heli-skiing in South America, a truly remarkable way to experience the Andes. From August 18-24, guests will enjoy the annual Wine Festival week featuring well known and boutique wineries from around the country. Wine tastings, education, and parties make this a week to remember.
How to get here: Valle Nevado is also in close proximity (2 hours) to Santiago and can be accessed via car rental or by booking a shuttle.
Top Ski Resorts in Argentina
Las Lenas, Argentina
With over 17,500 acres of skiing, Las Lenas is a self-contained, all-inclusive resort that can only accommodate 2,200 guests at one time, guaranteeing skiers great service and no crowds. Family friendly with expert terrain for those willing, Las Lenas is renowned for it’s steep, off-piste big lines, but offers plenty of cruisers for those just learning. About 45 percent of the terrain is intermediate, with one of the longest slopes in the world connecting three of these runs. The resort offers three on-mountain restaurants, a casino, childcare options, private and group lessons.
How to get here: Most travelers will fly into Buenos Aires, located around 700 miles east of the ski resort. From here, skiers and riders can hop a local flight to Mendoza (Malargue). The Buenos Aires local airport is about a 45 minute taxi ride from the international airport. Daily flights are offered from Santiago as well. From Mendoza travelers can book a bus shuttle to the resort. Alternatively, travelers can take the ultra comfortable overnight bus, which is often the cheapest and easiest option.
Located in Argentina, Bariloche is a small city that serves as the gateway to Cerro Catedral, just eight miles away. A modern ski resort named for the Gothic cathedral-looking granite spirals that sit atop the mountain, Cerro Catedral is the only South American resort to offer a modern base village area. With over 40 lifts accessing 1,480 acres, there are terrain options for every level of skier. The new La Laguna lift provides access to backcountry chutes and bowls, while freestylers will enjoy the resort’s terrain park. Off-mountain activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and snow tubing, while Bariloche is rich in nightlife and dining options.
How to get here: Cerro Catedral is just eight miles from Bariloche, which conveniently has its own airport.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.