As North America starts to heat up, resorts in the Southern Hemisphere are only beginning to fire. Imagine trading sweltering summer days for fresh powder in Chile and Argentina. If you’ve spent the past few summers daydreaming about snow, now’s your chance to make it a reality. The snow is already falling in South America, so while your friends are sweating it out in July heat, you’ll be gearing up for epic pow days down south. What’s not to love about that?

The ski season in Chile and Argentina typically runs from mid-June to mid-October, and in some years, you can even enjoy ski touring or “skinning” as late as November. For the best snow coverage, prime powder, fewer crowds and the most affordable lodging, there’s definitely a sweet spot for traveling to Chile and Argentina to ski and snowboard.


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Hotel Portillo | Photo: Liam Doran

When should I book my ski trip to Chile or Argentina?

To skip the crowds and dodge high lodging rates, avoid the last two weeks in July, as they are student holidays, and popular resorts like Portillo, Valle Nevado, and Cerro Catedral tend to get a little overrun. Plus, nightly rates, as well as food and drinks, will be more expensive during that time period since availability is limited. Instead, we recommend visiting South America during two prime windows of the summer ski season.

Early July: If the early season snowfalls have been ample, some of the best days to score legitimate powder is during their mid-winter period, which typically occupies the first couple weeks of July.

August: In August, the base depth is typically the deepest of the season and daily conditions alternate between winter and spring, providing guests with a nice variety of conditions on most trips. You may even score powder in the morning and corn snow in the afternoon!

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A bird’s eye view of Inca Lake in Portillo. | Photo: Liam Doran

When is the snow the best in Chile and Argentina?

Early season, mid-June to early July, can be a bit hit or miss in terms of snow coverage. That said, on big years, these months can be incredible for extremely light powder. By early August, after the big storms have rolled through, the terrain tends to be completely open and the snowpack is at its deepest. The months of August and into early September are when the Andes typically receive secondary snowstorms that constantly refresh the slopes.

In fact, there’s even a legendary weather system, the “Santa Rosa Storm,” which hits the Andes a week or so before the end of August—right around the Fiesta de Santa Rosa. If you’re down south, pow skis in tow, when Santa Rosa makes landfall, you’re going to be one happy skier.

Which resorts are best for beginner and expert skiers?

Valle Nevado:

If you’re new to skiing or still finding your feet, Valle Nevado is a great choice. It’s close to Santiago, making it super convenient. The resort has wide, gentle slopes that are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers. The ski schools there are top-notch, so you’ll be gliding down the mountain with confidence in no time. Although Valle Nevado is a great option for beginners, it also excels in the expert terrain department. Valle Nevado is part of the Tres Valles ski area, along with El Colorado and La Parva, giving you access to a massive network of slopes and some incredible off-piste terrain.

The backcountry options are varied and extensive for those who love deep powder and untouched snow (who doesn’t?) The high elevation of Valle Nevado (starting at 9,800 feet) means it gets reliable snow throughout the season. This is perfect for expert skiers who crave consistent and quality snow conditions. For those who love a rush and steep terrain, Valle Nevado offers heli-skiing. You can be dropped off on untouched peaks, allowing you to carve your way down fresh powder in remote areas. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you are interested in off-piste skiing or heli-skiing, you’ll want to discuss organizing a guide with your Mountain Travel Expert. Fill out our form to get in touch with a South American expert. 


While Portillo is renowned for its challenging terrain and historic charm, it also offers some great options for beginners. Portillo Ski Resort has dedicated beginner slopes near the base area. These gentle, wide slopes are perfect for learning the basics without feeling overwhelmed. Specific areas such as El Corralito are designed for those who are just starting out, offering easy slopes and a safe and fun learning environment. Portillo also offers specialized programs for children, making it a great choice for families with young kids. The programs focus on making skiing fun and accessible, ensuring that your young ones will have a fun experience their first time on the mountain.

While there are beginner areas, Portillo is known for its advanced and expert terrain. Therefore, the amount of terrain suitable for beginners is more limited compared to some other resorts. For those looking to tackle some seriously challenging terrain, Portillo is where you want to be. It’s one of the most iconic ski resorts in South America and offers some steep runs. Think steep, deep powder and legendary routes like Roca Jack and Super C that offer some of the steepest descents in South America. It’s a playground for advanced skiers. For those seeking an extreme challenge, the Super C Couloir is a must. It involves a significant hike, but the reward is an epic descent through a narrow, steep chute with breathtaking views. Portillo’s unique Va-et-vient lifts are specifically designed for steep, avalanche-prone areas. These slingshot lifts are an adventure in themselves and provide access to some of the most challenging terrain at the resort.

Cerro Catedral (Bariloche):

The slopes at Cerro Catedral are great similar to other resorts with wide open runs that are perfect for beginners and intermediate riders. There is plenty of space to practice, with the opportunity to gradually explore steeper runs. Navigating Cerro Catedral also makes it a great place to start skiing. The resort is well-organized, with easy access to the beginner slopes from the base area. You don’t have to navigate tricky terrain just to get to your practice area. Another great thing is the atmosphere. Bariloche, the town where Cerro Catedral is located, has a friendly, laid-back vibe. After a day on the slopes, you can unwind in one of the cozy cafes or explore the town, which feels like a winter wonderland with its charming Swiss-inspired architecture and stunning lake views.

Cerro Catedral has a wide variety of runs, including plenty of black and double-black diamond trails. This diversity means that expert skiers can find everything from steep, fast groomers to mogul fields and narrow chutes. Cerro Catedral offers excellent off-piste and backcountry skiing. The off-piste areas are vast and offer a mix of challenging terrain, from deep powder bowls to tree runs. The higher altitude means more advanced terrain and stunning views of the surrounding Andes. Skiing up here can be thrilling, with steep descents and technical sections that test your skills.

Let help you start planning your South America ski trip today! Call or chat now with one of our knowledgeable Mountain Travel Experts or request a free quote.