5 good reasons for skiing in South America

11/07/2013 - SnowTrex

What ski fan doesn’t long to finally hit the slopes again in June? And ski resorts in South America can satisfy precisely this longing for lush carving turns. Thanks to the “reversed” seasons, it’s no problem to ski in the southern hemisphere during the European summer! SnowTrex has now compiled the 5 best reasons why winter sports enthusiasts should consider a ski holiday to South America.

Valle Nevado is the largest ski resort in Chile and, with its modern lifts and gondolas as well as wide pistes, is not only very popular with local winter sports enthusiasts skiing in South America.

1. Skiing in the “St. Moritz of the Andes”

In the Argentinian province of Mendoza, the Las Leñas ski resort is surrounded by a magnificent backdrop of mountain lakes and extinct volcanoes. At an altitude of up to 3,400 metres and a total of 52 kilometres of pistes, winter sports in South America can be enjoyed here from mid-June to mid-October. However, it is not cheap, as in the high season a traveller can spend four-digit amounts on a lift pass and hotel per week. It is not for nothing that Las Leñas is known as the “St. Moritz of the Andes”, where some Ski World Cup races were even held at the end of the 1980s.

2. Piste adventures in Tierra del Fuego

You wouldn’t necessarily guess from the name that Tierra del Fuego is a ski resort. But in winter in the southern hemisphere, just 35 kilometres outside the Argentinian provincial capital of Ushuaia, something very special awaits fans of the slopes: the world’s southernmost ski area! A total of nine smaller ski areas are located here, including Cerro Castor. Just under 1,100 km from the Antarctic mainland, the best skiing conditions prevail here at an altitude of up to 958 metres almost all year round. The 29 kilometres of pistes, almost half of which are blue and therefore classified as easy, are a real experience, especially for nature lovers. After all, the ski resort is located in the middle of the impressive Tierra del Fuego National Park. In addition to skiing, winter sports enthusiasts can also be pulled through the icy landscape by sled dogs or try their hand at ice climbing during the ski season in South America from June to October.

There are hardly any groomed pistes in the world that are as close to the South Pole as those in the Ushuaia ski resort in Tierra del Fuego.

3. Après-ski in Argentinian

Another traditional ski resort in Argentina is the Catedral Alta Patagonia ski resort, located just under 20 kilometres southwest of Bariloche. Situated at an altitude of between 1,030 and 2,180 metres, it not only boasts an excellent infrastructure for ski tourists with two cable cars and 19 chairlifts, but also 120 kilometres of pistes, 90 kilometres of which are classified as red and black and are therefore particularly suitable for experienced skiers. Ski fans can let off steam on the varied slopes during the day and round off the day’s skiing with Argentinian après-ski in the evening. In Catedral Alta Patagonia, there are numerous bars and the odd club, as well as traditional steakhouses.

Skiing in South America is a very special experience in the European summer! Like here in Bariloche in Argentina.

4. Skiing in the shadow of Chile’s volcanoes

Argentina is not the only country on the continent with some of the best ski resorts in South America. Chile also has a lot to offer winter sports enthusiasts. Firstly, there is the Nevados de Chillán ski resort, which is extremely popular in the European summer. The winter sports centre is one of the most famous ski resorts in South America, Termas de Chillán (1,545 m). From here, a total of 35 kilometres of pistes lead up to an altitude of 2,400 m. One of the most challenging runs is “Las Tres Marias”. At 13 km, it is the longest piste in South America, on which skiers overcome a difference in altitude of 1,100 metres. In addition to the pistes, the panoramic views from the ski area are also impressive. After all, winter sports enthusiasts here have a clear view of the two active volcanoes Volcán Nevado (3,212 m) and Volcán Viejo (3,089 m). The second piste highlight in Chile is Valle Nevado, the country’s largest ski resort. Just an hour and a half’s drive from the capital Santiago, in the heart of the Andes at an altitude of between 2,860 and 3,670 metres, there are almost 40 wonderful kilometres of slopes and even a half-pipe for snowboarders and freestylers!

5. Portillo’s famous drag lift

Skiers who want to experience something very special on the slopes in South America should definitely head to Portillo. The ski resort near the city of Los Andes now has 20 kilometers of slopes, which are served by 13 lifts. However, at an altitude of between 2,580 and 3,310 m, only four lifts stand out. With one lift and one hut, Portillo is now one of Chile’s best-known ski resorts. We are talking about the unique rope lifts known as “Va y vient” (meaning “coming and going”). Unlike conventional platter lifts, these lifts can be used by four skiers or snowboarders at the same time! Another unusual feature is that the lift only starts moving when the winter sports enthusiasts give the cable car staff the signal to start. And then things get really fast, because it’s not for nothing that the lifts are also known as “skid lifts”, which take you up the mountain at high speed.

FAQ on skiing in South America

When is the best time to ski in South America?

The best time to ski in South America is from mid-June to mid-October. During this time, i.e. in the European summer, the ski resorts in the southern hemisphere have optimal conditions for winter sports enthusiasts, as it is winter there during these months.

Which ski resorts in South America are particularly recommended?

In South America, the ski resorts of Las Leñas in Argentina and Valle Nevado in Chile are particularly recommended. Las Leñas offers 52 kilometers of slopes at an altitude of up to 3,400 meters, while Valle Nevado is the largest ski resort in Chile with 40 kilometers of slopes and is only an hour and a half’s drive from the capital Santiago.

Are there ski resorts in South America with special scenic attractions?

Yes, there are many ski resorts in South America with impressive landscapes. In Nevados de Chillán (35 kilometers of slopes) in Chile, skiers have a breathtaking view of two active volcanoes, while the Catedral Alta Patagonia ski resort (120 kilometers of slopes) in the Argentinian province of Rio Negro impresses with its location when skiing in the Andes.

What are the special highlights of the Tierra del Fuego ski area?

In Tierra del Fuego, winter sports enthusiasts will not only find unique natural landscapes and the best skiing conditions almost all year round, but also the southernmost ski resort in the world. Cerro Castor is located just 1,100 kilometers from the Antarctic mainland and offers 29 kilometers of slopes as well as activities such as dog sledding and ice climbing.

What special slopes are there in the South American ski resorts?

The South American ski resorts have some extraordinary slopes to offer. For example, the Nevados de Chillán ski resort in Chile has the longest slope in South America, the 13-kilometre-long “Las Tres Marías”. On this run, skiers can conquer a difference in altitude of 1,100 m and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding volcanoes.

  • Thursday, 11. July 2013
  • Author: SnowTrex
  • Category: Ski Areas
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