Skiers in the northern hemisphere, especially in the months of June, July and August, are constantly saying things like, “I’ve gotta get down there!” when the topic of skiing in Argentina or Chile comes up. And it’s with good reason– the Andes are a huge, relatively untouched, exotic ski destination. From ski mountaineers to resort lovers or the once-a-year skier, there is something to satisfy everyone.
Huge peaks, unrelenting steepness, uncrowded resorts, and relatively cheap prices (after you arrive in Argentina, at least) are just a few of the standout attractions. Big mountain riding is the biggest draw, followed by the ski town discos.
Las Lenas and Catedral have ski and party scenes, while the other ski hills are pretty mellow most of the time. To get to the slopes, it’s a two or three hour flight from Buenos Aires and then a bus ride. One can also bus it from the capital. Check out our individual guide pages to the resorts to get information on how to get there.
Despite the awe-inspiring cordillera, the sport of skiing in the Andes has not caught on the way it has spread through Europe and North America due to the prohibitive cost of the sport for residents of the southern cone.
Most rental shops don’t have new stock, so if you are really into skiing make sure you bring your own gear. Otherwise, rent and bring your camera to snap shots of yourself and your friends in cool 80’s ski suits. That said, cosmopolitan areas like Buenos Aires and Santiago do have fairly up to date merchandise. There are a lot of things that are basically impossible to get, such as most top freeride gear, alpine touring, telemark or avalanche gear.
Keep a close eye on your gear while in transit through cities. Just stepping out of the airport, lugging ski and snowboard bags can be a thief magnet. Overall, it is unlikely that you will have such trouble.
If you make the trip, I can guarantee you will be in for a trip that will be as entertaining, and as challenging as you could possibly want. And I bet you’ll want to come back every year, for the rest of your life.
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