Europe might have the Alps but South America has the Andes and when it comes to skiing, they are filled with some of the world’s best slopes. Skiing and snowboarding aren’t as popular in South America as other areas of the world but every year, more and more winter sports fans are heading for the ski lodges and resorts of South America. The best part? Being in the southern hemisphere, you can be skiing the fresh powdered slopes mid July when friends and family back home are still crisping in the summer sun. If you are ready to head south and give South American skiing a chance, check out these top ski destinations in Argentina and Chile.
As a country better known for good wine and tango, Argentina’s few ski resorts are well hidden and rarely too crowded. Prices can range from budget to quite expensive depending on where you go but the weak Argentine economy is making skiing this season an especially good bargain.
Las Leñas is one of the country’s best ski and snowboarding options, especially for big-mountain terrain and challenging runs. This is where many US and European professional teams train in the off-season and the off-terrain areas are particularly impressive. It also has some of South America’s tallest and longest slopes. Prices here are more expensive than in other Argentina ski resort areas but if you skip the very middle of the season, when international teams are here training, you can score nice discounts.
Another great option in Argentina is the ski area of Bariloche. Located in the heart of Patagonia, this is an active city with great nightlife and during the day, is within driving distance of some of Patagonia’s best slopes. Cerro Catedral is the ski resort just out of town. Highlights of the resort are definitely the backcountry area where you will find enough terrain to keep you going season after season. It is also well known for its epic cliff drops, big mountain faces, and bottomless powder.
On the other side of the Andes, Chile has an even more developed ski industry with great ski resorts sitting all along the Andes, both north and south of the capital city, Santiago. Ski options here range from expert level mountains to family-friendly resorts with plenty of easy runs for beginners.
Portillo is actually South America’s oldest ski resort and still one of its best. The remote location of this resort makes it mandatory to book a week long stay but don’t worry, you will have plenty to keep you entertained. The lodge is limited to just over 400 people per week so slopes are incredible uncrowded and you’re sure to find some great, fresh powder just for you.
Nevados de Chillán is another popular Chilean ski resort and has a lot more to offer, both on and off the mountain. Known to occasional close due to too much snow, Nevados de Chillán is especially wonderful after a strong winter storm. The area has more to offer than just skiing though with great backcountry snowmobiling and thermal hot springs, the perfect way to relax after a long day on the slopes.