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Skiing in South America: the 5 Biggest Ski Resorts

As an editor at Snow-Online I turned my hobby into my profession. Since September 2016 I have been in charge of the content. The mountains have always fascinated me. In winter, you can meet me in the ski areas not only on the downhill slopes, but also on the cross-country trails.

If you have any questions, you can always reach me by e-mail at: andrea.poschinger@tourispo.com

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last update on Jul 18, 2019

While we are at the height of summer, enjoying the sun, eating ice cream and spending our days by the lake, winter is well underway south of the equator. In South America, the ski season has just started. Winter-sports fans can hardly wait to conquer the slopes in Argentina and Chile, as thanks to several snowfalls in June and July, more than half a metre of snow already covers the hills. We took a look at the five biggest ski resorts in South America and all their highlights.

Catedral Alta Patagonia (Argentina)

The start of the season sees 60 centimetres of snow in Cerro Catedral.
via Facebook   © Cerro Catedral The start of the season sees 60 centimetres of snow in Cerro Catedral.

The biggest South American ski resort, with 120km/75mi of slopes, can be found at the province of Rio Negro in Argentina. Catedral Alta Patagonia, situated over 2,000m/6,562ft above sea level, is also among the rather snowsure winter sports resorts. Its 60 runs (for all skill levels) are located amidst Nahuel Huapi National Park, and offer a great view of the eponymous lake.

Open lifts and slopes

The season has started in Catedral Alta Patagonia in late June, and around 60cm/24in of snow allow for more than half of all lifts and slopes to be open already. The extensive offer at the ski resort ranges from numerous mountain huts to terrain parks and kids' areas, several toboggan runs and two cross-country trails. An adult day ticket is ARS 2,280 (around € 49).

>> More information on the ski resort (trail map, snow report, webcams...)

El Colorado (Chile)

At El Colorado, snowboarders and freestylers are usually found at the terrain park, which also includes its own t-bar.
via Facebook   © El Colorado At El Colorado, snowboarders and freestylers are usually found at the terrain park, which also includes its own t-bar.

Not far from the capital Santiago, the ski resort El Colorado is located amidst the Chilean Andes. Winter sportsmen enjoy 50km/31mi of slopes and 26 lifts here. That makes it the largest offer in Chile. As the ski resort is situated above treeline (up to 3,333m/10,935ft above sea level), the runs are rather wide and open.

Open lifts and slopes

Along with the neighbouring ski resorts Valle Nevado and La Parva, El Colorado makes up the largest ski network of the southern hemisphere. The season goes from late June to late September. A day ticket is CLP 49,500 (around € 58).

>> More information on the ski resort (trail map, snow report, webcams...)

Las Leñas (Argentina)

A day ticket at Las Leñas is approximately 48 euros.
via Facebook   © Las Leñas Resort A day ticket at Las Leñas is approximately 48 euros.

Since the last weekend in June, ski lifts are operating again at the Argentinian ski resort Las Leñas. And just in time for season start, snow sportsmen find a fabulously white winter scenery with up to 50cm/20in in the valley, and around 80cm/31in on the mountain. Nearly all of the 52km/32mi of slopes are open already. A ski ticket is ARS 2,230 (approx. € 48).

Open lifts and slopes

Las Leñas' most special feature is surely its location. The ski resort with its small hotel village is situated between 2,240m/7,349ft and 3430m/11,253ft above sea level, and is surrounded by bleak landscape. The closest town is a whole 70km/43.5mi away. Apart from particularly long runs, the ski resort also boasts a terrain park, and opportunities for night skiing. Illuminated runs can be found nowhere else in South America.

>> More information on the ski resort (trail map, snow report, webcams...)

Chapelco (Argentina)

One of the few gondolas in South America is located here in Chapelco.
via Facebook   © Cerro Chapelco One of the few gondolas in South America is located here in Chapelco.

At Chapelco ski resort, skiers can look forward to typical Argentinian mountain fare. With 45km/28mi of slopes it is the fourth biggest ski resort in South America. The slopes are serviced by 13 lifts, including a gondola, of which there are only a few on the continent.

Open lifts and slopes

The season starts with 80 percent of the lifts and slopes open this year. There are more than 60cm/24in of snow on the mountain. The terrain park is a blast for freestylers, while visitors also find dog-sleigh rides, snow-shoe hikes and ski-doo trips off-piste.

>> More information on the ski resort (trail map, snow report, webcams...)

Valle Nevado (Chile)

You can't go any higher: the hotel village in Valle Nevado is located above 3,000 metres!
via Facebook   © Valle Nevado Ski Resort You can't go any higher: the hotel village in Valle Nevado is located above 3,000 metres!

Located at a whopping 3,025m/9,925ft above sea level, the Chilean ski village of Valle Nevado is the highest ski resort in South America. Along with La Parva and El Colorado, it makes up the largest ski network on the southern hemisphere. The 40km/25mi of slopes offer plenty of runs for beginners as well as intermediates and experts. Valle Nevado is especially known for its great heli-skiing opportunities.

Open lifts and slopes

Not only winter sportspeople fly high here, ski ticket rates are also very high up. Adults pay CLP 53,000 (about € 68) for a day ticket. Record prices in South America! Although at over 3,000 metres, at least a guarantee for snow is included. From this year on, children under 6 years of age get free admission at least.

>> More information on the ski resort (trail map, snow report, webcams...)

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