7 Best Ski Resorts in South America

7 Best Ski Resorts in South America

While skiing is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about South America, the snow-coated mountains of this region make a great spot for a holiday on the slopes. “The Andes, which run through Argentina and Chile are the longest and second highest mountain range in the world,” says travel expert from MonederoSmart.com Nicolas Pinto. “This doesn’t just make for great skiing, but the reverse seasons mean that northerners can experience some skiing action here during their summers.” And with ski resorts becoming increasingly more popular in this part of the world, you have absolutely no excuse for not getting your skis on and heading for the hills. With this in mind, here is our rundown of some of the best ski resorts in South America.

Valle Nevado, Chile

One of the largest ski resort areas in the region, Valle Nevado features almost 2,200 acres of terrain for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. In addition, Valle Nevado is connected to two neighboring resorts, El Colorado and La Parva, via a network of its 14 lifts (all three can be skied on a single ticket). Aside from plenty of terrain, some of the other of the resort’s most memorable features include long runs and heli-skiing. The Valle Nevado base sits at the height of 10,000 feet, and features a variety of accommodation options, pubs, restaurants and shopping.

Portillo, Chile

Right near the border between Argentina and Chile, Portillo is one the most famous ski resorts in South America. Featuring 14 lifts and 35 runs, the resort’s terrain offers some impressive freeriding and perfectly-maintained pistes. The Super C, which can be accessed via a two-hour climb, drops a breath-stopping 5000 feet, culminating at the base. As the resort is over 150 kilometers from Santiago and only has one place to stay, which is limited to 450 people at a time, it is never crowded.

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Chapelco, Argentina

Nestled at the foot of Lanin Volcano, a skip and a jump from the charming village of San Martín de los Andes, Chapelco features scenic runs that weave through the areas perfectly-spaced lenga and beech trees. Without the heart-stopping steep runs of some of the other South American ski resorts, Chapelco is a great option for beginner and intermediate skiers. The resort features 12 lifts, including a high-speed option, 20 trails, as well as backcountry bowls.

Nevados de Chillán, Chile

Also referred to as Termas de Chillán, Nevados de Chillán is said to get some of the best powdery snow in the Andes. The resort features a huge variety of runs, making it an ideal choice for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. In fact, Nevados de Chillán sports the longest run in South America, the 13-kilometer ‘Tres Marias.’ Set on the Chillán Volcano, Nevados de Chillán also offers plenty of backcountry terrain just waiting to be explored. After an active day on the mountain, soothe your sore muscles at the nearby thermal springs.

Cerro Catedral, Argentina

Set just over 20 kilometers from the bustling town of Bariloche, in the heart of Argentina’s lake district, Cerro Catedral has been named after its spiky mountain tops. Starting in July each year, this large-scale ski resort offers 38 lifts and 2,965 acres of skiable terrain. It also features a huge variety of runs, including heart-stopping vertical drops, as well as off-piste experiences. Once you are done on the slopes, head to Bariloche, which is famous for its vibrant nightlife and lively restaurants.

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Cerro Castor, Argentina

One of the most recently opened ski resorts in Argentina, Cerro Castor sits at the southern tip of the country, and offers the longest ski season in South America. The resort features nine lifts, 26 runs and some great off-piste options. The El Condor and Halcon Peregrino pistes feature snow making facilities in case mother nature doesn’t comply. While there are some accommodation options close to the slopes, more luxurious hotels can be found in the nearby town of Ushuaia, which is sometimes referred to as ‘the city at the end of the world.’

Las Leñas, Argentina

Located 203 kilometers from the city of San Rafael, Las Leñas features some of the tallest and longest skiing in South America, which makes it a popular destination for freelstyle professionals. This said, Las Leñas features a great diversity of slopes, which also makes it a favorite with beginner and intermediate skiers. The resort’s skiable area starts at 2,240 meters above sea level and goes up to 3,430 meters for a drop of 1,190 meters. It features 43,200 acres of skiable terrain (the largest skiable area in South America), and a total of 10 lifts and 27 runs. With a fair share of couloirs and cliffs, the resort has served as the location for numerous ski movies and sporting events.

For more winter action, check out our article on the 7 Breathtaking Must-See Ski Resorts in Asia.

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