South America?
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TomH
February 3, 2009
Member since 07/6/2005 🔗
375 posts
Anyone ever ski South America. My wife and I have the big 50 coming up and she suggested we take an late August trip to SA to ski. Almost fell out of my chair. Eying Barilouche because there is a decent size town near the resort. We would like somewhere where there is a town with some activities besides just skiing. But we are open to ideas.

Thanks
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 3, 2009
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Sorry, never been. Bariloche sounds like the Tahoe of South America. You might look at forums on epicski and tgr for first hand info if no response here.

Quick net surf resulted in following:
Possibly useful discussion, links and photos from epicski on the Bariloche area:
http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/41896/bariloche
http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/72602/bariloche-last-week
http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/15630/bariloche-vs-las-lenas
http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/70513/best-sth-america-option-for-a-solo-trip

Other misc links with Bariloche info:
http://unofficialandes.com/ski/blog/bariloche-argentina/
http://www.goski.com/resorts/arbariloche...tate&bc=RIR

Not Bariloche, but here's info on skiing in Chile from a respected ski writer:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/News/2008/7/24/Great-Skiing-Options-in-Chile-Lie-Close-to-Santiago/
TomH
February 3, 2009
Member since 07/6/2005 🔗
375 posts
Thanks JimK.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 3, 2009
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Couple of ideas, depending on how much you want to spend and what you're looking for. I'll give you two to think about, one in Argentina and one in Chile. You also have Las Leñas near Mendoza, harder to get to but awesome nevertheless, and Portillo, Chile, totally self-contained:

When you think about the Southern Cone, dispel any paradigms about Latin America. You're in Europe. And that goes for the fact that they somehow like poma lifts and have an aversion to lines or queues, your skis will get stepped on, and the advantage of being a skier is having a pole which you can use as a boundary to get ahead of the line. If you want to be courteous and act like a gringo, you'll stay in the line forever.

San Carlos de Bariloche. Spectacular scenery. The town is on the shores of the Nahuel Huapi Lake and is the place to see and be seen in Argentina. Sort of like the St Moritz of South America.Although the town has sprawled, the center is still in the model of a Swiss village. Bariloche is the gateway to the Patagonia. The Cerro Catedral is the main ski area, just over 10 miles from the city. Awesome shopping. There are a zillion places to stay in town, but if you want a little bit of largesse, try the Hotel Llao Llao, on an island in the middle of the lake.

As far as Chile, the above-treeline skiing resorts of Nevados, La Parva and Colorado are all connected. I spent an entire winter in Santiago and we'd work like horses during the week so we'd have a long weekend. You can stay in Nevados in a self-contained resort, but IMHO, will miss the local flavor. We stayed in the town of Farellones, literally in the middle of the road between the three resorts. The town and the resorts are all above treeline, and on a clear day, you can see Santiago way way way down below. The top of Nevados is a glacier that tops at over 11,000 feet and from the back side you can see the main range that includes the Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Americas. Skiing is awesome. You can slso stay in Santiago and take the bus to the ski area, but climbing 8,000 feet is no picnic.

Both countries are meat eaters to a fault. Argentines claim to consume the most meat per capita in the world. Even mid day snacks are made up of sirloin tips. Churrasco is the main plate that also contains the barbecued entrails... eek...

You won't go wrong at either place. I have wonderful memories of both countries.
TomH
February 3, 2009
Member since 07/6/2005 🔗
375 posts
Mr. I,

Thanks for the details. We are not wed to Bariloche we just don't want to stay at a ski mountaing where there isn't a town with things to do and experience. How far are the resorts you describe from Sanitago. One of the downsides of Bariloche is that it is either another flight or a 22 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires.

Also, is Llao Llao only assesible by boat? I actually had a line on a small house right near the resort but wasn't aware it was on an island.

Thanks again
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 3, 2009
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
- The downside of Bariloche is the transportation. Over 20 hours by car, even with fairly good roads. Argentina is over a million square miles, and is longer than wide. As a result, Buenos Aires to Bariloche is like Boston to Miami. And that's only half the country. The lake is pretty high, over 2,000 feet. The hotel is sort of like the Greenbriar of South America, and is accessible by car and taxi, and if you want, it has its own heliport. Driving over, you go by the site of Argentina's atomic agency, originally staffed by Germans...

Bariloche is also closer to Puerto Mont, Chile, than anywhere else in Argentina.

- The downside of Portillo is ALSO the transportation. Also, depending on the winter, you can get stuck either outside OR inside of Portillo's valley. When I was in Santiago, there were avalanches that made Portillo into an oasis. And there's nothing near it.

- The trio of La Parva/Colorado/Nevados is literally abbutting the city of Santiago, Chile's capital city of 5 million people. From the city center, you drive through very handsome residential areas and the city then abruptly stops as the mountains begin. The road then zigzags like one of these old Ferrari or Lamborghini commercials, up eight thousand feet until you get to Farellones town, then a really short driving distance to the fork where you can go to any of the three areas. Cars usually have to stop three quarters of the way up the mountain and put on chains. I think we made the trip in a couple of hours.
TomH
February 3, 2009
Member since 07/6/2005 🔗
375 posts
How close is Farallones to the ski resorts. Is it a nice town. I find it appealing to be close to Santiago as opposed to having to spend all that travel time getting from BA to Bariloche.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
February 3, 2009
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Farellones is perhaps two to three miles down the mountain from the fork to the rest of the resort. There are accommodations that range from the hostel to the rustic to the luxury. I stayed at the Posada de Farellones, a Swiss-type hotel, and despite the small, European type rooms, the food was outstanding. All the hotels will give you a free shuttle ride to the resorts. And once in the resorts, they're all interconnected, albeit with poma lifts and T-bars.

You need to be aware, again, that Chile is sort of like Europe. The expansive, Marriott-type accommodations are available but in the city. On the way to the mountains you will pass Condes, an upscale neighborhood that has the US Embassy, Sheraton, Marriott, etc. Then the climb up for an hour and some will take you above tree line and Farellones is the first little town.

The Posada is owned by the son of a Spanish Civil War republican soldier who emigrated to Chile upon the installation of the fascist dictatorship in Spain under Franco. The clientele is mainly European. Be sure you make the appropriate reservations, because some of the rooms have shared baths, a la Europe. Their rates also include food and a box lunch to take with you to ski.

I searched and found other accommodations in town. http://www.chilecontact.com/Hotels_Farelloness.html

I absolutely love Chile. They're almost old Prussian in their outlook, yet have adapted a European socialist democracy in a highly disciplined social order. Very enterprising and hard working people, but once on the slopes, they relax like Europeans. Down the slopes twice, in the lodge for hot chocolate and admire the view, up again a couple of times, and so on. They do make fun of the American obsession with vertical feet per day, and I found it funny to talk to them, appreciating their outlook and their amazing country.

There are also lots of things to do besides skiing. On the way to Viña del Mar and Valparaiso, the Chilean wine country goes on for as long as the eye can see. Really really nice to visit a vineyard or two. Then there's Torres del Payne, one of the most amazing sights in the world.

Both, Chile and Argentina are worth visiting. In Argentina, besides Bariloche, Buenos Aires is one of the world's grand cities, modeled and improved after Paris. Southern Cone people also have a very high standard of living, even in these economic times.
SlopeStylz, Inc.
March 26, 2009
Member since 10/25/2008 🔗
2 posts
I was just going to post something about this.

This year will be my 4th annual South America Snow Session.
Since the season is so short here, I have been traveling to Argentina and Chile to ride in August/ September. There are lots of people selling packages and even schools/ camps popping up that charge outrageous amount for what should be an inexpensive trip. The most expensive part being the flight down. You can ski or ride for 2-3 weeks for what it costs to spend a week in Canada.

We've hit Las Lenas and Bariloche in Argentina and Los Tres Valles in Chile. Argentina is a better deal because of the exchange rate, but presents the problem that others have mentioned, mainly the distance to travel from major cities. You can go with minimal reservations if you know the language. And of course the best and cheapest thing they have down there is the food.

This year we're going to fly into Santiago and ride at Ski Arpa (a cat skiing operation), El Colorado/Farellones, then cross the border to Cerro Catedral. There is a scr*w Americans fee in Chile of $100 to enter the country but it is good for as long as your passport.

Anyone interested in going can contact me, we rented an apartment in Bariloche last year that slept 4 for $50 a night. That is cheaper than any of the Hostels and cleaner.
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