South America may not be the first place that comes to mind when you plan a skiing trip, but we’re about to change that mindset. There’s no harm in brushing up on your Spanish skills!
Did you know that the Andes Mountain is the longest mountain in the world, stretching 4,300 miles along the West coast of South America? It’s also the second highest mountain on the planet, right behind the Himalayas in Asia. Sounds like the exact combination for a perfect snowfall, and tons of skiing terrain, right?
Right. Since the Andes Mountains jut through the border of Argentina and Chile, these are the two prime destination-countries to venture about with your adorn skis buckled on your feet. The mountains offer exciting views of magical volcanoes, and have luxurious hot springs to dip in after rigorous days of skiing.
Without further ado, here are the top four places to experience while exploring South America for your sweet vacation. Keep in mind that the seasons are switched – the ski season in South America is from North America’s June to October.
1.) Cerro Catedral, Argentina
In English, Cerro Catedral translates to Mount Cathedral. If you’re into freestyle skiing, triumphing tricks, and adventurous antics, this is the place for you. With 75 miles of hills applicable for skiers of all levels, and a bubble ski lift that can fit six passengers, there really isn’t any other place quite like this; the terrain beholds rails and bumps that offer opportunities to expand anybody’s skiing style.
Due to the resort’s high elevation, dry snow allows this is to be the perfect place for four different ski events to be held: Big Air Reef, Rip Curl Winter Search, Girls Only, and Gorilla Day. Even if the snow is gentle for a winter season, Cerro Catedral is adept with snow- making machines that create big flakes, just like the puffy clouds from above. Every year there is a Downhill Torch Parade, which is quite a sight to see and will create a memorable night of skiing while the sky sparkles with fireworks and fellow skiers glide down the slopes carrying torches. Music enhances this celebration of winter to come and the crowning of a new queen. At this and every festival held, good vibes are extremely contagious.
Ceroo Catedral is about 20 miles to the city of Bariloche, which is known for its wild nightlife, and of course, as a piece of South America, its delicious wine. Stay here if you’re interested in a divine Barlioche hotel. Otherwise, contact your Aladdin Travel adviser for the ski adventure of a lifetime!
2.) Caviahue, Argentina
The heart of the Andes envelops Caviahue, a ski resort and village loaded with hot springs and pretty lakes, right near the Caviahue volcano. During the winter, the bright blue lakes are frozen, but the hot springs are left immune to the cold. Also, Caviahu isn’t near any big cities, so its remoteness leaves the resort uncrowded all year round.
One perk of being so close to the Caviahue volcano is that you can ski right down the crater.Where else in the world can you practice a winter sport, in the same destination that years before, lava was bubbling? (Besides Chile…) Of course, don’t forget about one of Caviahue’s specialties. When your body is tired and sore from the day exploring on your skis, come home to dazzling, unoccupied hot springs welcoming you with natural volcanic minerals, guaranteeing the most divine bath in which you’ll ever soothe your muscles. This may just become your new go-to ski destination!
3.) Valle Nevado, Chile
Unlike other ski resorts closing for the warm months, Valle Nevado has plenty of fun for the whole family all year round! Along with El Colorado and La Parva, Valle Nevado is one of the Tres Valles in Chile. All three of these mountains together equal the largest ski area in all of South America. You can buy a ski pass to access every mountain for a day of skiing on seemingly endless terrain.
Most of the days here are full of sun, but Valle Nevado has a pretty high elevation, which keeps its snow fresh and powdery. The terrain is ideal for those who love to ride freestyle or back country. When snow storms hit, the resort thrives because the snow gets deeper and fluffs to perfection. Designed by the French, Valle Nevado has a very European feel throughout the resort. Paired with a glass of South American vino after a long day of skiing, who wouldn’t be able to unwind at this stylish abode? It is only an hour and a half drive from Santiago, so for a day off of your skis, freely explore the city to give you a full taste of Chile.
For wildlife lovers, look out for the rare Andean Condor, a very unique looking vulture of South America, around the mountaintops. Be sure to try to snap a picture of this endangered species, as this is one of the only places on the planet where you may spot it.
4.) Nevadoes de Chillan
Located in the Southern Andes, seven kilometers from Las Trancas Valley (a nature-lover’s paradise), this resort is easily accessible. It is a painless five hour drive from Santiago, or take a flight from Santiago. There are airport transfers whenever you need them. Sleep in Las Trancas Valley and ride a horse over to the slopes in the morning, or just stay in Nevadoes de Chillan, where you can ski right out of the door.
Nevadoes de Chillan, aka Termas de Chille, is actually translated into “hot springs of Chile.” With nine natural hot pools in one resort, you’ll gloriously be able to get a lifetime’s worth of sulfur and iron intake. The mountains of Nevadoes de Challan were formed from a volcano, and excessive flowing lava created interesting bowls and dips, building exhilarating runs. The unique terrain makes Nevadoes de Chillan especially popular for race training, but those into cat or back country skiing have plenty of options here, too. Need another reason to visit Nevadoes de Chillan? The longest ski trail in the country, Las Tres Marias, is located here. Winding in and out of forests for 13 kilometers of breathtaking views, this trail is no doubt on any skiers’ bucket list.
Nevadoes de Chillan, along with all of the other places in South America mentioned, shouldn’t be dismissed from any avid skiers’ dream destinations.