Located in the southernmost section of Argentina’s oldest national park, Nahuel Huapi, and just over 1 hour from the city of Bariloche, Baguales Mountain Reserve boasts close to 25,000 acres of pristine snow cat skiing and snowboarding terrain in mystical Patagonia.
PowderQuest’s first trip to Baguales was in August, 2013 on the guided Argentina Snow Adventure Off Piste Tour. Both our ski guides and trip guests unanimously agreed we needed to add this destination to our tour line-up immediately.
A truly unique destination property that rivals some of the world’s best cat skiing operations in the US and Canada. Baguales Mountain Reserve, our top pick for Southern Hemisphere skiing via snow cat, offers options from 1 day cat skiing to multi day trips including options to combine cat ski adventures with backcountry touring adventures led by UIAGM guides. The incredible lodge is located on a pristine Patagonia backdrop and is accessed only via 4×4 road and snowmobiles which makes the journey just as incredible of an experience as being there.
The renowned South American luxury resort development company Burco America has been working tirelessly on the development of this destination to add to their portfolio of properties such as Tupungato Winelands in Mendoza and Arelauquen Golf and Country Club in Bariloche.
A typical day includes a welcome breakfast enjoyed with stunning views of some the earth’s most pristine landscapes at the Refugio Mesada followed by a brief safety presentation by the Baguales UIAGM guides. Only a few steps from the Refugio the group will board the snowcats for a full day of cat skiing and snowboarding amongst seemingly infinite terrain. With ideal conditions, you can expect 12-14 descents each day amounting close to 5,000 meters, just over 16,000 vertical feet! Check out some photos.
Lunch is enjoyed together and included in the middle of the day, and generally around 5 PM the cat returns to Refugio Mesada where hot tea, snacks, and afternoon Patagonian tea will be waiting for you.
If you are staying overnight (highly recommended due to the experience and the amount of travel involved) a delicious typical Argentinian meal of local meats, fish and vegetables are served along with local vino tinto (red wine)!
Here are some insider tips and ideas from our ski guides and locals that know the terrain and resorts like no other.
Important: Many of the areas described involve riding in non controlled avalanche terrain. Know your stuff, carry the right equipment and be smart. If you have any doubts, or even if you don’t, come join us on a PowderQuest guided tour. We will take you to the best skiing available with nothing for you to do but to enjoy what we have spent the last 2 decades figuring out!
Mike Gajda: An excellent operation all around from professionalism and safety to service and accommodations. If I had to come up with anything negative about the operation as I experienced it today, I would say it was that the runs were short. But at the same time, we did a pretty cool circuit as opposed to the same cat road up each time and we must of done 12 runs. The average run would be the length of Lagunita in Cerro Catedral from the ridge top to the lake. The lodges are easily equivalent to our other hotels in Argentina. Quite spacious even, which I found surprising given that they are so remote. The drive is a pretty cool ride in. Creek crossings, wild horses, etc. As interesting as up to Ski Arpa in Chile without the big climb.
Maxi Artoni: The terrain is fun and varied with options for all ability levels. At the cat there is food and drinks so you have the energy to ski all day and get back to the lodge in the afternoon where they will be waiting with wine, beer and gourmet snacks! It is a North American cat skiing quality experience in the wilderness of Patagonia, can’t be missed!
The Backcountry Lodges
The Baguales Lodge
The main lodge is a 3,200 square foot building built on the site of the former horse stable. The lodge was built using locally sourced materials and has 4 large double bedrooms each with their own private bath. There is also a large shared bedroom that can sleep up to 8 guests. The lobby area also houses other amenities such as a billiards table and fireplace for relaxing after an incredible day exploring the mountains.
Refugio La Mesada
Located at 1660 meters (5,400 feet), Refugio La Mesada is the largest backcountry lodge that has room for up to 28 people and a large dining room. The centerpiece is the enormous central fireplace that provides heat to the entire lodge. It’s a great place that is often used to enjoy a warm beverage or a nice bowl of fondue.
Refugio El Pintado
1700 meters above sea level (5,577 feet) a 750 square ft cabin just 30 minutes by cat from the La Mesada lodge or a 2 hour hike in. This cabin provides a more rustic overnight experience but still fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, stove, and accommodations for up to 10 people in one bedroom and shared bath.
Refugio Valle Norte
Located along a mountain stream, the oldest shelter in the Baguales reserve, Refugio Valle Norte is located amongst a forest of beech trees and generally used as a place to rest and grab a drink of hot yerba mate while touring the remote area.