la hoya ski resort and the patagonia landscape

La Hoya Ski Resort Guide: Skiing in Esquel Argentina

This is the guide to help you learn everything you need to know about skiing La Hoya Ski Resort in Argentina.

  • Insider tips
  • Terrain details
  • Getting there
  • And more

Let’s dive right in. La Hoya’s ski season kicks off as early as May!

Where is La Hoya Ski Resort?

One of Argentina’s lesser known, off the beaten track resorts, La Hoya ski resort is located close to the town of Esquel in the province of Chubut, about 175 miles south of San Carlos de Bariloche.

The closest town to La Hoya is Esquel. The town and ski resort are a mere 9 miles apart.

How to Get to Esquel and La Hoya Ski Area

Getting to La Hoya resort and the town of Esquel is pretty straightforward. We cover the down the options here.

The ski resort La Hoya is located in the dazzling Chubut Province of Patagonia in Argentina. It is more than 1,000 km south of Buenos Aires, and about a four hour drive from San Carlos de Bariloche and the lovely Lakes District of Patagonia.

How to Get to Esquel

The vast majority of travelers choose to fly from Buenos Aires, Argentina’s busy capital, to Esquel. There are numerous flights each day between the two destinations. However, flights to Esquel originate from Jorge Newbery Airport, the domestic airport in Buenos Aires. For this reason, international travelers will have to transfer between the international and domestic airports when connecting in the capital.

Esquel’s small airport is located 18 km to the east of town. It is quite quaint, and has the look and feel of an old ski lodge. At the airport, it is possible to hire a taxi or remise (unmetered car), or rent a private car from a reputable company. Keep in mind that an international drivers license will be required to rent.

Getting from Esquel to La Hoya

By car the drive up to La Hoya from town typically takes no longer than 20 minutes. The road connecting the town and ski resort is unpaved, but it is relatively easy to drive on and contains few of the crazy switch-backs found on many South American ski resort roads. Snow chains are highly recommended.

Parking at the resort is unattended and can get a bit crazy at times. It is not uncommon to return from a morning on the slopes only to discover your car has been blocked in. Time to grab a cerveza or cafe and wait.

Private vehicle service: There is no shortage of van shuttles willing to ferry skiers and snowboarders between La Hoya and downtown Esquel. In addition, it’s always possible to hire a taxi or remise to make the short journey.

An Alternate Route: Via Bariloche

Some travelers opt to fly from Buenos Aires to the airport in Bariloche. Then, they rent a car and drive south approximately 4 hours to Esquel.

Additionally, there are several public buses which connect Bariloche and Esquel but expect this journey to take up to 6 hours.

If you drive from Bariloche, be sure to stop off in the town of El Bolson, home to some nice handcrafted local beers which make for a good gift to take home.

David Owen

Home to The Longest Ski Season in Argentina

Approaching 25 feet of snow annually along with south-facing slopes, La Hoya, Argentina enjoys a long season from June to October and relatively uncrowded slopes. On a good year they can start running the ski lifts as early as May.

The name La Hoya comes from the mountain shape, which is a wide glacier above a circular basin where all the ski runs join at the same point at the base. In the 1930s, pioneer skiers from the region discovered this attractive natural formation and began to visit the mountain and discover the potential. The resort was formed in the early 1950’s followed by a road that joined Esquel and La Hoya a few years later.

From 9am to 5pm, Esquel’s home ski resort offers trails for all abilities but its most outstanding feature is the unbeatable off-piste skiing and riding, including short backcountry hikes to some of the better ski descents in Patagonia.

More on The Terrain at La Hoya

Terrain – freestyle

La Hoya features a good terrain park, know as the FlyPark for intermediate to advanced freestylers looking to spend some jib and air time in Patagonia. FlyPark is divided into three sections according to ability level.

Terrain – experts

La Hoya skiing and snowboarding off piste options are hard to beat and advanced riders will find the chutes and bowls, with dry powder after a storm. Check out this video to see just what we are talking about. If you are willing to do some hiking, a huge cirque hosts descents similar to the mighty Las Lenas resort and bring you right back into the base of the ski area.

Terrain – Intermediates

Intermediate skiers and riders will find a good trail system and a mix of on and off-piste terrain. The resort claims 22 kilometers of ski trails.

Beginners and non-skiers

It’s a long way to travel to ski Esquel, but once you are there, the small ski school does offer classes and ski rentals for beginners. However we suggest Chapelco located in Northern Patagonia for a better beginner ski experience.

For non skiers don’t miss the snowshoe tours at the resort base, or take a trip to the beautiful Alerces National Park, nearby.

Weather and Snow Conditions

For updated snow conditions and current weather use the following apps:

La Hoya conditions update (Spanish)

Resort Stats

Location: Esquel in the Chubut Region of Patagonia, Argentina
Elevation: 1,350m (4,430ft) to 1,850m (6,070ft)
Ski Resort Vertical Drop: 500m (1,640 ft)
Inbound Terrain: 24 Runs
10% Beginner, 30% Intermediate, 40% Advanced, 20% Expert
Ski Lifts: 10 chair and surface lifts
Hotels and Lodging: Numerous options in downtown Esquel
Off-Piste and Backcountry Access: Excellent
Heli-ski: No
Annual Snowfall: 360 inches (900cm)
Weather: This is Patagonia! The locals claim 3 seasons/day -Come prepared
Ski Season: June to October
Ski and Snowboard Park: Yes
Night Life: The city has a decent mix of bars, discos and a casino

Explore Las Agujas steeps to get the heart racing and Cerro Carbon for mini Las Lenas style couloirs running right back to the chairlift. For such a small resort it sure packs a punch!

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