Argentina Snowboarding: 2020’s Definitive Freerider Guide
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about snowboarding in Argentina.
- Best resorts
- Cool tips
- Recommended guided snowboard trips and more
Let’s get started, Argentina’s snowboard season kicks off in June!
Snowboarding Las Lenas: Steep With One of The Best Party Scenes in The Andes
If you want to snowboard in Argentina, you like steep terrain, and can only visit one resort, do yourself a favor and go snowboard Las Lenas. It is truly bad ass.
If you know where to go (very important), you can ride some of the biggest, longest alpine runs of your life, then repeat. Las Lenas blows minds, and is a must do on the bucket list for serious riders.
Las Lenas does offer terrain for all ability levels, but most go because of the chairlift accessed expert terrain. It’s bigger than Jackson Hole, bigger than Whistler Blackcomb.
When the Marte Chair is open, prepare to be blown away by some of the chutes and bowls you can access from the chair lift or a short hike out of bounds.
Backcountry snowboarding terrain is endless and if you have a split board set up and a healthy pair of lungs, you can explore for seasons and not ride the same runs. Even if you are not into splitboarding, you can still access quite a bit of good terrain if you are willing to hike.
Sure, the resort is more isolated and harder to get to than many of the snowboard destinations in the Andes, but believe us, it is well worth the effort especially if you are into steep terrain, long runs, and booming nightlife.
The party scene here is almost as big as the terrain. From Apres to late night discotecs packed full of beautiful Argentines and Brazilians, Las Lenas rarely disappoints. The village is small enough where you know where to go each night to find the best party.
Check out our full Las Lenas review page for full details on how to get there, the terrain, hotel options, and party scene.
Deeper South Into PatagoniaAs you head south you loose the high altitude but gain unforgettable tree runs, volcanic terrain, rawness, and the culture and charm that has put Patagonia on the map of travelers for decades.
Snowboard Chapelco: Trees, Open Bowls and a Great Local Vibe
Ever since we ran our first guided snowboard focused Argentina trip to Chapelco back in 1998, we have been impressed with the cool local snowboard scene and super fun terrain of this award winning resort in northern Patagonia. The views from the top are beautiful, including a clear view into Chile and a direct shot of the mighty Volcano Lanin at 12,293 feet above sea level.
Chapelco offers a bit of everything from mellow moss-covered tree runs to steep alpine backcountry bowls. It even has a reasonable snowboard park to play in when the powder is low tide or you can shred the wind lips and naturally formed pipes visible just as you get above tree line on the front side.
The resort is not steep, but the layout of the terrain makes up for it. It has a fun “surfy” feel to it for snow surfing and the tree runs, although low angle, are always a good time and a great place to find some jibs and get creative under the shade of the Lenga tree green moss.
If you want steep, there are a few zones in the trees, but you need to know where to go to get in and more importantly get out.
Steep junkies head to the back bowls for their thrills. Just be sure to carry all the proper avalanche safety equipment and to notify the patrol of your plans. Better yet, go with a guide service like PowderQuest offering week long adventures in the area.
The Après scene is pretty quiet at the base of the mountain, but is not a bad place to grab a Quilmes cerveza or hot chocolate and watch the masses go by as the sun sets over Chile.
Downtown San Martin, just 20 minutes from the resort, hosts numerous hotels, bed and breakfasts and cozy wood cabins. The mountain village is full of cafes, chocolate shops, quality restaurants and even some decent nightlife including a casino and bars.
Check out our full review page for more details on the resort.
Cerro Bayo Snowboarding: Fun Terrain, Jaw Dropping Landscapes
We ran our first trip to Cerro Bayo back in 1999 while guiding Snowboard Canada Magazine. It was so good we returned a few years later with Snowboarder Magazine and pro riders Andrew Hardingham, Jon Cartwright and Shin Campos.
Cerro Bayo delivered on both trips epic powder days, fun terrain, and some crazy nights. We quickly added the resort to our guided tour line up and has been one of our favorite places to snowboard ever since.
The resort offers the perfect combo of off the radar riding, steep tree runs and backcountry bowls along with a nearby village packed with world class restaurants and charming hotels known as hosterias for all budgets.
For park rats, there are two small parks to get your jib on however the free riding is the reason to add this destination to your list. A series of steep tree runs lead you back down to the base with a consistent fall line and natural drops and hits. As you head back up, and the chair lifts pop above tree line, you are immediately gifted with an epic view of surrounding Patagonia, and a gateway to some of the best backcountry splitboarding around.
Read more in our full resort review.
Snowboarding Bariloche’s Mighty Cerro Catedral
Bariloche based Cerro Catedral resort is Patagonia’s big boy. Opened in 1938, the European style ski center has huge amounts of terrain with both in-bounds and backcountry offering snowboarders some seriously fun days to explore.
In-bounds you will find close to 1,500 acres to freeride. Steep powder packed trees, open bowls, rock drops and the most progressive snowboard park in Argentina. Most of the steeper terrain sits on the south side of the resort (lookers left) and includes access to the backcountry terrain known as Laguna.
For backcountry snowboarding, hit up Laguna for laps back into the resort. Just don’t drop down too low or you will be bush wacking your way out. If you are looking to get further out and own a split board, there are a series of backcountry huts to explore. It is recommended to get a guided splitboarding trip to this zone due to the complexity of the terrain, route finding and limited bed space in the huts, especially Frey Hut.
A short, yet adventurous drive will take you to two stellar backcountry zones in the area: Mallin Alto and Baguales. Mallin offers snowsled accessed terrain while sleeping in rustic domes. Baguales is on the higher end with their comfortable lodge and cat boarding backcountry.
Back at the resort, Cerro Catedral has some great on mountain restaurants and there always seems to be some sort of event going on ranging from local based Bariloche snowboard contests to high end international fashion shows.
Feeling trendy? You can’t miss the mall at the base of the 6 pack chairlift. For Apres, head to Mute just across the plaza for the good tunes, good looking locals, and local micro beers.
Read our full resort report here.
Esquel: Snowboarding in the Land of Historic Outlaws
Esquel is on the map for two main reasons: Gold mining and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Well, here is a third. Killer snowboarding comparable to Las Lenas, but on a smaller scale.
The local resort, La Hoya is just 14 kilometers from Esquel and hosts Argentina’s longest ski season due to cold temperatures, south facing slopes (this is good, remember we are in the Southern Hemisphere) and blower Patagonia powder.
Don’t be fooled by La Hoya’s size. This place delivers. From steep couloirs that funnel back to the resort to one of the better snowboard parks in the country, we find it worth the 4 hour trip from Bariloche. But you should stay on top of the weather.
If you are going to visit, we find it best to snowboard La Hoya in August and September. No crowds, good snow and the town of Esquel can be surprisingly fun although tourism is not the main focus.
Argentina Done DifferentlyRide multiple destinations + indulge in local Argentine culture on these unique guided trips.
- 2 certified guides
- 6 guests maximum
- lodging, ski passes, private transportation, hosted dinners and more
- 2 decades experience