Resort Scorecard

Snowsure


Beginners


Intermediate


Advanced


Snowboarders


Après Ski


Families


Base elevation: 1,030 (Cerro Catedral) / 1,050 (Cerro Bayo)

Top elevation: 2,050 (Cerro Catedral) / 1,805 (Cerro Bayo)

Number of lifts: 38 (Cerro Caterdral) / 13 (Cerro Bayo)

Number of runs: 39 (Cerro Caterdral) / 25 (Cerro Bayo)

Access: There are several daily flights from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. The flight takes just less than two hours.

Bariloche (Cerro Catedral & Cerro Bayo) Piste Maps

Bariloche is the beating heart at the centre of Patagonia’s Lake District. Kind of like our Lake District … but on steroids. Surrounded by high Andean peaks and some rather awesome volcanoes, during the summer this is the adventure sports capital of Argentina. Once the snow falls Bariloche becomes one of the world’s best ski towns.

Before we move up to the ski mountain, it’s worth lingering in Bariloche itself – an attractive lakeside town (city?) with great restaurants and spirited nightlife. Many buildings have a distinct ‘Swiss Alpine’ feel, the influence further propagated by chocolate shops with St Bernard dogs hanging around outside.

The local ski mountain is Cerro Catedral – the huge granite Cathedral-like spires of the surrounding mountains being the inspiration behind the name. This was Argentina’s first ski resort - founded in 1939 – and it still sets the standard for skiing in South America, with 40 lifts and 80 miles of groomed trails. It’s only 12-miles from downtown Bariloche, thus posing the first big decision: do you base yourself down in the lively and pretty town or up beside the lifts in the modern ski village? Different horses, different courses and we’ll gladly guide you through the pros and cons. Wherever you stay, the skiing each day is complimented by phenomenal views of Lake Nahuel Huapi and the surrounding peaks.

Cerro Catedral is not the only nearby ski mountain. One should not overlook Cerro Bayo, an upscale boutique ski resort close to the laid-back village of Villa La Angostura, one hour north (40-miles) of Bariloche. It’s a small ski center, with 13 lifts and no crowds, and plenty of un-patrolled off-piste terrain to explore.

Skiing in Bariloche can also be easily combined with time at Chapelco Resort, which is up near San Martin de Los Andes.

Skiing in Bariloche (Cerro Catedral & Cerro Bayo)

Cerro Catedral has a reputation as an intermediate and advanced resort, but we feel this does it a disservice. The groomed runs and natural bowls actually suit all comers and the excellent prevalent snow conditions makes skiing (or boarding) here a joy whatever your level.  

To best explain, we’ll divide the Cerro Catedral mountain crudely in to four sections; the upper slopes tend to be in wide-open bowls, home to wide groomers and enjoyable mogul fields above the tree line. Lower down, indeed all the way back the base, you’ll find pretty tree-lined groomers. You can always drop off the sides in to the trees. Then you’ve got the awesome terrain park, the best in South America, where a certain ‘type’ likes to hang out exclusively. Finally, the backcountry. Outstanding. We’d need to organise a guide for you as the gates are not marked and the exit zones are not easily visible from the resort.

Altitude is not really an issue here, the base area is only at just over 1,000 metres, and state-of-the-art snowmaking facilities have been installed over recent years, along with several new lifts serving the upper part of the mountain more efficiently.

In summary, Cerro Catedral is the largest skiable area in the Argentinean Andes offering the best terrain for all ability levels – it’s our ‘catch-all’ resort of choice. The constant views from the slopes (unless you’re playing in the trees) are to the Gutierrez and Nahuel Huapi lakes.

Over at Cerro Bayo you’ll soon find yourself neck deep in dry powder.  Even if your eschew the easily-accessed backcountry, you’ll also find long groomers running the full four miles from top to bottom with similarly amazing views of the nearby Nahuel Huapi lake.

Perhaps Cerro Catedral’s Achilles heel? There are some lovely, gentle slopes down at the base area and the ski school is nothing-but professional, yet this is not an extensive beginners zone and when snow cover is found wanting, this novice zone is the first to suffer. We’re not saying it’s not an option - many people do learn to ski here - it’s simply a fact that it doesn’t have as much to offer as other nearby resorts.

As it happens, better is Cerro Bayo where the beginner’s zone is situated mid mountain at 1,500 metres. Nestled in the trees with outrageous views over the surrounding national parks, this is an idyllic place to learn.

Cerro Catedral is a mountain totally in tune with the intermediate skier or boarder. This is their forté.  Even the black runs don’t hold too much challenge – give ‘em a go. Off the edges of the piste you can hone your skills in open bowls or between the trees. The packed snow is forgiving and the fresh powder found after a storm is often game-changing.

In Cerro Bayo you’ll find a heady mix of on and off-piste terrain, from wide-open groomers to gladed tree runs through the Lenga forest.

In Cerro Catedral, there are only a handful of what we’d call truly black runs, so the most fun to be had is off-piste. If you insist on staying within-bounds, then the tree skiing is always plenty of fun when snow conditions are optimum, and further up the mountain big bowls offer up endless possibilities.

Cerro Bayo will find your skis directing themselves to the powder - there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

In Cerro Catedral the sheer amount of off-piste options is the the envy of many resorts in Europe or North America. Some of the backcountry chutes and bowls, all accessed by hikes of varying length, are game-changing. The Southern side of the resort – the ‘backside’ - has the most.

For those who know their way around a mountain, then Cerro Bayo’s main gondola will get you to Provinciales, one of the best off-piste playgrounds we’ve ever been fortunate enough to chance upon.  If you want to venture deeper in to the backcountry proper, then we’ll fix you up with a guide. The rewards are easily found and most runs loop back into the basin of the resort, but you need to know the exits.

In Cerro Catedral the bowls up top are utterly enthralling on a board and the long groomers a total blast. However, there is some snowboarder-annoying traversing required to get from one area to another. You have been warned.

The terrain park, located in the Nubes zone, is the most famous, most progressive and longest established in all South America. A dedicated lift serves the zone and an even more dedicated team take care of developing, grooming and overseeing the action. You’ll find with several rails, boxes, jumps (with big….’super’-big air) and stairs.

Day care is available for babies and young children, but it’s hard to ensure that passable English will be spoken. We’ll do our best.  A good bonus for families with children under 11 years old is that the Kids Club is included in the cost of your ski pass. Again, English can be a challenge, but this does allow access to professional staff and decent play areas at the base area.

Different Snow know the ski schools where English is spoken. It would be a mistake to simply turn up and expect this to be possible.

Eating, drinking and making merry comes naturally to Bariloche. Nightlife is a huge part of the experience, be it swanky bars, live music clubs or cosy micro brew pubs. You’ll find some of the best restaurants in Argentina here – indeed the amount of choice can be bewildering. Foodies will be in heaven and those with a sweet tooth particularly euphoric, with ice cream shops, boutique bakeries and the best milk chocolate found anywhere in the world - and we’ll make that fact, not even opinion!

Remember you are in Argentina – allow yourself only a couple of drinks after skiing and then save your energy for later. You shouldn’t even think about going for dinner until 9pm and, following on, bars and disco’s don’t get going till gone midnight. Bonkers and not always conducive for first tracks in the morning, but when in Rome…

For those skiing Cerro Bayo, then the town of Villa la Angostura is a very affluent little 'hot spot', so not surprisingly it attracts some great chefs and is well known for its foodie culture. However, the nightlife is significantly quieter. Most of the hotels have sedate bars for a cheeky après drink, or in town there are a few gastro-pubs where you head out for a meal and then listen to music.

Perhaps Cerro Catedral’s Achilles heel? There are some lovely, gentle slopes down at the base area and the ski school is nothing-but professional, yet this is not an extensive beginners zone and when snow cover is found wanting, this novice zone is the first to suffer. We’re not saying it’s not an option - many people do learn to ski here - it’s simply a fact that it doesn’t have as much to offer as other nearby resorts.

As it happens, better is Cerro Bayo where the beginner’s zone is situated mid mountain at 1,500 metres. Nestled in the trees with outrageous views over the surrounding national parks, this is an idyllic place to learn.

Cerro Catedral is a mountain totally in tune with the intermediate skier or boarder. This is their forté.  Even the black runs don’t hold too much challenge – give ‘em a go. Off the edges of the piste you can hone your skills in open bowls or between the trees. The packed snow is forgiving and the fresh powder found after a storm is often game-changing.

In Cerro Bayo you’ll find a heady mix of on and off-piste terrain, from wide-open groomers to gladed tree runs through the Lenga forest.

In Cerro Catedral, there are only a handful of what we’d call truly black runs, so the most fun to be had is off-piste. If you insist on staying within-bounds, then the tree skiing is always plenty of fun when snow conditions are optimum, and further up the mountain big bowls offer up endless possibilities.

Cerro Bayo will find your skis directing themselves to the powder - there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

In Cerro Catedral the sheer amount of off-piste options is the the envy of many resorts in Europe or North America. Some of the backcountry chutes and bowls, all accessed by hikes of varying length, are game-changing. The Southern side of the resort – the ‘backside’ - has the most.

For those who know their way around a mountain, then Cerro Bayo’s main gondola will get you to Provinciales, one of the best off-piste playgrounds we’ve ever been fortunate enough to chance upon.  If you want to venture deeper in to the backcountry proper, then we’ll fix you up with a guide. The rewards are easily found and most runs loop back into the basin of the resort, but you need to know the exits.

In Cerro Catedral the bowls up top are utterly enthralling on a board and the long groomers a total blast. However, there is some snowboarder-annoying traversing required to get from one area to another. You have been warned.

The terrain park, located in the Nubes zone, is the most famous, most progressive and longest established in all South America. A dedicated lift serves the zone and an even more dedicated team take care of developing, grooming and overseeing the action. You’ll find with several rails, boxes, jumps (with big….’super’-big air) and stairs.

Day care is available for babies and young children, but it’s hard to ensure that passable English will be spoken. We’ll do our best.  A good bonus for families with children under 11 years old is that the Kids Club is included in the cost of your ski pass. Again, English can be a challenge, but this does allow access to professional staff and decent play areas at the base area.

Different Snow know the ski schools where English is spoken. It would be a mistake to simply turn up and expect this to be possible.

Eating, drinking and making merry comes naturally to Bariloche. Nightlife is a huge part of the experience, be it swanky bars, live music clubs or cosy micro brew pubs. You’ll find some of the best restaurants in Argentina here – indeed the amount of choice can be bewildering. Foodies will be in heaven and those with a sweet tooth particularly euphoric, with ice cream shops, boutique bakeries and the best milk chocolate found anywhere in the world - and we’ll make that fact, not even opinion!

Remember you are in Argentina – allow yourself only a couple of drinks after skiing and then save your energy for later. You shouldn’t even think about going for dinner until 9pm and, following on, bars and disco’s don’t get going till gone midnight. Bonkers and not always conducive for first tracks in the morning, but when in Rome…

For those skiing Cerro Bayo, then the town of Villa la Angostura is a very affluent little 'hot spot', so not surprisingly it attracts some great chefs and is well known for its foodie culture. However, the nightlife is significantly quieter. Most of the hotels have sedate bars for a cheeky après drink, or in town there are a few gastro-pubs where you head out for a meal and then listen to music.

Getting There

There are direct flights from Buenos Aires into Bariloche several times daily. It’s a one-hour 50-minute flight and all depart from Jorge Newbery Airport, which is the domestic airport in Buenos Aires.  Often this means that the layover times between your long international flight and this domestic flight demands a stop-over in Buenos Aires. No hardship, it’s a great city.

Cerro Bayo and the town of Villa La Angostura are one hour north (42 miles) of Bariloche, and one and a half hours south of Cerro Chapelco / San Martin de los Andes. As is always the case in this region, Bariloche airport is your gateway.

Resort Scorecard

Snowsure


Beginners


Intermediate


Advanced


Snowboarders


Après Ski


Families


Base elevation: 1,030 (Cerro Catedral) / 1,050 (Cerro Bayo)

Top elevation: 2,050 (Cerro Catedral) / 1,805 (Cerro Bayo)

Number of lifts: 38 (Cerro Caterdral) / 13 (Cerro Bayo)

Number of runs: 39 (Cerro Caterdral) / 25 (Cerro Bayo)

Access: There are several daily flights from Buenos Aires to Bariloche. The flight takes just less than two hours.

Bariloche (Cerro Catedral & Cerro Bayo) Piste Maps