Resort Scorecard

Snowsure


Beginners


Intermediate


Advanced


Snowboarders


Après Ski


Families


Base elevation: 2,240 metres

Top elevation: 3,450 metres

Number of lifts: 14

Number of runs: 29

Access: Fly to Malargue or San Rafael and then road transfer to the resort.

Within the ski community, tales of Las Leñas are told with whispered reverence. This is the most important resort in Argentina (perhaps in South America?), yet getting here requires considerable fortitude, planning and effort - it’s a good job Different Snow are on-hand to help with the arrangements.

So, is it worth it? Of course it is! With more skiable terrain than Whistler, Las Leñas provides access to some of the world’s best lift-accessed snow stashes and then there is a vast out-of-bounds area to keep in mind, all of it above tree line. There are some terrifying fall-lines of international renown, so it’s not surprising that this resort attracts the pro-skiers from around the world. However, If you are not up to throwing yourself off cliffs and straight-lining narrow chutes, then don’t despair; Las Leñas also has plenty of groomed piste for beginners and intermediate skiers and riders. And because of it’s location and altitude – the top lift takes you to 3,450 metres - the prevailing conditions here are excellent, with snow remaining dry for days. This is all set against a 360-degree backdrop of big mountains and volcanoes with dramatic peaks.

With all the hype surrounding Las Leñas, we need to offer some words of caution. The weather can be an unpredictable factor here and when the storms blow in all of that magnificent terrain becomes tantalizingly out of reach. By travelling later in the season (August onwards) we markedly increase your odds, but a fully committed dance to the weather deities will always be a good idea.

Las Leñas itself is a small, ever-so-trendy village, planned and built in the early 80’s, with restaurants, hotels, and a voracious nightlife.

Skiing in Las Leñas

Come to Las Leñas to enjoy the best ski terrain in South America, good enough to rival anything in Europe and North America. You’ll find epic couloirs, open bowls, as well as long groomers - the most exhilarating skiing of your life can be guaranteed. This is a resort in which to push limits, step outside your comfort zone and give it a go. The quality of the Las Leñas powder is often superb and a huge part of the draw.

However, if talk of sheer faces and tight chutes leaves you frankly terrified, then you shouldn’t be put off. The piste stats clearly show that green covers 15%, blue 45%, red 35% and black has only 5%....but what a 5%! Therefore, Las Leñas is a ski resort particularly well suited to intermediates who wish to do nothing other than cruise the corduroy all day.  

It’s this combination of groomers, inbounds off-piste and backcountry areas that makes Las Leñas world class. You’ll find a big bit of everything here with lift access to more than 200,000 acres of skiable terrain, both on and off-piste. Open bowls? Tick. Crazy narrow chutes? Tick. Las Leñas is massive and on a fine day it just goes on and on and on…..

If you’ve fallen victim to the lively après-scene and missed most of the days’ skiing, then fear not -  Las Leñas offers Argentina’s only night skiing.

A gentle base area, just near the village, has several easy Poma lifts and is an excellent zone for nervous newbies with shallow, low and wide slopes. The brilliant ski school offers group lessons (Spanish only) and private lessons (English-speaking a possibility) for all levels.

Whilst Las Leñas is world-renowned for its steep slopes and limitless off-piste, the intermediates’ experience of the resort will be every bit as good. Particularly if you are willing to push yourself, when the rewards will many. The main groomed runs are nice and wide, often with an exhilarating pitch. Don’t feel too worried about jumping on the Marte Chairlift (see ‘Advanced’), as it actually opens up some wonderful long cruisers all the way back down, complimented by some amazing views.

For those seeking their real first off-piste experiences, Las Leñas holds all the cards. There are opportunities right off the sides of most groomers that need no hike to access and end up conveniently back at the resort base.

First of all, there is enough which is lift-serviced to keep you busy for your entire week. Most of these fall-lines filter you right back into the resort base, so when the conditions are just right and once you’ve sussed your preferred route, head back up and repeat. And repeat.

Much of the most exciting terrain in Las Leñas is accessed from the famous Marte chairlift.  If the weather is behaving you’ll find that this is where you’ll soon gravitate towards and the rest of the resort becomes dead to you. There is 15 miles of skiable terrain just from this one lift and it’s some of the best you’ll ever be fortunate enough to experience. From the steep bowl directly under the lift, to Eduardo’s 48-degree couloir, and literally hundreds of chutes, many have said that they would give up every chairlift in South America just for Marte!

However, it’s important to make hey as the sun shines.  Marte closes frustratingly frequently - high winds, foggy, avalanche danger and even just cold temperatures all do the trick. And when Marte closes, so does a high percentage of the advanced and expert terrain.

There is no tree skiing in Las Leñas - if you want to ski in glades then you should head south to the resorts in Patagonia.  

A limitless playground of constant life-affirming rapture. You get the picture? You will ski lines you never knew could possibly exist. Basically, Las Leñas offers lift-serviced off-piste skiing at its finest with numerous steep trenches, wide-open bowls, zesty couloirs, natural alpine ramps, and the longest and tightest chutes you’ll find anywhere in South America.

If this is not enough, then leaving the ski area boundary requires that you sign a form with the patrol. They will generally ask for your passport number and will want to know where you are staying and then you'll sign a form saying that you agree to not hold the resort liable for any injuries incurred out-of-bounds. You are then given a little colorful tag that you must show before entering the out-of-bounds areas each time. Once out in the snow-drenched wilds, you’ll find only ski bums, film crews, and pro skiers in some of the world’s most legendary backcountry, all exploring the mountains which lead you towards Chile. Maps and guidebooks have been written covering the lines in and out of this extensive ski area - invest in one. But do not even think about venturing out here without the right safety kit, plenty of experience under your belt and a trusted professional backcountry guide – which Different Snow can and will organise this for you.

There are no inherent problems for either discipline  – skiers and boarders alike consider Las Leñas an absolute mecca for extreme amounts of fun.  

There is a snow park right in the heart of the resort. Truth be told, it’s pretty basic, with several boxes, rainbows, rails, and a few small to medium size “hits” in which to “air it out”. So we’ve been told.

We won’t pretend otherwise, Las Leñas feels like a grown-ups’ resort. The hard-core skiing, the vast big mountain backdrops, the off-the –chart nightlife, the language barrier….you get the picture.

Having said that, the locals are all about the family life and you will certainly find many well-heeled Argentine families in town. The excellent ski schools do have some English-speaking (i.e. American and Canadian) instructors, some of the hotels are geared up as family-friendly, child-care will never be a problem and designated zones on the slopes make it easy to keep track of the little skiers. Therefore, we can make this work as a family holiday.

The discos and bars provide a melting pot for ‘rad’ skiers from around the world. If burning the candle at both ends is your thing, then this is the resort for you - the bars and discos don’t even get going until the small hours and are packed with impossibly beautiful Argentines and Brazilians. Afternoon siestas become your best friend, freshening you up for the second installment of the day which will then culminate in a great Argentine steak and then a night out throwing shapes.

A little bit of feedback we always receive is about the food. It’s fantastic here - it appears the rich Argentine food culture is alive and kicking in Las Leñas.

A gentle base area, just near the village, has several easy Poma lifts and is an excellent zone for nervous newbies with shallow, low and wide slopes. The brilliant ski school offers group lessons (Spanish only) and private lessons (English-speaking a possibility) for all levels.

Whilst Las Leñas is world-renowned for its steep slopes and limitless off-piste, the intermediates’ experience of the resort will be every bit as good. Particularly if you are willing to push yourself, when the rewards will many. The main groomed runs are nice and wide, often with an exhilarating pitch. Don’t feel too worried about jumping on the Marte Chairlift (see ‘Advanced’), as it actually opens up some wonderful long cruisers all the way back down, complimented by some amazing views.

For those seeking their real first off-piste experiences, Las Leñas holds all the cards. There are opportunities right off the sides of most groomers that need no hike to access and end up conveniently back at the resort base.

First of all, there is enough which is lift-serviced to keep you busy for your entire week. Most of these fall-lines filter you right back into the resort base, so when the conditions are just right and once you’ve sussed your preferred route, head back up and repeat. And repeat.

Much of the most exciting terrain in Las Leñas is accessed from the famous Marte chairlift.  If the weather is behaving you’ll find that this is where you’ll soon gravitate towards and the rest of the resort becomes dead to you. There is 15 miles of skiable terrain just from this one lift and it’s some of the best you’ll ever be fortunate enough to experience. From the steep bowl directly under the lift, to Eduardo’s 48-degree couloir, and literally hundreds of chutes, many have said that they would give up every chairlift in South America just for Marte!

However, it’s important to make hey as the sun shines.  Marte closes frustratingly frequently - high winds, foggy, avalanche danger and even just cold temperatures all do the trick. And when Marte closes, so does a high percentage of the advanced and expert terrain.

There is no tree skiing in Las Leñas - if you want to ski in glades then you should head south to the resorts in Patagonia.  

A limitless playground of constant life-affirming rapture. You get the picture? You will ski lines you never knew could possibly exist. Basically, Las Leñas offers lift-serviced off-piste skiing at its finest with numerous steep trenches, wide-open bowls, zesty couloirs, natural alpine ramps, and the longest and tightest chutes you’ll find anywhere in South America.

If this is not enough, then leaving the ski area boundary requires that you sign a form with the patrol. They will generally ask for your passport number and will want to know where you are staying and then you'll sign a form saying that you agree to not hold the resort liable for any injuries incurred out-of-bounds. You are then given a little colorful tag that you must show before entering the out-of-bounds areas each time. Once out in the snow-drenched wilds, you’ll find only ski bums, film crews, and pro skiers in some of the world’s most legendary backcountry, all exploring the mountains which lead you towards Chile. Maps and guidebooks have been written covering the lines in and out of this extensive ski area - invest in one. But do not even think about venturing out here without the right safety kit, plenty of experience under your belt and a trusted professional backcountry guide – which Different Snow can and will organise this for you.

There are no inherent problems for either discipline  – skiers and boarders alike consider Las Leñas an absolute mecca for extreme amounts of fun.  

There is a snow park right in the heart of the resort. Truth be told, it’s pretty basic, with several boxes, rainbows, rails, and a few small to medium size “hits” in which to “air it out”. So we’ve been told.

We won’t pretend otherwise, Las Leñas feels like a grown-ups’ resort. The hard-core skiing, the vast big mountain backdrops, the off-the –chart nightlife, the language barrier….you get the picture.

Having said that, the locals are all about the family life and you will certainly find many well-heeled Argentine families in town. The excellent ski schools do have some English-speaking (i.e. American and Canadian) instructors, some of the hotels are geared up as family-friendly, child-care will never be a problem and designated zones on the slopes make it easy to keep track of the little skiers. Therefore, we can make this work as a family holiday.

The discos and bars provide a melting pot for ‘rad’ skiers from around the world. If burning the candle at both ends is your thing, then this is the resort for you - the bars and discos don’t even get going until the small hours and are packed with impossibly beautiful Argentines and Brazilians. Afternoon siestas become your best friend, freshening you up for the second installment of the day which will then culminate in a great Argentine steak and then a night out throwing shapes.

A little bit of feedback we always receive is about the food. It’s fantastic here - it appears the rich Argentine food culture is alive and kicking in Las Leñas.

Getting There

Las Leñas is 732 miles west of Buenos Aires. That’s a long way.  And flights are limited to certain days of the week – i.e. the weekends. Theoretically, you could also get there on an overnight bus, but this would take you over 16 hours in a reclining seat. Instead, we prefer to use either Malargue Airport, from which there is a 45 minute transfer to Las Leñas, or San Rafael Airport which requires a two-hour road transfer on to the resort. The worse case scenario is Mendoza Airport, which then necessitates a grueling further six hours road transfer to Las Leñas.

The fly in the ointment is that apart from the four daily scheduled flights to Mendoza, flights to both San Rafael and Malargue are few and far between and are often only charter services i.e. Different Snow will gain access only as part of a package with accommodation in Las Leñas.

All flights from Buenos Aires will leave from the domestic airport (Jorge Newberry Aeroparque – AEP), which is about one hour away from the international airport.

Resort Scorecard

Snowsure


Beginners


Intermediate


Advanced


Snowboarders


Après Ski


Families


Base elevation: 2,240 metres

Top elevation: 3,450 metres

Number of lifts: 14

Number of runs: 29

Access: Fly to Malargue or San Rafael and then road transfer to the resort.