Pucon-Villarrica, Cerro Chalpelco, Alta Patagonia-Catedral
Day 1: Arrival to Pucon
Welcome to the Andes and the world of backcountry skiing in Chile! Your Chile skiing guides will meet you and the group at the airport in Temuco, Chile then we head to the Chile ski town of Pucon, home of the active snow covered Volcano Villarrica and our home for the next three nights.
In Mapuche, the native tongue of the indigenous people of Chile, Pucon means “entrance to the mountain.” Known as Chile's adventure capital, this quiet mountain town borders two national parks, a national animal reserve, and sits on the black sand beach of Lago Villarrica.
Aside from the beckoning snow on the steep ski slopes of Volcan Villarrica, Pucon offers class IV-V river rafting, volcanic cave exploration, mountain biking, 4x4 trips, snowshoeing in nearby reserves including the Cani, and much more!
On your first evening you have a delicious welcome dinner and we will prepare for tomorrow's ascent of Volcano Villarrica, one of the World's most active craters.
Day 2-3: Ski Pucon – Volcan Villarrica
An early breakfast is followed by an ascent that will take us to the 2,840m (9317 ft.) peak of Volcano Villarrica. The challenging climb takes approximately four to five hours, and provides an epic panoramic view of Chile's Lake District and other nearby smoking Volcanoes. The high point of the day will be peering into the crater of Volcan Villarrica one of the world’s most active, which last erupted in 1985, with minor eruptions occurring regularly. Our ski descent back to Villarrica's small ski resort is over 1640 vertical meters (5380 feet) through the alpine snow slopes, deep lava flows creating natural half pipes, cornices and wind lips. In the afternoon, we finish the day with a sunset soak in the nearby thermal hot springs alongside the cold waters of the Liucura River.
Should wind and weather hinder our attempt to climb Villarrica, we can ski the slopes lower down, with easy off-piste hiking and touring access to some great skiing areas. Or have a free day with options like: river rafting, snow shoeing, hot springs, massage, or just relaxing, with time to explore the small-town vibe of Southern Chile.
Our final evening in Pucon will be spent with the Martinez Family on their farm near the Northeast face of the Volcano. An unforgettable traditional Chilean asado (Barbecue) awaits us and gives you the chance to get to know a piece of the local culture.
After days like this, you might want to celebrate in town at the Casino, discothèque, or one of the late night pubs.
The Ski Resort of Pucon-Villarrica
The Pucon Ski Center is a relatively small South American ski resort compared to the others. It is located about 120 kilometers southeast of Temuco, Chile inside Parque Nacional Villarrica in the Chilean Lake District. Unlike Cerro Chapelco, in Argentina which is covered by old growth forests the slopes of Villarrica are above the tree-line. Here you will be skiing below one of the most active volcanic craters in South America with spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and other volcanic cones. The resort itself boasts about 20% beginner trails, 50% intermediate trails, 30% expert ski runs. It is less heavily skied than many of the other Chile ski resorts providing even greater opportunities to lay down fresh tracks. Skiing in Chile doesn’t get much better than this!
The Skiing at Pucon-Villarrica
In addition to twenty well maintained and groomed ski trails, Pucon-Villarrica offers great terrain for the off-piste skier. Short hikes from the resort itself provide access to great un-skied terrain and a two hour hike from the top of the highest ski lift to the Villarrica crater provides for an epic ski descent. The mountain itself is serviced by nine ski lifts capable of transporting 5000 skiers per hour.
Apres Ski Activities:
Pucon Villarrica’s mountain resort has some great après-ski facilities such as a café, restaurant and bar. Not a bad place to rest the dusted legs after a descent from the cone. However we will probably head out to Pucon after the day's skiing is finished and the lifts close in the afternoon. There you can either explore the streets of Pucon or take a rest back at our comfortable lodging.
Night Life - Pucon:
Pucon is internationally acclaimed as the "Adventure Capital of Chile," with a nightlife commensurate with that title. In this small picturesque ski village visitors will find numerous restaurants, bars and discos. It is one of our favorite towns to visit while skiing in Chile.
Day 4-5: Ski Cerro Chapelco – Argentina
After breakfast in Pucon, we cross the international border into Argentina through National Parks Lanin and Villarrica. The shadow of one of the Andes’ youngest volcanoes, Lanin (3,768 m. or 12,362 ft.) looms over the prehistoric Araucanian forest and pristine lakes as we head into the gorgeous Rio Negro Province of Argentina.
We will spend the afternoon skiing around the Chapelco Ski Resort, above Lago Lacar in National Park Lanin. Later in the day we will explore the streets on San Martin de Los Andes, one of our favorite ski towns! Nights will be spent in this scenic ski town.
The Resort of Cerro Chapelco:
Cerro Chapelco is relatively new Patagonia ski resort opened in the 2000. It is located about 20 kilometers outside San Martin de Los Andes inside Parque Nacional Lanin near Volcan Lanin and Lake Lacar. Unlike Cerro Catedral, Cerro Chapelco is covered by old growth forests. The lichens on these trees hang like beards making for a unique and surreal Patagonia skiing experience. The resort itself boasts about 30 % intermediate trails and 30% expert trails. It is also much less heavily skied than Cerro Cathedral providing even greater opportunities to find Patagonia powder. Skiing in Patagonia doesn’t get much better than this!
The Skiing at Cerro Chapelco:
In addition to well maintained and groomed trails, Cerro Chapelco offers something truly special for the off-piste skier. Because the resort is situated in old growth forest of it offers a truly unique tree skiing experience. Proficient tree skiers can ski the entire mountain without coming out of the trees. The mountain itself is serviced by 12 lifts including a six person gondola.
Apres Ski Activities:
Chapelco’s mountain village plaza is a great way to spend the afternoon once the legs are dusted. With a mix of local skiers and boarders, live music, fresh coffee and Quilmes (locals choice in beer), you find it a perfect spot to watch the sunset below the Andes Mountains! After the ski lifts close the afternoon is free to relax in the plaza, head back to your comfy hotel or explore the streets of San Martin de Los Andes, one of our favorite Patagonia ski towns!
Night Life - San Martin de Los Andes:
A classic Argentina ski village, this town has numerous international restaurants, bars, and a casino to keep the nightlife going.
Day 6: Ski Cerro Chapelco & transit to Alta Patagonia, Catedral
After another morning of skiing Argentina's powder, depending on road conditions, we will have several options to get us to our next destination, the ski city of San Carlos de Bariloche. One route includes jaw dropping views along the “Siete Lagos” (Seven Lakes). The beautiful drive through Northern Patagonia, and into the famous forest lined Andes dotted with hundreds of crystal clear lakes and trout filled streams is unforgettable.
We will spend the next three nights in the heart of the heart of this famous Argentina ski city, twenty minutes from one of South America’s finest ski resorts, Catedral Alta Patagonia. The“Swiss-styled” city of Bariloche in Argentine Patagonia, based alongside beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi is famous for skiing, red wine, steaks, homemade chocolates, shopping, and very late nightlife. San Carlos de Bariloche acts as a gateway to this region’s endless outdoor activities such as: horseback riding, hiking in the national parks, cruises on the massive Nahuel Huapi Lake, and more!
Day 7-8: Argentina Skiing – Alta Patagonia, Catedral
The Southside of the Catedral is highly praised by local powder hounds as the place to be. It offers excellent tours and hikes to the steep chutes, bowls and cliff bands of "Punta Nevada" and "La Laguna" on the backside. The late afternoon will be spent in the small village at the base with free time to grab a drink, send e-mails, or check out the local scene. We will have a delicious Patagonian dinner in the city of Bariloche.
The Alta Patagonia Ski Resort:
Cerro Cathedral is the main skiing mountain of San Carlos de Bariloche. Prior to 1998, the mountain had a number of competing ski lift companies that merged to form the resort of Alta Patagonia and uniting the entire lift system under one All Mountain Pass (lift ticket). The mountain itself is owned by the Argentine government and like its namesake, Alta, in the Utah, it is blessed with spectacular powder. Over half the trails on Cathedral are rated intermediate or higher making this one of South America’s greatest snow skiing destinations in the same league as skiing Chile’s Portillo and Termas de Chillan. Alta Patagonia is a European Style resort with one of South America’s only tramways.
The Skiing at Alta Patagonia - Catedral:
Two full days on Cathedral Mountain and world class backcountry, famous for powder skiing, and phenomenal views of the National Park Nahuel Huapi, Mt. Tronador of 3554 meters (11,660 ft.). There is no finer skiing in Chile or Argentina than Cerro Cathedral!
Apres Ski Activities:
After the lifts close we will be spend some time in the small Argentina ski village at the base of the mountain. Here we will be able to relax, order a drink and snacks, check our e-mail, do some shopping and experience the Argentina skiing scene firsthand.
Night Life - San Carlos de Bariloche:
Your evenings are free to sample Argentina’s fine dinnertime cuisine, try your luck at the local casino, go shopping, experience Bariloche’s famous nightlife or just relax.
Day 9: More Argentina Skiing & Departure
After another delicious breakfast and day of skiing in Bariloche we will get you to the Bariloche airport where you can catch your afternoon flight to Santiago, Chile allowing for easy connections for those with evening departures home, and numerous central hotels we can recommend for those of you staying a few extra days for sight seeing in Santiago. We also give you the option to continue your stay in Patagonia.
Price: 2495.00 USD
Included: Professional, certified North American & European ski guides, Trip Leader, Airport pick-up, delicious breakfasts and dinners, Comfortable lodging, Private transportation, Lift tickets, unlimited backcountry excursions, avalanche safety course.
Not Included: Round trip international flight to Chile or Argentina, airline/airport fees and taxes, required travel insurance, end of trip gratuities to your guides, drinks, and lunches, any required equipment for your trip.
Note: The ski season in South America is opposite that of North America and Europe. The months we typically ski are: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.
Our Ski South America Tours:
Chile & Argentina Skiing Overview , Resort Tours: Chile Skiing Resort Tour , Argentina Skiing Patagonia Resorts , Backcountry Tours: Ski Argentina Patagonia Backcountry , Ski Chile & Argentina Backcountry Tour , Mountaineering Tours, Ski Patagonia Skiing in Argentina , Hut to Hut
South American Ski Resorts:
Chile: Portillo , Valle Nevado , Termas de Chillan , Pucon - Villarica , Argentina: Las Lenyas , Alta Patagonia – Catedral , Cerro Chapelco , Cerro Bayo , La Hoya , Ushuaia