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Chile or Argentina

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am planning a trip for the summer of '08 and I am looking for guidance on where to go. May own research leads me to Las Lenas and Portillo. Skiing is more important than nightlife and food. Who gets the best snow and who has the best expert terrain, steeps, BC, etc. I certainly welcome any suggestions on resorts other than those listed above.
post #2 of 29
Las Lenas is awesome. that being said it is only awesome with marte open, marte is closed a qarter of the time, when its closed half the mountain is aswell.

their are some super cheap cat skiing around LL just look outside the resort. i stayed in Marlague a few times and you could find plenty of tour operators offering cat skiing at half what las lenas resort was. either way its going to be cheaper than pretty much anywhere in the us.

if you have the time i HIGHLY recomend checking out Cerro Castor, Ushuaia in Terra del Fugeo, its an undiscovered untouched mountain great powder served by the antartic winds. i went in september and the hill was empty when storms came through i had powder days that lasted all week with fresh lined all day. minimal hiking for some awesome terrain. and its good bragging rights saying you've been to a place closer to antartica than to a major city and skied their.

pm me if you need more specific info
post #3 of 29
(subscribing to this thread.)
post #4 of 29
I thought about the Malargue option also since either resort has limited lodging and both seem to work on weekly basis only. Did u stay in Mlrge and just catch the bus up to LL if u wanted to?
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks Tylerjames

if you have the time i HIGHLY recomend checking out Cerro Castor, Ushuaia in Terra del Fugeo, its an undiscovered untouched mountain great powder served by the antartic winds.
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Thanks for the info. Forgive my ignorance but where are the other places that are listed? can you hit them and Las Lenas or Portillo in the same 1 week trip?
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by offbtnpath View Post
I thought about the Malargue option also since either resort has limited lodging and both seem to work on weekly basis only. Did u stay in Mlrge and just catch the bus up to LL if u wanted to?
i did stay in Marlague its a cool quiet town. they have a local bus that most of the workers on the mountain use its 10 or 15 pesos each way. several companys offer rides and they use good jeeps so they usally get their. hostels are less than 10 bucks and in the off season only you get 50% off of a lift ticket, so its alot cheaper.durring the high season i would stay at a hotel just outside of Las Lenas for 20 bucks or so.

NYSkier55:

Thanks for the info. Forgive my ignorance but where are the other places that are listed? can you hit them and Las Lenas or Portillo in the same 1 week trip?

nyskier, it would be a bit tight to fit Ushuaia in on a week its all the way at the bottom of south america. you could do portillo and las lenas in a week, but i would recomend you go maybe las lenas and maybe los pententientes its close to mendoza and not many forigners go so its local and good off piste that no one gets to.

sorry i know nothing about portillo i mostly stick to argentina for some reason.
post #7 of 29

Chile-Argentina

NY55. Not practical to ski LasLenas and Portillo in same week.

Portillo is a lot of intermediate terrain. Exception is Rokka Jac lift, boot pack up about 80 yards, traverse to left on a narrow, auger in skiing trail and then ski the the chutes and small pockets and bowls off the traverse. When I was there the powder was good, I would rate it good tahoe powder not good CO, BC or No. Idaho powder. In my opinion Portillo was a great vacation, social experience but not a great go for it ski experience. Just my 2cents opinion. Have fun.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post
NY55. Not practical to ski LasLenas and Portillo in same week.

Portillo is a lot of intermediate terrain. Exception is Rokka Jac lift, boot pack up about 80 yards, traverse to left on a narrow, auger in skiing trail and then ski the the chutes and small pockets and bowls off the traverse. When I was there the powder was good, I would rate it good tahoe powder not good CO, BC or No. Idaho powder. In my opinion Portillo was a great vacation, social experience but not a great go for it ski experience. Just my 2cents opinion. Have fun.
It would be pretty expensive and time-consuming to try to go from LL-Portillo in same week; plus the montain pass that takes you to Santiago then to Portillio is pretty hairy and like most mntn passes can be temporarily closed due to snow.
post #9 of 29
[quote=tylerjames;

if you have the time i HIGHLY recomend checking out Cerro Castor, Ushuaia in Terra del Fugeo, its an undiscovered untouched mountain great powder served by the antartic winds. i went in september and the hill was empty when storms came through i had powder days that lasted all week with fresh lined all day. minimal hiking for some awesome terrain. and its good bragging rights saying you've been to a place closer to antartica than to a major city and skied their.

pm me if you need more specific info[/quote]
Cerro Castor is relatively accessible as an airport is in area w/nonstops from Buenos Aires. Not sure about connections from Santiago.
post #10 of 29
I have skied Portillo and Las Lenas and would recommend LL. As noted, the Marte lift is closed a lot, but there is still good lift and hike to skiing. The mountain is much bigger than Portillo, which only has about 1/2 the vertical and the steep runs can be limited if the lake is not frozen. The Roca Jack lift also fails to operate alot of the time, which further limits the steep skiing at Portillo.

If you do a search here and on TGR you will find lots of info on both areas. They are each unique skiing experiences worth a trip. The big drawback is that they are both above treeline, so if it is snowing you really can't ski because visibility and avalanche conditions are a problem. For a great skiing experience at either you need to be lucky with the weather to a larger extent than at most resorts.
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
mudfoot: you raise a good point what can I expect by way of avalanche control. I assume a full backcountry pack is in order.
post #12 of 29
Portillo is weird, most of the lift served runs are around 2,000 vert, but they are all directly under 5,000 vert chutes. You are basically skiing the bottoms of chutes coming off 20,000 ft peaks. The Roca Jack lift is a special design with no towers because they would get wiped out by the avalanches. The control work is world class and led by the head guide for Chugach Powder Guides in Alaska. He also does the heli guiding, but it's very expensive because the copter is small and only holds 4 guests. If the lake is frozen you can access some nice stuff at the back end opposite the hotel. You can climb above the area, but it's steep and I would highly recommend a guide unless you really know what you are doing. Check out the C-chute, which feeds back to the lifts, or you can arrange a shuttle, climb 3,000 ft., jump the ridge and ski thousands of vert to the road down the pass.

Las Lenas is set up differently with the lifts running to the top of the mountain, but the side country is amazing. There are about a half dozen peaks visible and easily accessible for day skiing around the area. Check out the map on the wall at the Wine Bar for out of bounds runs from the area. If you give your passport number to the patrol and sign a release they give you a ribbon to tie on your pass that will allow you to go almost anywhere, but you are on your own for avalanche danger once you leave the area. Have someone point out "The Necklace". It's right above the lifts, a pretty easy hike, and feeds back to the base. They also have cat skiing from the base. You could spend months skiing around LL. Take your beacon, shovel and probe even if you aren't taking AT gear. That was the first place I saw large numbers of skiers getting on the lifts with AT gear.

Portillo has several american and Canadian patrol and instuctors you can ask for directions. At LL you'll need good Spanish unless you can find english speaking ski bums to talk to for help. I was skiing with condors flying above me at both areas. It's a long way to go, and it aint cheap, but definitely worth the trip IMO.
post #13 of 29
slightly off-thread, as I am now on injured reserve for 5 more weeks, would you suggest LL or someplace in New Zealand for a trip this summer?

Mike
post #14 of 29
if your thinking about anything in the southern hemisphere theirs no reason to look anywhere but the Andes. Their the largest mountain range outside the himalays and the cost you can't beat.
LL is a good bet depends on how long you are going to be staying, bariloche is more of aski town, by south american standards.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerjames View Post
if your thinking about anything in the southern hemisphere theirs no reason to look anywhere but the Andes. Their the largest mountain range outside the himalays and the cost you can't beat.
LL is a good bet depends on how long you are going to be staying, bariloche is more of aski town, by south american standards.
How is Bariloche for the skiing compared to las lenas (Bariloche only advertise 10% expert on their site) ? I am also planning a 4 months stay in the Andes this summer. I am looking for a good resort with an extensive night life. I am a instructor and will want to dj as well.

Thanks
post #16 of 29
I have not been to Bariloche, but I know that it is much much smaller than Las Lenas. Nice little town, but more of local ski area. Las Lenas is kind of like a small Vail. It has a casino and several rocking bars and "discos." They eat dinner at 10:00 and drink and dance until 4:00, so it's not too hard to beat the crowd to first chair on a powder day. If you want "extensive night life" then LL is definately the call.

Portillo is basically one hotel, meals and lifts included, with about 400 guests that rolls over every week, so the scene is very controlled. LL has about 5 hotels and several bars and clubs. It really is quite the party scene, and the girls are beautiful and friendly.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whistlerpow View Post
How is Bariloche for the skiing compared to las lenas (Bariloche only advertise 10% expert on their site) ? I am also planning a 4 months stay in the Andes this summer. I am looking for a good resort with an extensive night life. I am a instructor and will want to dj as well.

Thanks
Las Lenas is amazing i love going for a week at a time but i would never spend 4 months there. from the shotty lifts including marte breaking down to its remote location it will drive you crazy after a while. it does have a good night life but it has UFO point and another disco after a while it gets to be the same.

Bariloche as a resort is alot more modern and has good lifts and 2 gondolas. 10% of the terrain is expert but thats not counting lines within a shot hike or a short skin away. their terrain is pretty sweet and usually never skied out.
Bariloche has loads of amazing terrain easily accessable with some skins or shoes, tons of ski only mountain huts too.

the town is cool aswell alot of cool bars, cervesa artisnal(Micro Brews) and clubs, as for getting work as a dj you better stock up on your Drum and Bass collection thats the majority of what argentinan clubs play and most stay open to 6 or 8 am so skiing the next day may become difficult. it may be difficult to find dj work but the club scene in Argentina is alot of fun.

Bariloche is close to a town called El Bolson which i would highly recomend going to for the whole month of July, july is the month that Brazil and argentina have their vacation and the resort is overwhelmed with people lift lines swell and although most of the expert terrain is still good you get alot of know-it-all first timers and typical vacationers. its best to avoid it all together. el bolson is a little town with more micro brewiers than anywhere i have ever been to. its also close to some smaller resorts and alot of good off-piste terrain.

i'm headed down to BAriloche this coming summer for the season too keep in touch.

these are a few photos from my trip the last couple years
the lakes

















older photo



STEAK STEAK
post #18 of 29
Thanks Tyler for the info, Bariloche looks like a lot of fun and I do like to hike and get out on skins.... I guess I better apply for a work visa if I want to make some money teaching.... they could probably help me at the resort...?
post #19 of 29
Thanks for the pics and info on Bariloche TJ. There is certainly more to the town and ski area than I've heard about. Looks like I'll have to put it on my list of places to check out, that's if the US dollar ever bounces back up.
post #20 of 29
Whistlerpow;

what type of work are you looking for? assuming your looking for work as an instructor you will need to be able to speak spanish. as far as visas go i never needed one while i was teaching english. not sure about working for a resort tho. tourists get 90 day visas on arrival, and you can cross into chile when the 90 days are up, if you don't want to do that its a 50peso(15ish$) fine for any time after 90 days.
i am looking for a work as an insturctor this year, i found a few ski schools but as far as the mountain itself i can't find too much info on it. if you have a bit of cash it is cheap enough to just live down there without working. i have heard of people working as english ski guides but i havent the slightest idea on how to go about that, if you find out let me know.
Teaching english is always an option and pays decently well 15 pesos an hr some places, although 10 is fair too. remember argentina has a 10 to 15 percent unemployment rate so its difficult for Argentines to get work let alone a foreigner.
post #21 of 29
Tyler,

I am also looking for work as an instructor ! I am not fluent in Spanish but that is why I want to spent time down there... I speak french and english so Spanish is relatively easy. Maybe start a little business on the side for teaching or guiding tourist ! Can certainly beat the cost for lesson of any school and make more money that way.....

How was the respond from the schools you found ?
post #22 of 29
For what it's worth, there were a few north american english speaking instructors and patrolmen at Portillo, but I didn't encounter any at Las Lenas. On the whole, the Portillo resort was much more english friendly than Las Lenas.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whistlerpow View Post
Tyler,

I am also looking for work as an instructor ! I am not fluent in Spanish but that is why I want to spent time down there... I speak french and english so Spanish is relatively easy. Maybe start a little business on the side for teaching or guiding tourist ! Can certainly beat the cost for lesson of any school and make more money that way.....

How was the respond from the schools you found ?
The schools looked good i am applying now and sending out a few emails including the mountain. i'll pm you in the next day or so with a list of the schools that have some online applications, most of them do require some spanish, but with you already being bilingual it souldent be too hard. two years ago when i went down i knew no spanish apart from, una cervesa por favor and donde esta la chicas. now i am able to converse fluently but my grammar could use some work.
every year i went i met a few north american workers so it can't be too hard. i'm looking into setting up some sort of business and getting some property down there too. i have a few leads on properties and a few ideas on some ski touring business, let me know what ur thinking.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerjames View Post
The schools looked good i am applying now and sending out a few emails including the mountain. i'll pm you in the next day or so with a list of the schools that have some online applications, most of them do require some spanish, but with you already being bilingual it souldent be too hard. two years ago when i went down i knew no spanish apart from, una cervesa por favor and donde esta la chicas. now i am able to converse fluently but my grammar could use some work.
every year i went i met a few north american workers so it can't be too hard. i'm looking into setting up some sort of business and getting some property down there too. i have a few leads on properties and a few ideas on some ski touring business, let me know what ur thinking.
I'm thinking that this is also what I want to do.....
post #25 of 29
Whistlerpow,

Based on your handle I am guessing you live and work in Whistler? If so....and if you are serious...there are lots (well ok, maybe not lots, but certainly several) ski pros in Whistler that are either from that part of the world or who have taught several seasons there....ask around, get thier names, make contact and go from there....
post #26 of 29
Mark Lasseter lives in Whistler and owns and operates Southamericaski.com that specializes in trips to Las Lenas, where he lives most of their winter. Try (604)698-5230, or (604) 932-7059, (the direct line and office numbers off his business card). I would think that he might be a good local resource.
post #27 of 29
I'll be in Chile and hopefully Argentina beginging of August. Right now the plan is to hit Valle Nevado/La Parva for 4 or 5 days of skiing, then hit Beunos Aires for a few days and then fly to Bariloche for another 4 or 5 days. Already have the tickets into SCL. Just need to decide how we want to do the circuit. Looks like LAN Chile has a Latin Pass that might save us a few dollars on flights. Doesn't look like LAN flys SCL to Bariloche though.

TJ, if you're in business, I may look you up for some nice off-piste terrain in Bariloche. Don't have AT set-up but do a lot of side country hikes and traverses at Crystal Mt. Wa.

Accomodation ideas in Bariloche would be appreciated. How hard is it to get from town to the slopes?
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Toadman: What did your research show as far as the better skiing Chile or Argentina.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYSkier55 View Post
Toadman: What did your research show as far as the better skiing Chile or Argentina.
I looked at Las Lenas, Bariloche (Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia), and to a lesser extent Chapelco in Argentina.

LL has the more extreme terrain but what I've read in personal reviews is that it is a frustrating palce to ski with the Marte chair not operating very often. Seems like a vibrant night life. Great terrain accessed by the marte if it isn't snowing heavily and the marte is running. I didn't want to risk a week in LL and not have the marte chair running. Lots of positives in regards to Mendoza and relatively easy access from either Santiago or Beunos Aires, although it basically takes a day to get to LL.

Bariloche (Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia) seemed like a good compromise. Good lift system that was recently updated and looks like with just short hikes and traverses you will have easy access to expert terrain. That plus the nice town of Bariloche and the beautiful lakes region, sounded like a good option.

In Chile I looked at Portillo, Valle Nevado and Termas de Chillan. Portillo just seemed too laid back with fewer options. Would need to do more hiking to get to the goods but fewer crowds on mtn. I wouldn't want to spend a whole week there though. Very easy all inclusive no brainer trip though.

I've seen some trip reports and video of Valle Nevado/La Parva, and that looks like there are some decent options and skiing there. More lodging options than Portillo, and the heli ski option has me very intrigued.

Termas de Chillan is a bit harder to get to but the terrain looks appealing. Has the added benefit of tree skiing but lower elevation might mean less snow. Lots of other winter activities available too. Pricing was similar for all 3 resorts in Chile.

Looks like Argentina would be less expensive, and the risk reward factor for LL is something that you have to personally weigh in your decision.

If I could fly into SCL and then make a game time decision on which resort had the better snow, I might go that route. Just trying to figure out what the costs would be.
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