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Kids skiing in South America - good skiing, no bs daycare

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I would like to take my son down to South America in late July or August. He begins kindergarten in September after Labor Day. He was a black runner at Sunshine Village in Alberta and skiied 6 hours a day, 5 days straight. Even Dad who cannot keep up with him, got better(and Dad is a kindly described intermediate skiier-can do the blues carefully and some blacks). So a good place which caters to kids and makes them better and better skiiers, by East Coast US ratings, my son is a Level 5 or Level 6. Just got his poles, now would like this vacation to get him pole-touching and moving with parallel rhythms, he still wedges but parallels too as per instructors. I posted on teton gravity and got some great responses, am continuing research and hoping for solid experiential suggestions.

Here is a video of father and son skiing at Sunshine Village : last week of April>>


look forward to suggestions.

post #2 of 16
Hello Dusty !

I think you may consider Bariloche, Argentina.

I was there two times and seriously thinking in been there again next August.

You'll experience that the pistes there are a little bit mixed in difficult levels. If compared with East North America. Also, mixed terrain condition are very common(powder/icy in the same piste). The Instructors like to say "if you learn to ski at Bariloche you'll be able to ski elsewhere" and... they are right!!

Take a Look at www.escuelamountain.com they have a very good ski school there, for kids as well. Juan, the boss was a VIP instructor at Telluride. Also his wife, manage the Kids school. So you'll find (English speak) high level structure to handle with you and your kids at Bariloche.

Yes, of course our(family) first ski classes were there. My son begin his first runs on kindergarten, at Juan school, 9 y.o. Nowadays it's amazing to see how solid became his skill, even skiing just few days per season.

Two years ago, Bariloche have made a huge improvement on the lifts and the ski area. The lifts raises something as 60%. and the area grows about 40%.

Avoid July. The best begins on mid August. Prices drop down, no lines and conditions seems to be great. I don't know about the weather forecast for the next winter.

Try fly to Buenos Aires, before you go to Bariloche and enjoy few days. Great restaurants, etc.

From Bariloche you also can make short trips and reach some other ski places by bus/car.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

muchos gracias

looking at bariloche now, some others also suggested that. only fly in the ointment is that it is a slightly longer journey from New York but now definitely examining it as an option.
post #4 of 16
I don't know how much time you have.

But, one interesting idea is to get two trips instead just the ski vacation.

Let me point it out!

Consider to fly from NY to Brasil, might be to Rio de Janeiro, or elsewhere (yes, you're right! Rio is my city - and will be a pleasure to help you here) . This time of the year the temps are great (around 25C°) and the days tend to look sunny. Many beautiful places to go (Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, etc.), good food, etc. Few days here and... get another short(3 1/2 hours) fly to Buenos Aires/Bariloche, 'cos the snow is waiting...:

That's it two for one! I can guarantee you will spend a little bit $$$ more but will enjoy a lot.

post #5 of 16
If you do end up heading to Bariloche, I'll send you a reco for an awesome kids instructor at Cerro Catedral. I understand last winter was the best they had for snow in 10 years. Epic ? Could they have awesome snow 2 years in a row ?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

thx again -

bariloche is looking more likely but for two issues am grappling with:
1. there are no flights into bariloche right now, because of chaiten volcano eruption - son is mildly asthmatic so that is a cause for concern, but lets see what mother nature has in store.
2. portillo or valle nevado seem like an easier journey but from blogs and so on, bariloche seems to have more character, especially when one is flying around 8000miles to ski.
3. no direct flights from new york to buenos aires, all or most have one stop - gets tiresome, such long journeys, so suggestion to pop into rio or something are tempting but with my son, little tough to do the things folks my age would, and want him to have a blast. he is a great traveler though, no complaints ever, just loves to get on the road
4. do send instructor's name, helpful folks are southamericaski.com have suggested xtreme ski school as best bet, like their level of information and assistance, though ski organizers are good too...they are chile folks.

thanks and do keep the information flowing, though if oil stays here usd 131.6/bbl or rises higher..not many folks will be inclined to fly including me, and ticket prices may go through the roof or airlines will simply ground flights as jet fuel costs kill them...note quote from CEO of AMR (American Airlines today):
"The airline industry as it is constituted today was not built to
withstand oil prices at $125 a barrel, and certainly not when record fuel
expenses are coupled with a weak U.S. economy," said AMR Chairman and CEO
Gerard Arpey. "
post #7 of 16
Portillo might be a good choice in that it's all-inclusive, and has activities for kids as well as ski school. I saw a lot of kids of all ages when we were there last August.

Anywhere in the Southern Cone of South America is usually going to be a connection from NYC.

To Buenos Aires, you've got a choice of United via Washington Dulles, Delta via Atlanta, Continental via Houston, or American via Miami or Chicago. However American has a JFK nonstop. You also could do a 1-stop connection on American's oneworld alliance partner LAN (can earn or use AA miles) through Santiago Chile, connecting on LAN from Santiago to Buenos Aires, or possibly direct from Santiago to other destinations in Argentina without going through B.A.

To Santiago, you've got a LAN nonstop from JFK (can be bought either as the LAN flight# or via AA as a codeshare, earns AA miles either way). You've got a single connection via Toronto on Air Canada (don't rule that out, Toronto is a great hub for US-to-International connections - they have simplified US-International and International-US immigration procedures), American itself from Miami, and Delta through Atlanta.

Don't know if you're a mileage earner but the above means you (and your son - get him a number) have decent flight options between NYC and either major city there on each of the three big airline alliances. So you could earn (or use miles) from United or US airways on the UA or AC flights, or from Delta, Northwest, or Continental on the Delta flight, or from American on the American or LAN flights.

If you are going on to a connection in Argentina via Bs.As., be aware that a lot of the domestic Argentina flights leave from a different airport, so it's not an easy connection. There are cabs and shuttles but you need to allow plenty of time. Or stay a couple of days in Bs.As. - it's a fabulous city. I think I saw some Bariloche flights leaving from EZE (the international airport) but that was a couple of years ago and things change. Stay a couple of days anyway - it's a shame to go through Buenos Aires and not spend some time there.

If you're going to Chile, be aware that they charge US citizens a "reciprocity fee" of $132 (it was $100 last year), the same as what we charge their citizens for a US visa. It's not a visa, but it's a tax receipt that's valid for the duration of your passport. So if your passport is expiring in a year but you think you may want to go back to Chile a few times in the next few years, you may want to renew your passport first, so that the Chilean stamp/receipt is good longer. Santiago is also worth seeing, but be aware the air pollution there is really bad. I mean really, LA before catalytic converters smog alert, bad.

If you're thinking of stopping in Rio or anywhere in Brazil, be aware that US citizens must get a visa from the Brazilian Consulate serving their part of the USA, in advance of their flight. There is no "visa on arrival" in Brazil for Americans. It costs about $100 if I recall correctly, plus the photos, plus possibly some expedite fee. Note that there is no visa required to transit an airport in Brazil, as long as you depart within 8 hours of arrival or upon the next possible flight. However without the visa in advance, you cannot even leave the airport's international transit zone even if your flight is delayed or canceled overnight.

Going into Santiago or Buenos Aires as a stopover is much simpler for an American, and in the case of Buenos Aires is cheaper ($18 departure tax if you've left the international portion of the airport but no visa needed and no "reciprocity fee").

If you do go through either Argentina or Brazil, and have time/money for a 1-2 day side trip that might really impress your son, I highly recommend going to Iguazu Falls (Argentinian side for travel simplicity). Also the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls right across the river. The local cab drivers in Iguazu Argentina have an unofficial exemption to the visa requirement. Technically not legal but done all the time - your cabbie at the IGR (Iguazu Argentina) airport will probably offer it to you.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

super inside info

thanks much..great info...would like to go to bariloche, since portillo seems like a long way to go for a ski lodge only, valle nevado is definitely a possibility.

thanks for the airlines info. buenos aires looks like an interesting place and as the dollar retains its status as the US Peso, it definitely is more economical to go to Argentina than Brazil of Chile, where the Br Real or Chl Peso are both bid through the roof.
post #9 of 16
I don't know about American citizens to need any kind of visa to come to Brasil. And the airport procedures are very easy and fast. The best way is to search about it at the consulate's page.

Chile is far expensive then Brasil and - in third place - Argentina a little bit cheaper.
I don't think you'll feel it as a problem, since U$1.00 Dollar buys R$1,70 Reais.

I don't know about Portillo. But seems to be a great place, little different experience than Bariloche, since you'll be slope-side and Bariloche is a city away 10 miles from the pistes.

Good luck!
post #10 of 16
Important Information !! Hope this help!!!




As a matter of reciprocity a visa is required for American citizens wishing to visit Brazil.
  • If you are not an American or Canadian citizen, check if you need a VISA to enter Brazil for tourism purposes.
  • Identify your consular jurisdiction, determined by your place of residence, and always check with your consulate for specific information about hours of operation, processing time, and payment methods.
  • The consulates in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, DO NOT ACCEPT APPLICATIONS BY MAIL.
  • APPLICATIONS from outside of your jurisdiction area will only be accepted if submitted in person.


Requirements for TOURIST visas:
  • A passport valid for at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in Brazil.
  • One passport-sized photograph (2" x 2")
  • A photocopy of the round trip ticket or itinerary
  • A duly filled out and signed visa application form. Download a Visa Application form at http://www.brasilemb.org
  • For American citizens the fee is U$130.00. For citizens of Canada the fee is U$65.00. For citizens of other countries, please check at http://www.brasilemb.org
  • A non-refundable handling fee of US$10.00 per visa applies to visa applications submitted by mail or by any individual other than the applicant or an immediate member of his or her family (NOTE: New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco do not accept applications by mail).
If your consulate does not accept applications by mail (New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), applicants unable to apply in person MUST use a visa service agency. Please visit the website for the consulate in your jurisdiction for a list of visa service agencies.

Visa processing times for applications vary. Processing time may take one to ten business days for applications received in person. The consulates that accept applications by mail usually require 7 to 10 business days (NOT including transit times) to process visas. Check with the consulate where you will be applying for their current processing times.

If you are applying by mail do not forget to include a prepaid, self-addressed/ stamped return envelope with the application so that the consulate can mail it back to you (ONLY USPS ENVELOPES WILL BE ACCEPTED). The Brazilian Tourism Office recommends the use of USPS registered or certified mail or the use of USPS priority or express mail. Do not forget to keep the tracking or registration number for your records in case you need to locate the envelope.


A yellow fever vaccination is mandatory if applicant traveled within the last 90 days to any of the following Countries in Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaire) and in the Americas: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Peru, Surinam, and Venezuela.

A yellow fever vaccination is advisable for all travelers over 9 months of age if applicant’s destination in Brazil includes any of the following States: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, and the Federal District and also the western part of the states of São Paulo, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia and the south of the state of Piaui. As of January 2008, the northern part of Espírito Santo state and the western part of Santa Catarina state were also added to the yellow fever risk areas of Brazil. Vaccination is now recommended for travelers visiting Iguaçu Falls.
Coastal cities, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Recife, and Fortaleza, are NOT within the endemic zone.

A Certificate of vaccination against polio is required for children between ages of three months and six years. If the child cannot be inoculated, a notarized letter from the child's physician will be required.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

thanks again for the detailed and helpful

info..I am inclined to take my son to Bariloche .. squeaky and co have been pretty helpful, but now with the Chaiten eruption, all plans are kind of on hold.
post #12 of 16
I don't know about the September availability for you guys.
But, this year' time should be great one at Bariloche or elsewhere in South America. Not so rush, not so expansive.

Also, I'm not sure, but I don't think Chaiten eruption a major issue at all

post #13 of 16
Portillo is awesome for kids. Opening 1 week early this year (14 feet of snow already!).
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

bariloche air corridor

still basically closed as far as folks on the ground tell us. also, right now, no direct flights to buenos aires from new york city.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

was planning to go to SA Aug 15 onwards..

for a week of skiing, still waiting for Argie flight and bariloche flights otherwise it may have to be Chile but can wait. It is weird but in that period, there are no direct flights to Buenos Aires from New York so the journey becomes a minimum flight time of 15 hours, that is very, very long!
post #16 of 16

Don't ask me why, but it happens again. Instead of many forecast for good conditions late July, early Aug. I think the best in season came out late Aug. early Sept.

A hypothesis should be we are facing some kind of change on the weather where the calendar seasons are out of synchronism with Mother nature!!

Take a look at North winter this year!
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