Category: Patagonia Ski Tours

Full service guided ski and snowboard tours in Patagonia, Argentina

Argentina Surface Weather Map - June 20, 2017
Argentina Surface Weather Map, illustrating a strong and moist low pressure system making its way into the Andes Mountain of Chile and Argentina – June 20, 2017

As you may have already heard, it’s been dumping in the Andes Mountains of Chile and Argentina. Some areas have reported up to 150 cm (5 feet) of new snow in the past week! As we are still rejoicing and giving thanks for the deep powder that has fallen, another round of storm systems are headed our way!

Winter has certainly arrived in South America, and it has come in like a lion this year. The region of Patagonia, in particular, has seen historic snow totals for this time of year. The ski resorts of the Patagonian region have yet to open, but with another round of storms headed our way this week, most of the ski areas are expected to open this weekend. This would put us nearly a month ahead of last year.

Bariloche SMN Time-Height - June 20, 2017
Bariloche ETA SMN Weather Model Time-Height, displaying a profile of the next two storm systems to move through the region of Patagonia in Argentina – June 20, 2017

 

A series of low pressure systems are currently making their way across the Pacific Ocean, carrying with them a great deal of storm energy and moisture. The main difference between this storm and the previous winter storms to hit the Andes this season are the intense Northwest and North winds associated with the passage of the first wave today and tomorrow, Wednesday, June 21 through Thursday, June 22. With up to 60 cm (24 inches) of snow in the forecast during that time, we could be seeing some significant snow loading on leeward slopes.

That being said, there is a good chance that we will see our first avalanche cycle of the 2017 ski season in the region of Patagonia. Expect some thin, stiff wind slabs to develop near on East, Southeast, and South aspects, along with widespread cornice development on ridgelines. Thicker and softer soft slabs further down the slope may end up being the greater danger, where more snow may have been deposited by the wind.

Colder and more dry conditions will develop by later in the day on Friday, June 23, accompanied by a significant drop in wind speeds. The second wave of this storm has the potential to produce just as much snow as the first, adding another 60+ cm (two feet+) and bringing the storm total to 120 cm (48 inches) of snow. However, the second storm wave looks be more driven by instability, with much less energy than the first wave. The snow totals of this second wave will depend largely on temperature, winds, and duration.

 

We are currently in an active winter weather pattern, and the result is a deep early season snowpack for South America. The snow is expected to keep piling up over the next week, adding to the recent snowfall already blanketing the peaks and valleys of the Cordillera de Los Andes.

 

Here are the latest estimates for snow and water totals, as well as temperature and wind values:

 

We will continue to keep you updated on weather & ski conditions, as well as the latest ski resort openings for Chile and Argentina: see our resort openings post. This winter is coming on strong, and it looks like it’s going to be an epic ski season in Argentina this year. Our Signature Tours are scheduled for August 2017, so sign up to join the adventure and experience the unique and authentic experience of skiing in Patagonia.

As the snow continues to fall, space becomes more limited, so time is of the essence. Book your trip today! Visit our Reservations page, or Contact Us to get in touch.

Snow Conditions Report: Storm Plasters Southern Andes

Valle Rucaco and Volcan Tronador from Refugio Lynch
Valle Rucaco and Volcan Tronador

When the skies opened up over the weekend, skiers and snowboarders took to exploring the peaks surrounding the Argentine Lake District. Hearty folks with the right equipment and training headed into the high terrain under their own power to access the goods.  Another 70 cm (two feet) of light density powder with moderate Southwest winds made for good snow conditions in the upper reaches.  This is on top of 70 cm from the week prior, making for a bit more base at mid-mountain.  This has increased the avalanche hazard from low to moderate in the most wind affected areas.

However, with some cold temps, decreased winds, and intermittent cloud cover we will likely see this hazard diminish.  You can follow Condiciones de la Nieve en las Montañas de Bariloche to stay abreast of current snowpack info.

 

The towns along the Andean front also received their fair share and some locals were reported to say this was the largest early season storm they had seen in decades.  When the sun did come out it was quite the sight to behold.  Definitely enough for us to start thoroughly researching flight itineraries and telling our friends to get their act together for the months ahead.

Check out this gallery from our local scouts in the field checking on conditions and getting a jump on their ski season:

 

Heading into the next weekend we should see another storm system approaching and there are plans for more ski areas to open, including the infamous Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia.  Although snow conditions should be quite good, be wary as the crowds are eager as ever and the avalanche conditions may change with increased wind.  Stay tuned to our resort blog as we keep bringing you more info on the developing winter in the Andes.

 

Hoy Mágico Cerro Catedral – Catedral Alta Patagonia Bariloche Argentina Bariloche. Quiero estar ahíRío Negro Turismo

Posted by informeblanco on Saturday, June 17, 2017

3-day Accumulated Precipitation
3-day Accumulated Precipitation Map, illustrating the abundance of moisture entering the region of Northern Patagonia over the next few days – Enzo Campatella, Tiempo Patagonico: June 13, 2017

A major winter storm is on track to impact the Andes Mountains of Chile & Argentina from tomorrow evening, Wednesday, June 14, through the night of Saturday, June 17. Over the course of this 36-hour period, over a meter (40 inches) of snow is expected to fall in the mountainous regions of Northern Patagonia.

This looks like it will be the storm to put the remaining South American ski resorts in the game – see our Opening Dates post for details. If the storm plays out as currently advertised, this weekend should be the official kick-off to the ski season in Patagonia – right in time for the Winter Solstice next week.

 

The above satellite images from the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional of Argentina illustrate the incoming low pressure system and associated moisture, currently on course to collide with the Andes Mountains tomorrow night.

The animated GIF image below is taken from the new GOES-16, formerly known as GOES-R, weather satellite. This is NASA’s latest, most high-definition weather satellite to date, launched in November of 2016. The imagery highlights the copious amounts of moisture headed toward the Patagonian region, and you can clearly make out the low pressure system driving the weather.

WaterVapor.animation-NASA
Animated Water Vapor Satellite Image, from the new GOES-16 (GOES-R) weather satellite – NASA: June 13, 2017

Once this weather system makes landfall, massive quantities of precipitation are expected. Strong pre-frontal winds will bring in a warm airmass before the onset of frontal passage on Wednesday afternoon. The storm will start out with rain in valleys and snow in the peaks, then the snow line will drop down to the valley floor as temperatures drop Thursday evening.

 

 

The bulk of the precipitation is expected to fall Thursday night into Friday morning, and with the associated cold temperatures, this should equate to some big snow totals across the Andes Mountains. The snow densities will start high and finish low: wallpaper paste at the bottom and cold, dry powder on top.

 

Luckily, it looks like temperatures should remain cold and the winds will remain light after the storm. That will allow the snow to settle in nicely and keep the quality high – good news for ski conditions.

GFS.analysis-WindGuru
GFS Model Analysis Table for Bariloche – WindGuru: June 13, 2017
GFS.analysis-WindGuru
GFS Model Analysis Graph for Bariloche – WindGuru: June 13, 2017
Snow-Forecast.com: Cerro Catedral
Snow Forecast for Cerro Catedral (Bariloche, Argentina) – Snow-Forecast.com: June 13, 2017

But what does it all mean!?!? According to all of these beautiful swirling colors and computer model analyses, we’re about to get dumped on! It looks like it’s going to be an amazing opening weekend for some of the ski resorts in Chile and Argentina. Sunday, June 18, looks like a particularly good day for powder skiing in the Andes.

Winter arrives in La Laguna, Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia
        Inti Fernandez laying down a few turns in  La                     Laguna, Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia

We all understand the anticipation of winter in our chosen hemisphere.  The first storm clouds brew on the horizon and a certain chill enters the air.  A dusting of snow on the highest peaks, juxtaposed with the colorful fauna below, make the heart yearn for the deep turns of a season on the brink.

For those of us that chase winter there is a constant search for the next fix.  Traveling as we do to the far reaches of the globe for a second helping allows us to nourish our souls and connect with the mountain environs we love so dearly.  We are also joined by the members of our tribe from across the equator.  The dedicated souls that call the Andes home are excited to welcome the latest major storm.  Reports indicate up to 70cm of new snow above 1400 meters (4600 ft) in the mountains surrounding San Carlos de Bariloche.  The adventurous are already donning skins and riding the upper regions of resorts like Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia and Chapelco.

 

The latest storm cycle to hit the central Andes really made it seem like winter has arrived in Patagonia.  While the Chilean side has already opened their doors to skiing, Argentina is just now getting the goods.

 

Speaking with locals like Inti Fernandez, a Bariloche ski instructor, it is apparent that the new snow is a welcome sight.  “All of the seasons are special here, but when we get more snow it allows us to visit new places.”  Fernandez has spent his whole life in the Andes and travels frequently to compete on the Freeride World Tour.  As we spoke this morning, another storm was at the doorstep and he was excited to return for another dose of cold snow.

Stay tuned for more updates and keep your eyes on our opening dates post.  In the meantime, check out this throwback edit from Adria Millan shredding steep lines across South America.

 

 

 

 

La Parva Chilean Resort

(Photo Courtesy of La Parva, Chile)

2017 Ski Resort Opening Dates: Argentina and Chile

Skiing and riding is officially underway  in the Southern Hemisphere. Resort Openings are happening much earlier than expected this season.  The latest series of powerful Pacific snow storms blessed the mountainous regions with a beautiful blanket of white.  Skiers and snowboarders , and maybe even snow-bladers, from around the region are excited to break out their gear.  This is also when those of us not satiated by the profound winter in the Northern Hemisphere look at scoring a second helping.  The time is now to start searching for good flight itineraries and tour packages for your shot at South American ski glory.  We at Patagonia Ski Tours are excited to be heading down for our 11th winter of sharing the magic of these incredible places with our clients.

With more storms in the forecast, ticket prices are going up and seats are filling up on trips across the continent. Check out the list of posted opening dates from various resorts. (Subject to change without notice of course; it is South America after all)

Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia Argentine Resort

(Photo Courtesy of Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia, Argentina)

ARGENTINA:

 

Los Penitentes – OPEN Cerro Catedral – June 24 Cerro Bayo – June 24
Las Lenas – OPEN Caviahue – July 8 La Hoya – July 1
Cerro Castor – June 23 Cerro Chapelco – June 24 Batea Mahuida – July 1

Cerro Colorado Chilean Resort

(Photo Courtesy of El Colorado, Chile- Open)

CHILE:

 

El Colorado – OPEN Portillo – June 24 Nevados de Chillan – June 22
La Parva – OPEN Antillanca – OPEN Corralco – July 8
Valle Nevado – OPEN
Ski Pucon – July 1

 

Stop wasting away your summers sitting on the porch drooling over Instagram photos. Give us a call today and let us make your dreams a reality.  We have something for every budget and our skilled team of guides and logistics superheros will help you plan the perfect trip.  Stay tuned to our blog for more travel tips and information as the season progresses. ¡Chau!

#rippeakeatmeat

It’s snowing in Patagonia! Residents of Neuquen, Rio Negro, and Chubut were greeted with a beautiful blanket of white this morning. Today marks the first significant, widespread snowfall of the 2017 winter for the Northern Patagonian region of Argentina. In the 11 years we have been operating in the area, this has got to be the earliest start to winter that we have ever seen! Vamos todavia!

Our Signature Tours are scheduled to begin in August, so that leaves plenty of time for the snowpack to stack up deep and strong. We also run several Backcountry Skiing programs from July through September, including guided ski touring, backcountry hut trips, and mechanized skiing options.

Here are some photos of the recent snowfall from a few of the places we ski around the region:

Cerro Catedral

The base of Cerro Catedral - San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
The base of Cerro Catedral Ski Resort – San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Top of the Amancay Gondola at Cerro Catedral - San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Top of the Amancay Gondola at Cerro Catedral Ski Resort – San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

Chapelco

Base of Cerro Chapelco Ski Resort - San Martin de los Andes, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Base of Cerro Chapelco Ski Resort – San Martin de los Andes, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Mid-mountain at Cerro Chapelco Ski Resort - San Martin de los Andes (May 22, 2017)
Mid-mountain at Cerro Chapelco Ski Resort – San Martin de los Andes (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

Villa La Angostura

The town of Villa La Angostura, Argentina, home of Cerro Bayo Ski Resort (May 22, 2017)
The town of Villa La Angostura, Argentina, home of Cerro Bayo Ski Resort (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

El Bolson

The town of El Bolson, Argentina, home of Cerro Perito Moreno Ski Area, with Cerro Piltriquitron in the background (May 22, 2017)
The town of El Bolson, Argentina, home of Cerro Perito Moreno Ski Area, with Cerro Piltriquitron in the background (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

Esquel

The town of Esquel, Argentina, home of La Hoya Ski Resort (May 22, 2017)
The town of Esquel, Argentina, home of La Hoya Ski Resort (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

Caviahue

The town of Caviahue, Argentina, home of the Caviahue Ski Resort (May 22, 2017)
The town of Caviahue, Argentina, home of the Caviahue Ski Resort (May 22, 2017)
The base of Caviahue Ski Resort - Caviahue, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
The base of Caviahue Ski Resort – Caviahue, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

Batea Mahuida

Aerial photo of Cerro Batea Mahuida and the Batea Mahuida Volcano - Villa Pehuenia, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Aerial photo of Cerro Batea Mahuida and the Batea Mahuida Volcano – Villa Pehuenia, Argentina (May 22, 2017)
Signature Tours that visit this location:

We are thrilled and honored to be featured in the latest issue of Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal, Late Winter 2017. For those who are not yet familiar with this publication, Ascent is a magazine that is published three times a year by Utah Adventure Journal in Park City, Utah. Since its inception in 2015, Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal has been delivering the most fun and interesting ski stories and trip reports from around the globe, for skiers by skiers (and snowboarders). For more information, visit their website: http://ascentbackcountry.com/, or follow them on social media.

Cover of Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal - Late Winter 2017
Cover of Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal – Late Winter 2017

Patagonia Ski Tours Lead Guide, Sean Zimmerman-Wall, is also an award-winning photojournalist, currently writing for several publications. His latest published work is a story of one of the greatest days of skiing we have had so far in the wilds of Patagonia. The title of the article is ‘Domo Arigato, A Skier’s Journey to Mallin Alto’. No, they don’t speak Japanese in Argentina; domo means ‘dome’ in Spanish, as in the backcountry dome shelters where we spent each night. Aside from some beautiful powder skiing images, the author’s colorful writing style makes for a great read.

'Domo Arigato - A Skier's Journey to Mallin Alto'
‘Domo Arigato – A Skier’s Journey to Mallin Alto’, featuring a sunrise shot from the domes (Photo: Sean Zimmerman-Wall) and Lead Guide, Justin Lozier, opening up a new zone (Photo: Kao)

We have been taking guests to ski and snowboard out at Mallin Alto for the past three seasons, and it is one of our favorite places in the entire world. Located in a pristine mountain setting in the remote Andes Mountains of Patagonia, Mallin Alto is the brainchild of our good friend, Kao, and his cousin, Lucio. The two of them have been running a successful hunting operation on their old family ranch for about a decade. After the success of their first dome shelter for hunting, Kao had the idea to build a domo up in the alpine, to be used as a winter shelter for backcountry snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding.

'The Journey Begins' - backcountry skiing in Patagonia
‘The Journey Begins’ at Mallin Alto, “This is what happens when you give a heliguide a free pass to open up new terrain with a couple of high-powered powder sleds in all-time conditions. The place gets caned.” — Justin Lozier (Photo: Kao)

Not only are the dome shelters cool, but they are comfortable too! The team at Mallin Alto has hauled up a cast iron stove for cooking, a few wood stoves for heat, and a wood-burning water heater for hot showers. They have also built a wood-fired hot tub for soothing sore muscles after a big day in the mountains, sipping cocktails under the stars. With all the creature comforts one could ever hope for in a remote location like this, we have dubbed it ‘winter glamping’. Their crew consists of IFMGA/UIAGM-certified ski guides, experienced snowmobile operators, charming hut keepers, and even a gourmet chef.

Winter glamping and powder skiing in Patagonia
Top Photo: Miguel, the Argentine George Clooney, working his magic in the kitchen of the domo; Bottom Photo: Sean Zimmerman-Wall, a.k.a. ‘Juan de los Andes’, enjoying powder skiing perfection in the peaks of Patagonia

This particular adventure to Mallin Alto was one for the ages. On a stormy evening in Bariloche, we made the journey up dirt roads, through rough terrain and river crossings, until we reached the point where wheeled vehicles could no longer continue. Snowmobiles took us the rest of the distance, hauling our equipment on a gear trailer. After reaching the domos, we enjoyed hot food and cold drink as the storm raged on. By the time we awoke the following morning, over a meter of snow had fallen, and we were in the prime location to capitalize on our good fortune. The days that followed provided us with the best powder skiing we have ever had in South America. We skied 11 runs a day for three days straight, all in the blissful solitude of our own private mountain playground. By the end of the trip, we had opened up a few new zones and discovered some new terrain to explore on our next visit.

'The Andean Night' - Patagonia Ski Tours at Mallin Alto
‘The Andean Night’, featuring a shot of Tim closing out an 11-run day of skiing Patagonian powder at Mallin Alto (Photo: Kao)

To read the full article, you’ll have to pick up a copy for yourself. Look for Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal at your local mountain shop, or visit their website to subscribe.

Mallin Alto is based near the town of San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, and ski trips run from July through September. We offer a la carte programs that can be added to any of our ski tours, or as a stand-alone trip. One of our most popular offerings is the Andean Backcountry Experience, featuring 3 days/2 nights at Baguales Snowcat Skiing & Ski Touring and 3 days/2 nights at Mallin Alto Snowmobiling & Ski Touring. Summer season trips are available as well: hunting, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, or just enjoying the peace and quiet. Visit our Reservations page to book your own adventure, or Contact Us for more information.

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest video, a highlight reel featuring some of our adventures from the 2016 ski season in Argentina. We traveled far and wide, from the remote Patagonian steppe, through the lush lake district, and up into the remote northern volcano region, in search of the best skiing and the most fun adventures on the South American continent.

Watch in HD and crank up the volume for the full experience. Enjoy!

Patagonia Ski Tours 2016 from Patagonia Ski Tours on Vimeo.

Check out our Vimeo Channel to see all of our videos. Join us for more fun and adventure, during our 2017 season!

2016 Ski Resort Opening Dates

The 2016 South American ski season is underway and all  resorts are open and reporting a 50-80cm base on the upper mountain. It all started when a massive Pacific storm slammed the Andes in early June and piled up over 9 feet (3 meters) of snow at most resorts.  This allowed many resorts to open a full month earlier than 2015!  Additional snowfall this July has added significant accumulations and ski conditions have been excellent. We offer full-service guided ski tours in and around all of the greatest ski destinations in Argentina and Chile and have seats available for upcoming trips. Check out these photos of some of the action:

La Parva, Chile
La Parva, Chile
Las Leñas, Argentina
Las Leñas, Argentina
Chapelco SKi Area
Chapelco, Argentina
Cerro Catedral
Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia, Argentina

 

Below you will find a listing of all major ski resort opening dates in Argentina & Chile,along with status, current conditions (parte diario), and where each resort is included in our tour options. We hope to see you this summer (winter) in Argentina or Chile! Visit our Reservations page or Contact Us to book your trip today!  We will be updating opening dates for the remaining resorts as soon as they become available.

Argentine Flag

Argentina

Cerro Catedral Official WebsiteCerro Catedral: OPEN!  (Conditions/Parte Diario)
Lake District Ski Week/Deluxe Lake District Ski Week/Ruta 40 Ski Week/Ruta 40 Ski Week: Extreme Edition/Patagonia Super Tour

 

Chapelco Official WebsiteChapelco: OPEN!   (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Lake District Ski Week/Deluxe Lake District Ski Week/Patagonia Super Tour

 

Cerro Bayo Official WebsiteCerro Bayo: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

Lake District Ski Week/Deluxe Lake District Ski Week/Patagonia Super Tour

 

Cerro Perito Moreno Official WebsiteCerro Perito Moreno: OPEN!  (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Ruta 40 Ski Week/Ruta 40 Ski Week: Extreme Edition/Patagonia Super Tour

 

La Hoya Official WebsiteLa Hoya: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Ruta 40 Ski Week/Ruta 40 Ski Week: Extreme Edition/Patagonia Super Tour

 

Cerro Castor Official WebsiteCerro Castor: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Contact Us

 

Caviahue Official WebsiteCaviahue: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Northern Volcano Ski Adventure

 

Las Lenas Official WebsiteLas Leñas: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Contact Us

Penitentes Official WebsitePenitentes: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Contact Us

 

bmphoto Cerro Batea Mahuida: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)
Northern Volcano Ski Adventure

 

Chilean Flag

Chile

***All Chile Ski Trips offered as Custom Tours. Contact us for more information***

Portillo Official WebsitePortillo: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

Valle Nevado Official WebsiteValle Nevado: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

La Parva Official WebsiteLa Parva: OPEN! Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

El Colorado Official WebsiteEl Colorado: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

Nevados de Chillan LogoNevados de Chillan: OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

Ski Pucon Official WebsiteSki Pucón: OPEN! Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

Corralco Official WebsiteCorralco OPEN! (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

 

Antillanca Official WebsiteAntillanca: OPEN!  (Current Conditions/Parte Diario)

Here’s to a fun and safe ski season… Saludos!

1inPST10yr

info@patagoniaskitours.com
+1 (801) 960-2SKI [2754]

As we reported in our previous post, the annual Santa Rosa storm is set to impact the Andes Mountains of Patagonia, Argentina this week, primarily from the evening of Thursday, August 27th, until the evening of Sunday, August 30th. The latest GFS model weather forecast analysis is predicting a total of 88 mm (~3.5 inches) of water during this 72-hour storm period. At an average of 10% density, that could translate to three feet of snow in three days!

Projected snowfall map for the region of Northern Patagonia, illustrating intense precipitation during the evening of Thursday, August 27, into the morning of Friday, August 28 - Snow-Forecast.com
Projected snowfall map for the region of Northern Patagonia, illustrating intense precipitation during the evening of Thursday, August 27, into the morning of Friday, August 28 – Snow-Forecast.com

We plan to capitalize on this massive storm, nailing it at its peak ripeness and in the best way possible. The Santa Rosa usually shuts down the ski areas for a couple days, so that’s not really an option. Plus, the heightened levels of anxiety typically associated with a powder frenzy at an Argentine ski resort tend to diminish the experience a bit. We have just put together what we are calling the Santa Rosa Ski Special, a quick-hitter version of our Andean Backcountry Experience, based on the exact weather window for getting prime conditions in the most desirable backcountry ski terrain in the region of Northern Patagonia.

One of the Pisten Bully snowcats at Baguales Mountain Reserve, firing up just outside the lodge for a day of backcountry skiing in the wilds of Patagonia
One of the Pisten Bully snowcats at Baguales Mountain Reserve, firing up just outside the lodge for a day of backcountry skiing in the wilds of Patagonia
El Domo: one of the backcountry dome shelters at Mallin Alto, home of motoskiing in the Andean wilderness
El Domo: one of the backcountry dome shelters at Mallin Alto, home of motoskiing in the Andean wilderness

Proposed Dates: August 30 – September 3, 2015 (5 days/4 nights)

Trip Itinerary

August 30: Late afternoon/evening arrival at Bariloche Airport (BRC), private car transfer to lakefront lodging in Bariloche, Welcome Dinner, night in Bariloche
August 31: Early morning transfer to Baguales Mountain Reserve for a full day of snowcat skiing in the wilds of Patagonia, aprés ski festivities at the lodge, followed by haute cuisine and a night in the luxurious Refugio La Mesada.
September 1: Another full day of snowcat skiing at Baguales, aprés ski festivities at the lodge, then transfer back to lakefront lodging in Bariloche, dinner and night in Bariloche
September 2: Early morning transfer to Mallin Alto for a full day of snowmobile ski touring (motoskiing) in the Andean wilderness, aprés ski festivities on the deck, then a gourmet dinner and a night in the backcountry dome shelter, ‘el domo’
September 3: Another full day of motoskiing at Mallin Alto, aprés ski festivities on the deck, then transfer to the Bariloche Airport (BRC) to catch a flight back to Buenos Aires

Included

  • All local ground transportation, including Bariloche airport transfers
  • 2 nights lakefront lodging in Bariloche (double occupancy)
  • 2 days/1 night snowcat skiing at Baguales Mountain Reserve (private double room)
  • 2 days/1 nights motoskiing at Mallin Alto (backcountry dome accommodations)
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Cost

$4,195 USD per person (tax included)

Contact us today to take advantage of this unique opportunity to get best days of the 2015 South American ski season!

Every year, during the last week of August to the first week of September, a massive winter storm hits the southern Andes Mountains of Patagonia, blanketing the range with anywhere from one to three meters of snow – 40 to 120 inches! This storm is known by the locals as the Santa Rosa. Right now, she is making her way across the Pacific Ocean to dump massive quantities of snow in the Patagonian peaks of Argentina. This is the ideal time to be skiing and snowboarding in South America!

Current satellite image, illustrating the onset of the first of the two waves of major winter storms impacting the Andes Mountains this week - Servicio Meteorologico Nacional de Argentina
Current satellite image, illustrating the onset of the first of the two waves of major winter storms impacting the Andes Mountains this week – Servicio Meteorologico Nacional de Argentina

This year, it looks like we’ll be getting a one-two punch in two waves: the first mild and wet, the second intense, cold, and all out puking. There is one major wave currently pushing through the region the evening of Tuesday, August 25th, into Wednesday, August 26th. This first wave is warmer, wetter and more calm: freezing levels around 2000 meters to start, lowering to around 1600 meters, with winds in the light to moderate category out of the North, Northwest, then West as the first wave makes its exit. The current GFS model weather forecast analysis is advertising around 45 mm (1.8 inches) of water during this first 48-hour period. Snow densities will likely be higher during this first wave, starting somewhere around 12-14%, then dropping to around 10%. This should be good for new snow adhesion to the existing snow surface, an excellent setup for the second round of precipitation. Possible snow totals for first wave = 15-18″.

ETA model weather forecast Time-Height chart, offering a visual representation of the first storm wave and the onset of the second - Servicio Meteorologico Nacional de Argentina
ETA model weather forecast Time-Height chart, offering a visual representation of the first storm wave and the ushering in of the second (note the winds ramping up and the dropping 0° isotherm during the onset of the second wave) – Servicio Meteorologico Nacional de Argentina

The true Santa Rosa storm looks to make landfall on Friday, August 28th, and remain in place through Sunday, August 30th. This will be the aforementioned second wave, far more intense than the first: freezing levels around 1600 meters to start, then dropping to 1400 meters as the storm tapers off, with winds in the moderate to strong category, primarily out of the Northwest. The latest GFS solutions are predicting precip totals up to 66 mm (2.6 inches) of water during this second 72-hour period. With copious amounts of moisture and cold temperatures expected, this second wave should drop a deep blanket of Patagonian powder on top of the higher density cushion from the prior first wave of snowfall. This really is a perfect setup for ending the ski season with some stellar powder skiing. Possible snow totals for second wave, the true Santa Rosa = 26-30″.

The stars aligning during frontal passage: the latest GFS model forecast solution, showing the moment of initial impact by the true Santa Rosa storm on Friday, August 28 (note the leading edge of the cold front curling over the Patagonian region, with the high pressure system to the north working in tandem with the intense low pressure system to the south to drive huge amounts of moisture into the Andes) - Meteostar
The stars aligning during frontal passage: the latest GFS model forecast solution, showing the moment of initial impact by the true Santa Rosa storm on Friday, August 28 (note the leading edge of the cold front curling over the Patagonian region, with the high pressure system to the north working in tandem with the intense low pressure system to the south to drive huge amounts of moisture into the Andes) – Meteostar

At a 10% average density, we could be looking at four feet of snow out of these two storm systems! Monday, August 31st, looks like ‘the day’: cold temps and clear skies after the storm moves out. Wrap-around moisture looks to enter the Patagonian region on Tuesday, September 1st, as winds shift to the East. We should pick up only a couple inches of fluff during this event, followed by another beautiful cold, clear day on Wednesday, September 2nd. Watch for the 0° isotherm to make a drastic jump from 200 meters to 3000 meters on Thursday, September 3rd – AVALANCHE WARNING! A small avalanche cycle may be possible between the two waves of storms, on Thursday, August 27th. Then a widespread natural avalanche cycle will likely ensue during the latter half of the second wave, Saturday, August 29th, through Sunday, August 30th, particularly on East and Southeast aspects. Thursday, September 3rd, will surely be a major shed cycle with the sudden rise in temperatures – potential for major slides!

GFS 27 km model forecast analysis, showing the full storm data breakdown: massive amounts of moisture and intense winds - WindGuru
GFS 27 km model forecast analysis, showing the full storm data breakdown: massive amounts of moisture and intense winds – WindGuru
Graphical representation of the GFS 27km model weather forecast, giving us a more visual representation of the storm, particularly the wind - WindGuru
Graphical representation of the GFS 27km model weather forecast, giving us a more visual representation of the storm, particularly the wind – WindGuru

Looking at the extended GFS model forecast, this isn’t the end of it. Cold, wet storms look to continue during the second week of September. We’re looking at a great setup for skiing into October this year, prime time for ski touring in the Andean backcountry and exploring volcano country!

Contact Us or visit our Reservations page to book your trip today, and get some for yourself! Our Andean Backcountry Experience would be the best way to capitalize on the Santa Rosa’s bounty. The predicted best days of the 2015 South American ski season are only a week away! Vamos!

 

 

La Cordillera de Los Andes
La Cordillera de Los Andes

The prolific snowfall of early August laid down a stellar base and primed the slopes for shredding.  We gathered our things and headed down to Bariloche, Argentina just as the most powerful storm in nearly a decade laid waste to the city.  Four feet in just over 24 hours plastered the mountainsides and shut down the local ski area of Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia.  Luckily the fastidious fellas at the power company had the lifts up and running within a few hours and it was go time.  As the skies cleared to reveal a blanket of white draped across the cordillera, we traveled into the mountains to get our fair share.  Plentiful powder and sunshine bolstered our spirits and we were trenching turns to our hearts delight. A wonderful welcome to Patagonia as our 2015 Season got underway on August 4th.

South American Beacon Project- August 5th-6th

Each season we visit Argentina we make it a point to give back to the communities that have given us so much support over the years.  This season we headed to Cerro Bayo in the small town of Villa La Angostura.  Our mission was to work with the Patrulla (ski patrol) and provide them with valuable avalanche safety training and several Ortovox beacons.

Our classroom session revolved around a group discussion of current techniques for search and rescue, as well as showing a translated version of the Utah Avalanche Center’s Know Before You Go video.  This captured everyone’s attention and led to enthusiastic discussion.  The session concluded with a demonstration of the Black Diamond Jet Force Airbag System and the crowd went wild.

smbp                           Cerro Bayo Official Webpage                         logo

Our field day took to the mountain bright and early as the patrollers always arrive well before sun up.  The small workshops rotated students through various beacon search techniques, spiral probing, and strategic shoveling.  We also talked about traveling safely along ridge lines and using proper ski cutting to protect runs and test stability.  Unlike their counterparts in the USA, the Argentine ski patrols don’t have access to explosives to mitigate hazard.  Often times the best solution is to just leave areas closed for extended periods of time. By the end of the day we had learned a lot from each other and it was great to share valuable information across borders.  Big thanks to Alex Taran of the South American Beacon Project for spearheading this movement and keeping us involved.

 

Ruta 40: Extreme Edition- August 8th-15th

After wrapping up our Buena Onda (good vibes) trip to Cerro Bayo, we packed our bags and headed south on the historic Ruta 40.  This storied road runs the length of Argentina and covers over 6,000 kms of every kind of terrain imaginable.  We picked up “La Ruta” just outside of Bariloche and booked it on down to El Bolson for a quick rendezvous with some amigos.  A little recon up to Cerro Piltriquitrón revealed additional opportunities for potential ski lines and we were excited to return in a few days.

IMG_2830 (1)  Backcountry ski touring Ruta 40 Argentina  La Hoya

By nightfall we’d arrived at our accommodations in the mountain town of Esquel.  It was early to bed after a bit of Malbec and a shower to rest up for the next week of adventuring.  Up with the sun and energized by countless cups of mate, we set our sights on La Hoya to get our fill of fresh Andean snow.  The skies were less than clear but the wind was almost nil, which is an infrequent occurrence in this part of the range.  We were treated to minimal crowds and powder in every direction.  Our small group moved swiftly across the mountain gobbling up the soft stuff and laughing all the way to the base.  After a full day of touring the mountain, we retired to the Plaza Esquel for a spa treatment and a bit more of that Malbec.

The following day took us to the little know hamlet of Monte Bianco: Parque de Nieve, about an hour outside of Esquel.  This up and coming ski area offers one-of-a-kind entertainment and the most hospitable staff that we have ever come across.  The mountain was literally ours that day and we were shuttled via snowmobile to the upper reaches where we put on skins and finished the climb.  Lain out before us was the majesty of the Andes and we felt small nestled in her bosom.  The winds had picked up and it was tough to stand still for very long.  We cruised up and down the rolling summits and found edgeable wind-pressed powder that delighted our group.  Looking off into the Cañadon de Silencio, we marveled at the mighty headwall that provided a myriad of line choices. It stared right back at us, unwavering, tempestuous, and beautiful. An objective for another day perhaps.    We ripped skins for the final time and descended back to the base area for an asado and some cerveza.   The wonderful caretakers welcomed us back and we reveled in the adventure thus far. Tomorrow, we would be at another town and another mountain.

El Cañadon del Silencio - Monte Bianco Backcountry      IMG_2822     IMG_2832

 

Our travels carried us north on Ruta 40 back to our favorite artisan community, El Bolson.  We would spend the day climbing the flanks of Cerro Piltriquitrón and finding the remaining stashes of cold snow.  The 4×4 road up to the snowline can be a bit daunting, and fortunately it was dry and the traction was good.  We dawned skins and ascended to the hut that sits just on the edge of the main bowl on the Northeast side of Piltri.  The climb allowed us to take in the sweeping views once more and we could not believe our good fortune as we found several small pockets of snow that had not been molested by the wind.  We enjoyed the vacant slopes and grabbed lunch on the deck of the refugio before heading back for some cold beer at the infamous El Bolson Cervezeria.  Gorging on wood fired pizza and stout beers made by the regional artisans, we enjoyed a flaming sunset and prepared to head north back to our home base of Barioloche.

The week of adventuring ignited our passions for skiing and we were keen to get back on the slopes of our local hill, Cerro Catedral-Alta Patagonia.  We arrived just in time for some last minute snowfall to cap off the first of our signature tours.  Making our way to the hill, we jammed to local tunes and simply enjoyed the morning.  Arriving at the resort we made a b-line for the Nubes chair where we were sure to find some soft turns.

                     

 

Closing out the day we rallied from top to bottom and enjoyed leg burning turns the whole way down.  It was an amazing finish to an unforgettable week of making new friends, exploring incredible mountains, taking in the cultural elements of new towns, and of course, eating and drinking delicious regional fare.  Stay tuned to check out our next installment as we embark on the Lake District Ski Week.  Saludos!