Category: Patagonia Ski Tours

Full service guided ski and snowboard tours in Patagonia, Argentina

Nevada Bariloche 14/7
Base of Cerro Catedral covered in snow this morning Photo: Seba Martinez

Great news, everyone! A great snow storm has just dumped on Bariloche, bringing 15 cm of snow at the base of Cerro Catedral and over 40 cm up top! It’s looking good out there, and the mountain is scheduled to open for skiing this Saturday, July 16. It is not known yet which lifts will be running or which zones will be open. We’ll keep you posted. Cerro Bayo is also getting ready to open for skiing as more of the white stuff comes down from the heavens. The latest forecasts are showing the snow is expected to continue pretty heavily over the next two days and last until Saturday. This should be a great weekend to ski in Patagonia!

Please view our latest post for updated information on the status of the Bariloche Airport

The Bariloche airport is open conditionally, but most commercial flights to the region are still suspended, due to complications with volcanic ash on the runways, as well as in gates and other associated equipment. There is also the more obvious problem of volcanic ash clouds in the atmosphere, creating extremely dangerous flying conditions, as this ash may cause flight instruments to malfunction or fail. Check out the Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 website for flight status updates: http://www.aa2000.com.ar/.

There was news of a private jet arriving at the airport in Bariloche last Wednesday, but experts say that those types of aircraft with air filtration systems are less vulnerable to the volcanic ash than a commercial jet.

At this point, we can only wish for the best and hope that the airport can return to normal operation soon. Our ski tours will be starting in three weeks, so let’s hope that this situation improves before then. As stated in our previous post, other overland transportation options exist to reach your ski destination in Patagonia.

There is a bit of good news in the way of snow. The latest forecasts are showing the possibility of 22-28″ of snow falling this week at Cerro Catedral and surrounding areas. The heaviest part of the storm looks to be coming down Wednesday night. Let’s hope this storm system hits hard, covers our slopes with snow, and pushes the ash clouds out of Patagonia!

Please view our latest post for updated information on the status of the Bariloche Airport

Aerolineas Argentinas

Currently, the airport in Bariloche is still closed, due to complications associated with the volcanic ash problem from the June 4 eruption of the Puyehue Volcano. The plan now is for the airport to re-open on July 8. Until that date, Aerolineas Argentinas will be running flights originating in Brazil, passing through Buenos Aires, for customs and immigrations, flying to the Esquel or Neuquen airports, followed by overland transfers into Bariloche. The distances from Esquel and Neuquen to Bariloche are approximately 300 km (186 miles) and 460 km (286 miles), respectively. These complimentary ground transfers are to be paid for by the Río Negro province, home of Bariloche. I suppose one might be able to get on this flight if there were an opening, but it is designed to be an exclusive service for Brazilian patrons. Why the special treatment? Brazilian tourists account for the vast majority of foreign visitors to Bariloche, year after year. The estimated number of Brazilian visitors to Bariloche for July 2011 is 46,000 people.

Additionally, many local businesses in Bariloche, including hotels and restaurants, are offering discounts up to 30% off, in order to stimulate business in the wake of the Puyehue disaster. The Cerro Catedral ski resort, which is just starting its ski season, has announced they will be charging their mid-season rates during the high-season, equivalent to a savings of 30%. If you’ve ever wanted to get a good deal in Bariloche, this is the year to do it.

Cruising Patagonia
Guide Photo: Cruising Patagonia

As stated in a previous post, several other transportation options exist to reach your ski destination in Patagonia before the opening of all of the airports. Many of our guests and guides have used the Via Bariloche and El Valle bus services in the past. It is a much cheaper option, typically costing about half the price of air travel. Another benefit of this travel option is the drive itself, taking in the views of the Argentine countryside, travelling through the pampas, while casually sipping wine and being served high quality meals all along the way. If you do choose to travel to Bariloche by bus, we highly recommend upgrading to the Cama Ejecutivo or Tutto Leto seats. It is well worth it, considering the length of the trip (20+ hours).

Stay tuned for updates, we’ll keep you posted. We will definitely be letting everyone know when the airport opens, and the entire town will rejoice. Until then, think snow.

Today at Cerro Catedral
Today at Cerro Catedral, photo: Seba Martinez

After much uncertainty and even more anticipation, it looks like the ski season is officially starting in South America. Today’s snowfall covered the southern tip of the continent with a beautiful white blanket of snow. Resorts in Argentina have reported large amounts of snow, ranging from 15-55 cm, in the past 24 hours.

Thanks to this wonderful accumulation of snow, ski resorts have confirmed their opening dates. First of all, props to Caviahue for being the first to open, back on June 19. Cerro Catedral is planning to open for skiing on July 1, running the Amancay gondola and Diente de Caballo double chair in the Punta Princesa zone of the mountain. The southern-most ski resort on the planet, Cerro Castor, is also scheduled to open July 1. Chapelco and La Hoya will start running their chairs on July 2, and Las Leñas has announced their plans to open for skiing on July 4.

The forecast for Bariloche and the surrounding area is looking good: cold temps with a few more inches of snow over the next couple days, followed by sunny skies for the opening weekend. Cold temps and snow look to resume following the week’s end. As stated in our previous post, the airport in Bariloche is set to re-open July 8, after being closed since the June 4 eruption of the Puyehue Volcano. This rounds out the good news for the ski season in Patagonia, bringing a great sense of relief to us all. Vamos!

 

Please view our latest post for updated information on the status of the Bariloche Airport

The weather forecast is looking good in Bariloche. Temperatures will be dropping into the teens and possibly even lower up at Cerro Catedral, and a good amount of snow is expected to fall over the next few days. Check out the latest forecast from snow-forecast.com:

From snow-forecast.com
From snow-forecast.com

In regards to the Puyehue Volcano situation, things have been getting better, but the ash cloud comes and goes with the wind currents. For this reason, the opening of the Bariloche Airport has been pushed back another week, currently scheduled for July 8. For those of you travelling to the area before this date, there are still many options to reach the city overland, by car or by bus. Many of our guests and guides have used the Via Bariloche or El Valle bus services in the past. It is a much cheaper option, typically costing about half the price of an air travel ticket. Another benefit of this travel option is the drive itself, taking in the views of the Argentine countryside, travelling through the pampas, while casually sipping wine and being served high quality meals all along the way. If you do choose to travel to Bariloche by bus, we highly recommend upgrading to the Cama Ejecutivo or Tutto Leto seats. It is well worth it, considering the length of the trip (20+ hours).

Please view our latest post for updated information on the status of the Bariloche Airport

Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, and LAN have just announced that they will be resuming flights to the southern regions of Argentina for the first time since the eruption of the Puyehue Volcano on June 4. This depends on whether or not the volcanic ash continues to fall. If all goes well, flights to Bariloche will resume as early as July 1. This comes as a huge relief to all of us: the airlines, the citizens of Bariloche, tourists, and all of the tourism companies in the area.

Aerolineas Argentinas at Bariloche Airport
Photo: Wikipedia

To book your flight, use airport code BRC (Bariloche).

Update to a previous post: Both Chapelco and Las Leñas have just announced that they will be postponing their opening dates to July 2. Cerro Castor has also moved their opening date back to July 1. Cerro Catedral has not yet released an anticipated re-opening date, as they are waiting for more snow to fall. As it stands, Caviahue is the only open ski resort in Argentina.

Red Solidaria BarilocheLa Red Solidaria Bariloche (The Bariloche Solidarity Network), along with many other local institutions and businesses have organized a community clean up campaign, starting tomorrow, Monday, June 20 (National Holiday – Flag Day). It is known as the “Bariloche, Mi Casa” Campaign. They are calling upon all citizens, organizations and businesses of Bariloche to join in the communal effort to clean the volcanic ash from the city’s streets and sidewalks. Assistance will be provided by Public Works & Services, supplying trucks, dump trucks and other machinery. The event will begin at 9:00 am local time at the Civic Center with the singing of the national anthem, in celebration of Flag Day. Those whom are not in the area are asked to join in the singing of the national anthem at 9:00 and then sweep wherever you are. This symbolic sweeping will travel far and give the people of Bariloche the strength to work until 5:00 in the evening. Attendees will need to bring their own work equipment (gloves, brooms, shovels, wheelbarrows, and other tools) and are strongly advised to wear personal protective equipment (goggles and masks), as they will be working in the dust and ash. Women and children are encouraged to stay indoors to protect themselves from the dangerous machinery as well as from the agitated dust and ash that will be in the air whilst the clean up is being performed. Local businesses will be supplying food and drink for workers throughout the event. Residents are reminded to clean off their rooftops before the event begins, so the ash can be swept away.

For additional information or to offer donations, please send e-mail to: redsolidariabariloche@gmail.com

Update to our previous post: It appears as though both Cerro Catedral and Las Leñas have postponed their openings, due to unfavorable conditions. Cerro Catedral is open to foot passengers only on the Cable Carril aerial tram. Las Leñas is set to open June 25. Caviahue is currently the only open ski resort in Argentina.

Also, the airport in Bariloche is still closed, and it is uncertain if they will be able to make their proposed re-opening date of June 21. This should not have any adverse effects on our ski tours in the region, as we typically operate in the month of August, and things should be back to normal by then. We will keep you updated.

La Camara Argentina de Centros de Esqui y Turismo de Montaña (Argentina Chamber of Ski Resorts and Mountain Tourism) has just released the official opening dates for the 2011 ski season in Argentina! The dates are as follows, in order of opening:

Cerro Catedral

Cerro Catedral: June 17

Caviahue: June 17Caviahue

Las LenasLas Leñas: June 20

Cerro Castor: June 24Cerro Castor

 

ChapelcoChapelco: June 25

La Hoya: June 25La Hoya

PenitentesPenitentes: June 25

Cerro Bayo:  July 1

Cerro Bayo

The 2011 ski season in Argentina starts this weekend! Let us take you on a tour of the finest ski resorts in Patagonia. Book a Resort Tour today!

Update to our previous post: Unfortunately, the snow forecast has been scaled back substantially, to only a few inches for this weekend.

Catedral Alta Patagonia

Cerro Catedral will be opening as scheduled, June 17, 2011. Fortunately, the rain of ash from the recent eruption of the Puyehue volcano has not affected the lifts, hotels or other mountain services. With a recent snowfall and more in the forecast, we should be seeing a fairly good opening day. Refugio Frey was recently stocked by helicopter and is ready to receive winter visitors. Due to volcanic ash complications, the Bariloche Airport will remain closed until June 21, 2011. This will not affect any of our ski tours.

Winter has arrived in the Andes!

For more information about the current conditions at Cerro Catedral, please view their daily conditions page here: Parte Diario (Translated to English)

 

Smoke billowing out of the Puyehue Volcano
Photo: Martin Iniguez/AP

Following the recent eruption of the nearby Puyehue Volcano in Chile, the town of Bariloche has been covered in ash and has been put on red alert. City Mayor Marcelo Cascón informed the community that the water supply is intact, and they do not anticipate any problems regarding its contamination, although citizens are urged to limit their use of water during this difficult time. They do not expect the town’s electricity to be affected either. All passes to Chile have been closed, as well as the local airport, while the ash continues to fall. This rain of ash could continue through the night, but the situation would be the same as that experienced so far. Citizens are urged to stay in their homes, keep all doors and windows closed, and limit their use of cell phones. Once the ash has cleared from the skies, it is recommended to sweep it from rooftops, similar to after snowstorms. City public transit is functioning normally.

We have also heard that everyone that went up to Refugio Frey for ice skating this weekend is okay.

Every hour, there will be further information on civil defense by calling emergency numbers locally: 103/105/106.

Recommendations of the General Directorate of Civil Defense:

What to do if volcanic ash is falling?

• Do not be alarmed, remain calm. Ashes are more bothersome than damaging to health.
• Do not go outside. If outside, seek shelter (eg in cars, buildings), use a mask, handkerchief or cloth to trap dust. No risk of toxic gases, despite the sour smell.
• Do not use the phone, unless it’s something urgent.
• Public information is transmitted by the mass media

At home:
• Close doors and windows and block the flue of chimneys.
• Place damp towels at door thresholds and other places where air may come in.
• Do not turn on ventilators or clothes dryers.
• If the water source is contaminated or has an acid taste or smell, use the one stored in the water heater, water tanks or toilet reservoir (turn off the main water). To purify water, pour 10 drops of bleach for every 4 liters of water. Let stand for 30 minutes, or boil water for 5 minutes.

In your car:
• If possible, do not drive.
• If you must drive, do so slowly (25 Km / h). Remember that ash reduces visibility.
• If the car stops, push it off the road to avoid collision, stay in it.
• Note: Ash is abrasive rock and can damage vehicles and scratch paint.