The city of San Carlos de Bariloche is situated on the foothills of the Andes, surrounded by lakes (Nahuel Huapi, Gutiérrez Lake, Moreno Lake and Mascardi Lake) and mountains (Tronador, Cerro Catedral, Cerro López). It is famous for skiing but also great for sight-seeing, water sports, trekking and climbing. Cerro Catedral is one of the most important ski resorts in South America.
Downtown Bariloche is about a 20 minute drive from the ski resort. However, ground transfers are provided by most major hotels and cabins as part of the price you paid for your accommodation. Everything from restaurants and movie theaters to night clubs and a fine range of pubs are available in town. It has an amazing night life, shopping, activities, casino, and a multitude of different restaurants, tea houses and bars.
The majority of skiing and riding is at Catedral Alta Patagonia, a full service resort with all the amenities that are expected from a world class ski area. Catedral located just 20 kilometers away from the vibrant city. In addition to Catedral, there are other adventures in the surrounding Nahuel Huapi National Park. Everything from downhill skiing and snowboarding, a full Nordic ski center, and opportunities for bobsledding and snowmobiling can be found. All activities are conveniently located around city of San Carlos de Bariloche on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi.
The only decision in Bariloche is where you want to stay out of the 3 different options. At the base of the ski hill at Cerro Catedral, in town, or in the exclusive Llao Llao region. The base of the hill is most convenient having ski in ski out, but not that much happens after 6PM around the base.
A bit outside the town and the ski resort secluded in nature (must take transfers to ski hill and town) you can be in the majestic area known as Llao Llao about 25 minutes from town and 25 minutes from the ski hill, this is where one of Argentina's top hotels is, The Llao Llao Resort and Spa. The Llao Llao Resort is member of the The Leading Hotels in the world.
With over 3,500 vertical feet, 1,400 acres of lift accesses ski terrain, and over 1,400 acres of off piste terrain Catedral Alta Patagonia is Bariloche’s premier ski destination. Sixty percent of the terrain is rated for the intermediate and expert skier, twenty-five for beginners and the remaining 15% is true expert’s only skiing and riding. Everything Catedral has to offer is easily accessible from the central town of San Carlos de Bariloche and better yet only 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away. The Villa Catedral base facility stands at 3,090 feet above sea level and offers a full range of guest services including everything from a world class ski school to equipment rentals in a centralized location.
We recommend a trip to Bariloche for the less "expert only" craving skier, snowboarder or family that wants to enjoy a more overall vacation or cultural experience in Argentina than just skiing or boarding. August and early September are the best times to come to avoid the busiest times and get the most reliable snow. For advanced and expert skiers there are still short 10 minute traverses and hikes that will get you to more advanced terrain and some chutes and small bowls.
Catedral´s snowpark: The snowpark in Catedral has been very well taken care of during all 2007 and is one of the best ones in South America. It´s supposed to be looking even better for the next 2008 season.
It has fun and good boxes of different sizes and shapes and for different levels of riding/skiing. As well as two or three (depending on the week of the season) kickers, nothing huge like in Vail or Northstar at Tahoe but nice and fun ones. Good variety of rails.
Nordic Opportunities: For a break from the downhill slopes there are two main other winter options; the Centro de Ski Nordico, a fully serviced Nordic ski center just a few kilometers outside of Bariloche’s downtown, and the Piedras Blancas Winter Complex. Piedras Blancas has everything you need for bobsledding, snowmobiling, quad bikes, and miles of Nordic ski tracks.
• Other Activities
In Bariloche besides skiing and snowboarding there´s a lot to do. Water rafting, trekking, climbing, paragliding, fly fishing, golf, hang-gliding, almost all adventure sports.
Catedral Resort offers snowmobile tours through the mountains and snowcat tours for a more relaxing way to enjoy the beautiful Nahuel Huapi National park.
• How to get there
To get to Bariloche from Buenos Aires there are many daily flights June to September from Buenos Aires (AEP) to Bariloche (BRC) and it is a 2 hour flight and costs approx. $370 USD round trip per person. The first flight of the day leaves Buenos Aires very early in the morning and the last one leaves late in the afternoon. Both airlines, LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas fly to Bariloche.
Runs And Lifts
The 600 skiable hectares are signaled by a homogeneous system that manages to rapidly make the skier find its way through the various runs with their corresponding difficulties. Catedral has 103 kilometers of runs and 40 lifts, which may transport up to 35.000 skiers per hour.
60% of the runs are for the intermediate level. Punta Princesa, where snow remains till late October permitting spring skiing, is recommendable for all levels. De la Garganta, Pista Seis and Del Bosque are for advanced skiers. Amancay goes through the forest providing a unique landscape. De las Nubes and Carlitos are two of the most difficult runs.
More lifts are being incorporated this winter at Catedral, so that everybody may enjoy a record season. As a result of these new lifts, visitors can get from the base at 1,770 m.a.s.l. in only 10 minutes, to the lower Teleski 2000 station.
Once the trip is over, the La Roca stop and another new lift -the Triple Diente de Caballo chairlift may be appreciated.
It has the highest prestige and the best specialization. Its 150 instructors provide training on all ski specialties, snowboarding, deep snow, off-piste, para-ski (paragliding-ski) and kids school. It offers exclusive 1, 2 and 3 hour-classes or all-day classes, which will be in groups of six people maximum and 4 minimum.
The mountain garden, for kids between 45 days and 3 years old, organizes games, songs, puppets and snow activities so that parents go skiing without any worries. Also, the kids school provides training for kids under 14.
Excursions Around Bariloche
• Victoria Island and Arrayanes Forest
(The tour begins at Puerto Pañuelo, the harbour located 25 km. out of town, opposite Hotel Llao Llao. You can get there by bus or drive your own car. The boat sails over Lake Nahuel Huapi for 30 minutes to Puerto Anchorena at the island’s narrow central area.
A comfortable chairlift carries you up to the top of Cerro Bella Vista, from which there is a panoramic view of Bahía Anchorena, and further away, the entire Llao Llao and Puerto Pañuelo area.
Alternatively, walk to Puerto Gross or visit the cave paintings and Playa del Toro. Back on the boat, you will sail to the Arrayanes forest, located on Peninsula Quetrihué. A 600-meter path leads through the forest, a pure stand of magnificent arrayán trees, considered unique in the world.
Time: all day or half day.
• Mount Tronador via Lake Mascardi excursion
(Get to the Villa Mascardi pier by driving past Lakes Gutiérrez and Mascardi along Route 258. A boat sails over the clear, green waters of Lake Mascardi to the Tronador arm, arriving at Hotel Tronador, with its backdrop of Mount Tronador, for lunch. Then drive along the Manso River valley to Pampa Linda and the Ventisquero Negro glacier.
From the bottom of Mount Tronador, in Pampa Linda, hike through the forest to the picturesque Saltillo de las Nalcas waterfall. Then drive back to Bariloche.
Time: all day.