Things to consider

  • How much skiing have you done before? If you are an experienced tourer there are plenty of steep volcanoes and backcountry trails to challenge you in Patagonia. If you're more comfortable skiing on-piste then there are a number of resorts to choose from
  • Are you fit enough for a multi-day ski touring trip? Ski touring for several days consecutively can be physically demanding. Would you prefer to factor in some rest days?
  • What sort of terrain do you want to ski? Rolling domes, tree lines or steep chutes?
  • What is your preferred choice of accommodation? Are you looking for luxury hotels, local B&B's or a true mountain hut experience?

Guide to Skiing in Patagonia

The Andes are in fact the world's second highest mountain range behind the Himalayas. Combine this altitude with a regular weather phenomena from the Pacific known as El Nino and snowfall is abundant throughout the winter season.

Best Time to Visit

Winter runs from June to October but ski conditions are at their best from July to September. The further south you go, the longer the ski conditions last. Ski touring is possible in October as well.

ski sunset

Ski Resorts

In total there are 22 ski resorts in Chile and Argentina which cater for beginner up to advanced skiers. Some of the most well-known include Valle Nevado and Portillo in Chile and Cerro Catedral and Chapelco in Argentina. The infrastructure can be basic by North American or European standards (the majority rely on tow lifts as opposed to chairlifts). Equipment rental shops are located in the main towns and cities such as Santiago, Pucon and Bariloche. A mix of classy hotels and cosy wooden lodges provide friendly hospitality and delicious food.

Ski range

Ski Touring

This is the best way to experience skiing in Patagonia. Strap on your skins and hike up volcanos, past Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria) trees and through steep mountain gulleys to be rewarded with endless views of frozen lakes, snowy peaks and vast glaciers. Ski in pristine areas of untouched snow, leaving the chairlifts and the crowds far behind. Deep powder, tree runs, glacial skiing and steep chutes await.

ski tour

Hut to Hut Backcountry

The ultimate winter mountain experience for those with expereince. The best hut-to-hut network is in Nahuel Huapi National Park in Barlioche, Argentina. The Frey Hut to Jakob Hut traverse is a classic hiking route in the summer months and during the winter the terrain offers nice touring and chute options. There are also numerous peaks and summits along the way which you can attempt if you want more of a challenge. Tuck into a lentil stew and a hot coffee in the mountain hut after a long day on the snow. 

Ski extreme

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Skiing Trips in Patagonia

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FAQs about Skiing in Patagonia

  • When should I go?

    The best time of year for skiing in Patagonia is from July to August. This is the height of winter and when snowfall is most reliable. Schools break up for winter holidays for 2 weeks in July so be wary of crowds if you're travelling at this time.

  • What kind of skiing can I do?

    Resort-based - For those who prefer to ski in bounds and enjoy a pisco sour on the slopes there are a number of resorts situated near Santiago, Bariloche and in the Chilean Lake District.

    Touring - The Chilean Andes are scattered with both active and dormant volacnoes. For adventure seekers, it is possible to hike up and ski down them in the winter. In areas like the Nahuel Huapi National Park near Bariloche, you can ski between a network of backcountry mountain huts.

    Heli Skiing/CAT Skiing - The High Andes of South America offer remote, big mountain ski opportunities. Heliski operators based out of Santiago and Bariloche can provide the logistics to support your trip upon request. Baguales Mountain Reserve in Nahuel Huapi National Park has 25,000 acres of CAT skiing terrain which can be explored from a luxury lodge hidden in the mountains.

  • How long do I need?

    Ski trips in Patagonia can be tailored to your needs and desires. To combine a number of volcanos it is best to allow 2 weeks. Shorter trips lasting just 1 week can be arranged if you prefer to base yourself from a resort.

  • Do I need to be experienced?

    If you plan to ski tour then previous experience is necessary. You should be comfortable skiing off-piste with AT or Telemark bindings and fixing your own skins. Trips can vary to incorporate simpler climbs if you are relatively new to the discipline. If you plan to base yourself from a resort then most have international ski schools which provide English-speaking instructors.

  • What equipment do I need?

    For any ski touring or off-piste ski trips it is highly recommended that your provide your own equipment. If you plan to ski inbounds then equipment can be rented from the resort however ski rental shops in South America lack diversity and their equipment can be dated.

    Ski Boots

    Randonnee -There are a range of good boots on the market. Generally, the 
lighter boots are more comfortable for walking, while the heavier boots are not quite so comfortable but provide better skiing control. Garmont, Dynafit, Lowa and Scarpa seem to be the most popular brands these days. Most, if not all, of these companies have models specifically designed to fit women. 

    TelemarkScarpa, Crispi, Garmont are all excellent. If you use telemark gear be sure your boot crampons can be fitted to your boots. 


  • What could I combine it with?

    Many people like to combine their Patagonian ski experience with a wine tour in the vineyards south of Santiago or in Mendoza. As you will likely be flying in and out of either Santiago or Buenos Aires, you can extend your trip in these cities with guided walking tours. In the Chilean Lake District, you can choose to relax in one of the health retreats or spas situated around the volcanic hot springs. And further south in Los Glaciares or Torres del Paine National Parks, there are winter hiking trips for you to join.

More about Patagonia in Winter

Ready to plan your Patagonia adventure?

  • Swoop Patagonia Expert Harriet
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  • Swoop Patagonia Expert Chloe
  • Swoop Patagonia Expert Sally
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  • Swoop Patagonia Expert Charlie
  • Swoop Patagonia Expert Loli

Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

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