Clark Weeks – Info for Skiing in Patagonia
Clark Weeks wants to go skiing in Patagonia so we decided to create this post for him. Patagonia has a surface area of about 800,000 square kilometers. It is considered to be the area south of the Colorado River (yes, there is one in South America too, also known as the Rio Negra). It is part in Argentina and part in Chile. In Chile, it is basically south of the city of Puerto Montt.
Around 70% of its population lives in just about 20% of the whole region which eventually makes it one of the most meagerly populated areas on earth. To quench your thirst for something new and different, a visit to Patagonia just can’t be overlooked.
For a considerable length of time, the name Patagonia has evoked both curiosity, puzzlement and wonder. Being so remote, a sense of adventure is helpful as well. Some would say, a lost world at the base of South America.
There have been myths about the region from the very earliest times that Europeans discovered the region. Magellan, in the 1520s, brought back the famous myth that huge footed giants inhabited the South American region. One of the survivors during this time wrote in his account how these giants posed as threats to human lives. Presently we realize that Patagonia is one of the last immaculate unsettled and unspoiled areas we have left.
What makes it special?
Indeed, the climate generates entirely marvelous snowfalls in Argentina. Ironically, the area east of the Andes in Argentina is fairly dry and yet they still get a lot of snow. The ski season if fairly lengthy as well.
Brave skiing pioneers meandered the land looking for great powder. There are some ski resorts further north in the Andes, but the majority are in Patagonia.
In Patagonia, winter goes from June to September. However, just like in the US, you also get spring skiing and that extends into late October. This late season appeals to cross country skiing and split boarding as well as backcountry skiing.
Places to visit
Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia
This is listed first because it tends to be one of the top ranked ski resorts in the Patagonia region. Part of the reason for this is that over $6 million has been invested in the resort over the last several years so the facilities are in great shape. Like many US ski resorts there is a cute town nearby, San Carlos de Bariloche. It is only 12 miles from the slopes and has restaurants and shops that will appeal to skiers and tourists.
Because of all the recent development, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a place to stay since there are now over 7,000 beds in the area. Believe it or not, there are 28,000 more in San Carlos de Bariloche.
You will need your bed because you will probably be worn out trying to ski all the various slopes. The longest single run is 5.5 miles long and you have 75 miles of slopes to chose from.
La Hoya means pit, hole or basin in Spanish. It is aptly named because the ski resort is located in a large bowl. It is a bit remote and the resort is not overly crowded. It was first discovered by skiers in the 1930s and the resort began development in the 1950s.
It is only 12 miles from the town of Esquel. To get there, you would fly into into Buenos Aires, transfer to a local airline and fly into Esquel. It is smaller than Cerro Catedral with only 15 miles of slopes.
Strangely, some websites say there is a glacier there but this is not true. However, Esquel is a popular starting place for a tour going further south to the amazing San Rafael Glacier.
Situated in Neuquén province, Chapelco is only 12 miles away San Martin de Los Andes, a modern tourist center. The design is stunningly beautiful and the high level of service at the resort complements that and creates a wonderful atmosphere. The longest trail goes for 3.2 miles with a pitch varying between 20 and 40 degrees. There are 22 trails crisscrossing the 140 345 acres of land. It has an elevation drop of 2360ft, starting at 6463 feet above sea level, which is higher than mile high Denver but only about half the height of the ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies in the US. This makes it much easier to breath and you don’t get winded as easily. However, the views from this resort are still extraordinary.
We hope you and Clark Weeks will go skiing in Patagonia. It seems like an amazing place for skiing and just in general it looks beautiful. For more skiing posts, click here.