Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 23, 2010

How to be a ski bum in Argentina

Filed under: South America — Tags: , — admin @ 7:44 pm

How To Be a Ski Bum In Argentina

Disclaimer: These prices are at August, 2010. Check the current prices for yourself. For example, lift prices from 2009 to 2010 had jumped massively. Also, there are 3 seasons – high, medium and low and prices jump around accordingly. Check yourself at the resort web sites for when the seasons are.

Flights to Argentina

First off have a look at airline search engine at – there you will find the cheapest flights in the month, pick the whole month.
Sydney to Buenos Aires – Qantas(A$2000+) or Aerolineas Argentineas
or Sydney to Santiago, Chile.
Flights from USA(Spirit to Bogota, aerolineas to BsAs?), Canada (CAN$1300 from Vancouver to BsAs), Europe

Whatever you get it is going to be expensive, so cop it sweet.


Most hostels in Argentina charge about 45-50 pesos a night or about US$12. You can book through or ask the hostel that you are staying at to book the next hostel you are going to. If you want to stay in some swanky hotel, then you are reading the wrong page.

Argentina Ski Resorts

Las Lenas

Las Lenas is the trendiest and most expensive of the Argentine ski resorts, but from all reports has some of the best expert skiing in the Andes. A Season Pass is more than 4000 pesos. It is 70km from Malargue, where there are some hostels for about 50 pesos per night.

Los Penitentes

Los Penitentes is 2 hours from Mendoza with 25 pistes, about 10 lifts and reports of great off-piste skiing. Campo Base Hostel offers a week’s accommodation with breakfast and lunch for about 500 pesos per week. A 7 day lift pass costs from 700-1000 pesos.

Cerro Catedral

Catedral is 19 kilometers from Bariloche, where there is an abundance of reasonably-priced hostels. The killer is the cost of the season pass which is more than the most expensive in Australia, at AU$1600. But there are more than 53 pistes and tons of great skiing from all reports.


Chapelco is 20 kilometers from San Martin de los Andes and has 20 pistes for all ranges of skiers. It has reputedly some of the best skiing in Argentina. A month ski pass costs from 2500-4700 pesos. La Colorada Hostel charges about 50 pesos per night in San Martin de los Andes.


Caviahue is a small ski resort 19 kilometers from Copahue with 10 pistes and 8 ski lifts.

Cerro Bayo

Cerro Bayo is is 15 minutes from Villa La Angostura in the province of Neuquen. There are 20 pistes and 12 lifts. There are a few hostels in Angostura. Hostel La Angostura costs about 60 pesos per night. A 7 day lift pass costs from 500-900 pesos.

La Hoya

La Hoya Ski Resort is 13 kilometers from Esquel. There are many hostels in Esquel for about 50 pesos per night or cheaper if you pay by the month. A season pass for foreigners is 3000 pesos (~AU$900). The bowl at La Hoya is quite good for off-piste, and there are chairs that will access a fair bit of off-piste skiing.
Cerro Castor

25 kilometers from Ushuaia where there are masses of cheap hostels to stay. Cerro Castor has 28 pistes and 9 ski lifts.

Season passes

for 2010 the prices were:
Cerro Catedral – A$1600
Las Lenas ~ AU$1200
La Hoya – A$900
Cerro Castor – A$900

I thought Australian lift passes were the most expensive in the world but Argentina beats us hands down for expensive season passes.


Easting out can be expensive unless you work out where the ordinary people eat cheaply. I have not found out yet. I found that by cooking my own meals that it was relatively inexpensive. Some vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, onion, tomatoes and spinach are a good buy, but meat can be quite dear. Bread in baguettes form are the cheapest and most delicious option.

There are pretty big supermarkets in most towns. You can usually find bargains there and they have a good range of food. They sometimes have pre-prepared sandwiches or rolls for a very good price. I highly recommend the ham and cheese rolls for about 3 pesos.

Breakfast is usually included with the hostel tariff and usually consists of a couple of croissants(Media Luneas) and a cup of coffee. It did me fine but you can get muesli or cereals in the supermarket if you need to. Fruit juice is awesomely good and is really cheap. I highly recommend the Baggio Multifrutal.

Travel within Argentina


Buses are very good with seats that fold back into reasonably comfortable sleeping platforms. Even I was able to sleep on the buses in Argentina. For example, a bus from Buenos Aires will cost 350 pesos and take 25 hours. I do not like such long bus trips, so I split up my trips into manageable 8 hour chunks. But that ends up costing more. It is probably better to get long-distance travel over in one lump and get it over with.

Plane Flights within Argentina

For example, Buenos Aires to Bariloche or Esquel will cost from 250-300 US dollars. Foreigners will be slugged extra for the pleasure of being an extrano. There are a number of internal airlines – LADO, Andes, Aerolineas Argentina, LAN Argentina and a number of other regional airlines. Check their websites for prices. It is probably heaps cheaper to fly during the week, rather than the weekend.

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