Cerro Catedral is a peak situated in Patagonia, Argentina, 19 kilometers (12 mi) from San Carlos de Bariloche. The mountain is South America’s and the southern hemisphere’s largest ski resort (120 kilometers/75 miles of slopes spread on a 600-hectare area) with a massive infrastructure for winter sports. It is open throughout the year and has 40 lifts (including chairlifts and cable cars) capable of transporting 35,000 passengers per hour.
Cerro Catedral Ski Resort has the most modern resort base in South America, complete with a commercial complex and over 5,000 bedrooms conveniently located near the major lifts. Access is through a paved road (which is not as common in Argentina as you may believe) with a range of convenient transit choices from neighboring San Carlos de Bariloche and the Bariloche airport (airport code BRC). Bariloche is a lively tourist city with excellent restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, and, once away from the bustling main roads, beautiful views of Patagonia.
Summer months provide a plethora of adventurous activities for the whole family. From climbing to hiking, mountain biking, and rappelling, there is something for everyone. Enjoy stunning views, exquisite food, and a region devoid of automobiles and motorcycles. Visit the Bike Park, where novice and expert riders alike may descend eight distinct paths designated on the mountain’s southern and central sides.
Cerro Catedral info card
Ski Resort Location: 12 miles from San Carlos de Bariloche, Patagonia Argentina
Elevation: 1,050m (3,445ft) to 2,050m (6,725ft)
Ski Resort Vertical Drop: 1,000m (3,280ft)
Ski Resort Inbound Terrain: Close to 1500 skiable acres, with a total of 120 km in runs and cat roads.
Ski Lifts: 38 with a mix of six-packs, cuads, doubles, t-bars, disk surface lifts, a gondola.
Off-Piste and Backcountry Access: Excellent
Annual Snowfall: 300 inches (over 760 cm)
Bariloche Ski Season: You can ski Catedral from June to October
Ski and Snowboard Park: Yes
Night Life: One of the best scenes in South America
Ski and Snowboard Terrain in Catedral Alta Patagonia
Cerro Catedral’s 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of lift-accessed ski terrain is the greatest in South America, with nearly half of it being off-piste. This massive ski resort has a 1,150-metre (3,773-foot) vertical drop and 120 kilometers of slopes divided into 15% beginner, 60% intermediate, 20% advanced, and 5% expert.
Cerro Catedral is best suited to intermediate and expert skiers, although beginning terrain is still available. Catedral is well-known for its excellent tree skiing, and advanced skiers have access to a variety of alpine off-piste terrain as well as backcountry chutes and bowls. Additionally, there is a great terrain park for terrain park addicts.
At Catedral, monstrous lift queues have been the norm, while modernization of the lift system continues in an attempt to increase uphill capacity. There are a mix of modern high-speed elevators, ancient slow double chairs that seem to be hand-me-downs, and a few T-bars among the 37 lifts. In comparison to the majority of other ski resorts in South America, the lifts are considered ultramodern.
Beginners and non-skiers
At this resort, there is lots of opportunity for gaming. You may hire snowbikes or go tubing or take a lesson. Apart from that, take in the breathtaking views of the lakes and mountain ranges or unwind at the base’s retail center or plaza. Non-skiers may also ride the tram to a refugio high on the mountain for lunch to fully appreciate and enjoy the beautiful views. If you want to remain downtown, there are a plethora of activities available in Bariloche, including shopping, people watching, exploring local cafés and chocolate stores, or just relaxing in the major plazas.
The resort dedicates a considerable section of its terrain to intermediate skiers and snowboarders, and the grooming crew performs an adequate job of keeping the pistes open throughout the season. Off the beaten path, you may hone your abilities in a variety of conditions, including packed powder and, of course, fresh pow after a storm.
Bariloche snowboarding? A message to people interested in snowboarding in Catedral. There is often quite an amount of travelling required to reach various zones on the mountain, so plan accordingly. The lift operators are quite particular about the use of snowboard leashes. Without a shirt, shoes, or leash? Not a chance!
Experts may choose from a variety of off-piste possibilities, as well as backcountry chutes, bowls, and walks, including the Refugio Frey Hut, for backcountry ski touring and splitboarding. The southern side of the mountain provides good walks to the resort’s backside steep chutes, bowls, and cliff bands known as Punta Nevada and La Laguna.
The Catedral terrain park, located in the Nubes zone, is one of South America’s most innovative and established ski and snowboard parks. A dedicated lift and a full-time crew of grooming and snow park professionals have all contributed to the park’s development into one of the greatest. There are features and sections for skiers and riders of all levels, from those new to terrain parks to those eager to push the sport’s boundaries.
A packed schedule of skiing and snowboarding events ensures that there is nearly always something exciting to see, from nighttime competitions in the base area to internationally known series held in the park.
The height has an effect on the climate. At higher levels, the climate is classed as alpine or tundra (Köppen ET), but at lower elevations, the climate is defined as cold mediterranean (Köppen: Csb). Cerro Catedral has the greatest number of snowfall days in Argentina, with an average of 98 each year.
When Should You Visit?
Cerro Catedral is most definitely not an unknown ski resort. It is always hectic, and may get downright frenzied during the peak holiday season in July. Probably from mid August onwards is the ideal time to visit Catedral.
Accommodation at Villa Cerro Catedral
The community at the foot of Cerro Catedral offers a variety of lodging options that are conveniently located near the slopes. Cerro Catedral’s 5,000 bedrooms comprise hotel and guesthouse accommodations. The town offers a diverse selection of restaurants, pubs, stores, as well as ski and snowboarding facilities.
Alternatively, the city of Bariloche can accommodate around 20,000 visitors in a variety of lodgings ranging from hostels to five-star hotels. Bariloche offers a vibrant nightlife and more chocolate stores than a chocoholic could wish for.
How Much Does a Catedral Ski Vacation Cost?
Argentina ski vacations are reasonably priced for the majority of foreign travelers, especially with the normally favorable currency exchange rate. Cerro Catedral in particular offers excellent value for money, particularly when considering the well-developed lifts and town, as well as the reasonably priced restaurants. While Catedral is somewhat more costly than Villa la Angostura/Cerro Bayo or La Hoya/Esquel, it is a bargain in comparison to the overpriced Las Lenas. It’s also substantially less expensive than other Chilean ski resorts that rely entirely on resort-owned lodging and infrastructure.
Additionally, if you stay in Bariloche accommodations, a Catedral ski vacation may be rather affordable.