San Carlos de Bariloche sits at the southern end of a massive lakes region that expands into Chile, and offers the skier or rider looking for a summertime shredding experience a markedly different experience that most ski destinations in South America. Cerro Catedral, the resort, sits twenty minutes outside of downtown Bariloche and is South America’s biggest, counting 1,500 acres of inbounds terrain and another 1,500 of sidecountry – about the size of Mammoth, and with a big variety in terrain from mellower in-bounds terrain to steeper sidecountry lines, endless backcountry possibilities and some of the only tree skiing in the southern hemi, with perfectly-spaced, moss-draped trees covering the bottom third of the mountain. This helps maximize your ride time during the many monster storms that can pound the region during July, August, and early September, whereas you might be left indoors with no visibility at other spots in Chile and Argentina. While the mountain’s low altitude can limit lower terrain in bad snow years, when it’s good, Catedral has some of the biggest diversity in terrain of anywhere in South America.
Riding at Catedral also gives you a chance to be in a real Argentine city, Bariloche, which has 130,000 residents, is famous for chocolates, freshwater fish pulled right out of the lake, homegrown breweries that are a product of its many European immigrants, and of course, unbelievable beef and wine. As well, the raging nightlife means mandatory visits to clubs like Dusk, Wilkenny, and Pacha as well as more local spots like La Cruz brewery and La Cantina nightclub. If you want to really get off the beaten path, we highly recommend taking the bus or hiring a cab out to Casa Gilbert on the Circuito Chico – small, family-run restaurant and brewery with amazing picada dishes, pastas, fish, and Stromboli and a location between the lake and the high alpine snowfield of the Cerro Lopez that looks straight out of Switzerland.
A ski and a snowboard video from last summer in Bariloche: