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Old 04-22-2012, 06:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Argentina - Les Lenas vs Bariloche...not sure where to go

Anyone been to both and comment on the locations? I'm thinking about going this summer but need to pick one. Not sure really what would be the better time. Also if any location is like Chile where tbars is the primary mode of getting up the mountain, that would be worth knowing I was in Chile last year and while I'm not adverse to using them I rather not deal with tbars mostly
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am also considering a trip south but have not yet been to Chile or Argentina. Where did you go in Chile? I have dealt with t-bars in Europe and they are not my favorite either.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey. I actually went to Northern Chile - El Colorado, Valle Nevado, La Parva and Ski Arpa. The trip was organized by a friend that runs a snowboarding tour group in New York and I'll be going with the group for either Argentina or Chile

We stayed at this small house in El Colorado. The place we stayed was an amazing experience in of itself because of the owner and the hospitality the people gave us.

So the mountains...

El Colorado - At the base of the mountain you can go right for beginner runs that have tbars for getting back up. Or to the left to take 2 consecutive tbars to get to the ski lifts. Yes, you read this correctly. In order for you to get to main part of the mountain you must take two tbars up. Two!!! Eventually I got the hang of this but honestly they need to invest in a ski lift. I remember having a lot of trouble with the second that I ended up hiking 40% of the way to the end because I didn't want to deal with it anymore

Once you get to the lifts area you won't really have to deal with tbars unless you want to hit up expert terrain. The riding in this area was great. It's all above tree line and the trails are wide open. One of the best days of riding on any mountains was experienced here. I remember one of the highlights was after sunset where we rode down in the dark with just the town's lights to guide us.

La Parva - Never made it to this mountain. Why? Well, there is a lot of traffic in the El Colorado area. The group decided that it would be best to traverse from El Colorado using a series of t-bars from El Colorado. I want to say it's something like 45 minutes on tbars. 45 minutes!! lol I almost made it but there was one section where we were being dragged up what was essentially a black diamond. I ended up tripping up because I lost my balance from hitting something and the bar hit me in the groin area. From there I decided that it wasn't worth it and stayed in El Colorado

Valle Nevado - this is the nicer resort. Some great riding here and if you like steep and advanced slopes you'll get that here.

Ski Arpa - About half the group did this. I almost didn't but decided to take the chance. So this was backcountry Cat skiing. We were the first ones to actually be there for the season. The only mode of transportation in the area is the Cat. Well, you can hike too. I was able to get 4 runs because it's pretty tiring but we had 6 rides in. I can not stress this enough - the experience here for us was amazing. We were riding in area that most will never ride. It was just about 15 of us in the area and had powder runs everywhere.

The only issue was that the coverage wasn't as good as should be. Not really surprising since it was the start of the season. Even though there was powder everywhere you still had to be careful of rocks. A lot of us have damaged boards from that trip but it was a small price to pay for the experience

Most of us would want to go back to Chile just so that we could experience this again but never been to Argentina too so not sure.



Here are two videos from a friend of our trip...

Chile riding...

A Slice of Heaven - Chilean Andes - July 2011 - YouTube

Ski Arpa

CHILE 2011- SKI ARPA - YouTube

Let me know if you have any other questions

Last edited by andy_d; 04-22-2012 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Las lenas is beautiful and less crowded but Bariloche has more to-do and more night life. Both locations are sick and life changing. Look into SASS to hook you up in Bariloche. They are not just a camp they will set you up VIP style.

http://www.sassglobaltravel.com/

For a Chile tour check out Steep N Deep!

http://sndtours.com/

Last edited by SnowMotion; 04-23-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been contemplating a Bariloche season for a few years now. Did a lot of research on both Chile and Bariloche.

I have to fully respect the Andy_D's comments as he was there and I have never been!

I did read a lot about the Winds of change and the blasts that some Chilean resorts get... that it can be hit or miss.. and also the travel between season living areas ( Not counting Tourist Hotels ) and actually lifts. Chile sounded like a risk and a bit isolated.

Anyway,... for A Season.. Bariloche is where I've randomly decided to go and am planning on it for 3 months next summer '2013'. the wife isn't amused.

I found a couple small apartments that were a whopping $175/month!! figure I'll splurge, get closer to the resort opposed to the town of Bariloche... and roll in style. On that note... there may be a fancy entrance to the resort/tram through a ritzy shopping mall with escalators... but the main town looked pretty basic for a place with 60,000+ residents. maybe I was looking at dated photos..

The Terrain on the mountain and Catedral looked sick with plenty of off-piste/backcountry style runs to explore.

Anyway... that's my crappy 2cents, from someone who's never been there. Damn Andy_D... you make Chile sound like the 'call'


Can't wait to hear your reports,, whereever you go.

Last edited by boomin33; 04-23-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowMotion View Post
Las lenas is beautiful and less crowded but Bariloche has more to-do and more night life. Both locations are sick and life changing. Look into SASS to hook you up in Bariloche. They are not just a camp they will set you up VIP style.

SASS Global Travel | Ski/Ride/Surf Guides | Summer Ski & Snowboard Camps | Action Sports Outfitters

For a Chile tour check out Steep N Deep!

sndtours.com
Whoa. Looks like Sass will be the way to go maybe next season when I'm up for just backcountry. Thanks for the tips

You don't recommend one over the other? I'd like to say that I would want more night life but I rarely end up doing much after a full day of riding. Always too tired but the Argentinian women may encourage to go out at night

Last edited by andy_d; 04-23-2012 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by boomin33 View Post
I've been contemplating a Bariloche season for a few years now. Did a lot of research on both Chile and Bariloche.

I have to fully respect the Andy_D's comments as he was there and I have never been!

I did read a lot about the Winds of change and the blasts that some Chilean resorts get... that it can be hit or miss.. and also the travel between season living areas ( Not counting Tourist Hotels ) and actually lifts. Chile sounded like a risk and a bit isolated.

Anyway,... for A Season.. Bariloche is where I've randomly decided to go and am planning on it for 3 months next summer '2013'. the wife isn't amused.

I found a couple small apartments that were a whopping $175/month!! figure I'll splurge, get closer to the resort opposed to the town of Bariloche... and roll in style. On that note... there may be a fancy entrance to the resort/tram through a ritzy shopping mall with escalators... but the main town looked pretty basic for a place with 60,000+ residents. maybe I was looking at dated photos..

The Terrain on the mountain and Catedral looked sick with plenty of off-piste/backcountry style runs to explore.

Anyway... that's my crappy 2cents, from someone who's never been there. Damn Andy_D... you make Chile sound like the 'call'


Can't wait to hear your reports,, whereever you go.
Yeah, hard for me to say what is better than the other since I've only been to Chile. I think we had an overall good experience not considering the tbars. Honestly, we got extremely lucky since we went at the start of their season. If we didn't get the snowfall we got, we would have been mostly riding on barely any cover.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowMotion View Post
Las lenas is beautiful and less crowded but Bariloche has more to-do and more night life. Both locations are sick and life changing. Look into SASS to hook you up in Bariloche. They are not just a camp they will set you up VIP style.

SASS Global Travel | Ski/Ride/Surf Guides | Summer Ski & Snowboard Camps | Action Sports Outfitters

For a Chile tour check out Steep N Deep!

sndtours.com
Hey so I've been looking into Sass some more. Is it actual training like say pro ride or just guides? I spoke to someone over at Sass and it doesn't sound like you get a lot of training. Some direction but not like signing up for a training at a mountain
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_d View Post

Ski Arpa - About half the group did this. I almost didn't but decided to take the chance. So this was backcountry Cat skiing. We were the first ones to actually be there for the season. The only mode of transportation in the area is the Cat. Well, you can hike too. I was able to get 4 runs because it's pretty tiring but we had 6 rides in. I can not stress this enough - the experience here for us was amazing. We were riding in area that most will never ride. It was just about 15 of us in the area and had powder runs everywhere.

Ski Arpa

CHILE 2011- SKI ARPA - YouTube

Let me know if you have any other questions
Holy $HIIIZNIT Bro - just watched the Ski Arpa vid. SICK MAN! Thanks for the commentary - I def want to go this summer.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi,

I'm from Argentina and new to the Forums. I might be able to help you out on this.

Catedral


Located in the province of Rio Negro on the Andes Mountains (obviously), next to the city of Bariloche, it is South America's largest resort.

Website: Catedral Alta Patagonia - Invierno 2011 - Cerro Catedral (in English) - Pass prices have not been updated yet.

Skiing area:
It has many tracks. Greens/Blues on the bottom and mid section. Rest is mostly blues and reds with a couple of blacks, which are not really ideal for snowboarding as they have many moguls. One thing though is that you won't find a track that will take you from top to bottom. Tracks are connected via "cat tracks" that tend to be a bit complicated for the starting snowboarder, mostly because of the shallow space and flat sections.

The the North and South end of the mountain give you can access the backcountry area. The north side is pretty decent, however, most skiers and snowboarders hike to the southside (La Laguna) wich is a lot better. Video here: fuera de pista "la laguna" cerro catedral bariloche - YouTube (not mine).

Obviously, there is un-groomed snow between tracks if hiking is not your thing and still want to get some powder. There are also some spots where you can ride through trees. (mid to bottom section)

Lately, Bariloche has not been getting a lot of snow. It has all been down to a matter of luck. It is very hard to find the whole mountain covered in snow and be able to ride from top to bottom. Most of the times, eventually you will have to take a chair to get to the bottom, unless you wanna ride dirt and rock. I believe this is because of the altitude of the resort. Anyways, the mountain is very big and the mid and top sections should be more than enough for you to have fun.

Every year, at the end of august, beggining of september we have the Storm of Santa Rosa which delivers a massive amount of snow.

Park:
There is a park with 3 booters, boxes, rails, small ramps for you to have fun jumping and jibbing. There is a RUMOR, that they're building a halfpipe. If you're good enough, you can put your name down for the freestyle competitions that are held and make a couple of bucks while you're at it.

Charlifts:
There is good number of lifts, however most of them are outdated. They are pretty slow meaning long and sloppy lines. Most people rent equipment and you'll find them going over your board. From the bottom to mid-section of the northside, there is a sixman lift that goes at a nice speed. On the southside, there is a 4 man gondola. The rest are either 2 or 4 man lifts and T-Bars.

People:
As said before, it is the largest resort in South America and it gets VERY crowded. Avoid July. It is high season and winter vacation in school. Meaning even more people. Lately, we have been receiving thousands of Brazilians, turning Bariloche into Braziloche. Most of them are seeing snow for the 1st time and will only stay at the base.

Bariloche has been for over 50 years a traditional destination where high school seniors from all over the country take their graduation trip. You'll see them dressed all alike chilling in the mountain, maybe taking a 30min class of skiing. Reality is that they have a bunch of day activities to justify the trip to their parents. The true nature of the trip is getting hammered at night. But that means even more people at the base and in town.

Locals from Bariloche, and Argentineans in general, are very friendly and easy going. You'll find that they'll gladly try to help you, even if they can't speak your language, although you will definately find many people that can speak English in case you need directions or anything.

The Town & nightlife:
Bariloche is a pretty big town, I'm not sure how many people live there, but the downtown area is very nice. There are multiple restaurants and bars to hangout which is where most of the action happens. They are open until 6am. Bariloche gets a 8/10 in nightlife in my scale. There are a couple of big clubs, but they are restricted to high school seniors on their graduation trip only.

Where to stay:
You can either stay in Bariloche, 5km from the resort, or you can stay at the base. Downside of staying that the base is that it is pricier and there is no nightlife, but you're only a hundred yards away from the lifts. In the town of Bariloche you have all sorts of hotels and hostels depending on your budget. There are buses that will take you to the mountain, however most hotels and hostels offer a shuttle service to and from the mountain.

Full listing of hotels, hostels, cabins, etc: Lodging in Patagonia Argentina - Bariloche: hotels, cabins, hostels, bungalows, aparts (in English)

How to get there:
You will have to fly to Buenos Aires 1st, from there you can either fly to Bariloche's Airport or get a bus ticket (20hr ride approx)

Air ticket from Buenos Aires to Bariloche is about 1800 hundred pesos. While the bus ticket ranges from 800 to 1100 pesos. As of now, 4.41 pesos = 1 dollar

To Summarize:

Pros:
Biggest Resort in South America
Great Backcountry
Friendly People
Awesome nightlife
Variety of places to stay
The sights from the mountain are breathtaking.

Cons:
Crowded - Avoid July!
A bit expensive, depending on your budget
Snow quality and quantity depends on luck
Cat walks

-----

Hope this helps. I will try to add more useful links later as I have to go now. I will write a similar for Las Leņas.

Any questions that you have, post them and I will try to respond the best I can.

Last edited by FromTheAndes; 05-04-2012 at 03:53 PM.
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