UPDATE: Today, Friday the 22nd of July the president of Argentina herself, Cristina Fernández, announced that the airport in Bariloche would open in a few days. She also reinstated that the flights to Esquel on both Lan Argentina and Aerolineas Argentinas would continue. This is good news for skiers looking to hit the slopes in August.
Various hotels and restaurants in San Martin de Los Andes launched promotions to help bring back tourism, which has been deeply affected by the erruption of nearby volcano. This makes skiiing at Cerro Chapelco perhaps the best option in Late July and early August. Today they are reporting 170cms of snow on the summit, 145 at mid mountain and 50 cms at the base.
Unfortunately the mountain did not join in the promotion and drop it’s lift ticket prices. A full days pass for an adult in high season is running 285 pesos (66 dollars). By Argentine standards that’s a lot of money.
Catedral in Bariloche is only reporting 50 cms up top and 3cms at the base. In other words, forget about it!
Las Leñas continues to refuse to put any relevant information on their website. Other sources are reporting 14in at the base, 16in mid mountain, and 20in up top. This isn´t enough for them to open the Marte lift and to be quite honest if the Marte lift isn´t open Las Leñas is just an overpriced intermediate level ski area.
Meanwhile if the volcano does act up again, Lan Argentina airlines is offering special flights between Buenos Aires and Esquel with free bus transport to Bariloche.
Now while the idea of a four hour bus trip may not appeal to you, this bus trip is pretty scenic. And if you have the time Esquel is a great place to check out. It is the home to the Trochita train that Paul Theroux wrote about in his book The Old Patagonian Express (a must read for train buffs). Furthermore there is a ski resort in Esquel which has great off-piste skiing and decent intermediate runs. The name of that resort is La Hoya.
La Hoya is currently reporting 45 cms up top, which means no off piste skiing. But don´t count them out yet. This ski area tends to get dumped on with light fluffy powder and when that happens it is a great place to ski. Check back here often and we willl let you know when that happens.
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