In the 1930s, pioneer skiers from the region discovered this attractive natural formation and began to visit the mountain and discover the potential. The resort was formed in the early 1950’s followed by a road that joined Esquel and La Hoya a few years later.
With close to 25 feet of snow annually and South-facing slopes, La Hoya, Argentina enjoys a long season from June to October and relatively uncrowded slopes.
From 9 A.M to 5 P.M., Esquel’s ski resort offers trails for all abilities but its most outstanding feature is the unbeatable off-piste skiing and riding, including short backcountry hikes to some of the better ski descents in Patagonia.
Here are some insider tips and ideas from our ski guides and locals that know the terrain and resorts like no other.
Important: Many of the areas described involve riding in non controlled avalanche terrain. Know your stuff, carry the right equipment and be smart. If you have any doubts, or even if you don’t, come join us on a PowderQuest guided tour. We will take you to the best skiing available with nothing for you to do but to enjoy what we have spent the last 2 decades figuring out!
Mo Rasiah: Explore Las Agujas steeps to get the heart racing and Cerro Carbon for mini Las Lenas style couloirs running right back to the chairlift. For such a small resort it sure packs a punch!
Terrain – freestyle
La Hoya features a good terrain park, know as the “FlyPark” for intermediate to advanced freestylers looking to spend some jib and air time in Patagonia. FlyPark is divided into three sections according to ability level.
Terrain – experts
La Hoya skiing and snowboarding off piste options are hard to beat and advanced riders will find the chutes and bowls, with dry powder after a storm. Check out this video to see just what we are talking about. If you are willing to do some hiking, a huge cirque hosts descents similar to the mighty Las Lenas resort and bring you right back into the base of the ski area.
Terrain – Intermediates
Intermediate skiers and riders will find a good trail system and a mix of on and off-piste terrain. The resort claims 22 kilometers of ski trails.
Beginners and non-skiers
It’s a long way to travel to ski Esquel, but once you are there, the small ski school does offer classes and ski rentals for beginners. However we suggest Chapelco or Cerro Catedral for a better experience.
For non skiers don’t miss the snowshoe tours at the resort base, or take a trip to the beautiful Alerces National Park, nearby.
Value and ticket prices
The prices here are much lower than the flashier resorts up north, and the old mining town is notably different to the tourist-focused towns like Bariloche and San Martin de Los Andes. There are plenty of options for budget to higher end accommodations in a town that feels more like a real frontier town than a tourist ski resort.
Ski Resort Location: Esquel in the Chubut Region of Patagonia, Argentina
Elevation: 1,350m (4,430 ft) to 1,850m (6,070 ft)
Ski Resort Vertical Drop:: 500m (1,640 ft)
Ski Resort Inbound Terrain: 24 Runs
10% Beginner, 30% Intermediate, 40% Advanced, 20% Expert
Ski Lifts: 10 chair and surface lifts
Hotels and Lodging: Numerous options in downtown Esquel.
Off-Piste and Backcountry Access: Excellent
Annual Snowfall: 360 inches (900 cms)
Weather: This is Patagonia! The community claim 4 seasons/day. Come prepared.
Ski Season: June to October
Ski and Snowboard Park: Yes
Night Life: The city has a decent mix of bars, discos and a casino