7 Days / From $3,495 / Call: 1-888-565-7158
Group size: 8 maximum. Single travelers welcome!
August 6-12 (this date has a different itinerary and will begin in Bariloche)
*Custom dates available from August 20-late September for groups of 4 or more. Contact us to get started
Reserve This Trip
A stunning 6 night, 7 day fully guided and hosted off-piste adventure exploring the best resorts and out of bounds terrain of Northern Patagonia’s Lake District.
We start in Chapelco near the beautiful mountain village of San Martin de Los Andes. Ranked Argentina’s Best Ski Resort in 2015 by the World Ski Awards, Chapelco offers a great mix of steep open bowls, easy backcountry access, fun tree skiing and some of the best manicured groomed runs in the Andes should you decide to stay in bounds.
Our next stop takes us deeper south into Patagonia to the city of Bariloche. A must visit on everyone’s travel list, Bariloche offers us access to nearby destinations with outstanding terrain. Cerro Catedral and Cerro Bayo. Bariloche is also home to some of the best restaurants and nightlife this side of the Andes. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure with your PowderQuest guides!
- 7 day-guided out of bounds snow tour in Patagonia, Argentina
- No more than 8 guests per trip
- 2 certified guides on every trip. Lead ski guides are certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA), the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), or the Argentine Mountain Guide Association (AAGM). Meet our guides
- All trip logistics are handled once you arrive
- Beautiful Patagonia culture and landscapes
- Ride the best Argentina ski resorts and off-piste terrain
- Travel through the 7 Lakes of Patagonia, some of the most mind blowing scenery in the Americas
- Delicious dinners and local red wine in our favorite Patagonian restaurants
- Great nightlife, shopping and exploring 2 of Patagonia’s coolest ski towns
Starts: San Martin de Los Andes (airport code CPC)
Ends: San Carlos De Bariloche (airport code BRC)
Day 1: Arrive to San Martin de Los Andes (CPC) airport (2 hr, 20 min flight from Buenos Aires) for a group pick up at 4:30 PM. (There are other alternatives to arrive, contact us for details) Meet your guides and trip hosts, Check into our hotel and feel free to explore the town before our evening trip introduction in front of the fireplace accompanied by delicious wine and appetizers. Welcome dinner in one of our favorite restaurants in San Martin.
Day 2 and 3: Everyday starts with breakfast at our hotel to fuel up for the day ahead. 2 full days exploring Chapelco’s on and off piste with a focus on finding the best snow on the mountain. The resort has some great tree skiing, open bowls, and access to some of the best backcountry terrain around. Once we return to our cozy hotel, you will want to check out the beach and trails around the Lacar Lake or wander town filled with cafe’s, chocolate shops, and great shopping for gifts to bring home. Dinner with the guides and group on the town.
Day 4: Breakfast at our hotel before our drive through the stunning 7 Lakes road passing waterfalls, glacier cut lakes, old growth forest and snow capped peaks. We spend the day exploring the off-piste terrain of Cerro Bayo resort. This resort is a hidden gem near the border of Chile offering more tree skiing and some epic backcountry terrain just a short hike beyond the ski area. Our evening arrival to the city of Bariloche along the Nahuel Huapi Lake shows off the bustling town filled with restaurants, bars, and tourists from around the world. Hotel check in followed by a well deserved dinner at one of our guides select local restaurants.
Day 5-6: Breakfast at the hotel followed by a short drive up the mountains to ski Catedral Alta Patagonia and it’s amazing off piste and backcountry terrain. Our team has been skiing here since the late 90’s and know the mountain inside and out. The days end with dinner on the lively town of Bariloche. If you are a night owl, Bariloche is a great place to party exploring the craft brew pubs and local bars. Should you select to stay an extra day for cat skiing at Baguales, we will prepare for tomorrow morning’s adventure. The group will head out for dinner on the town. For those departing tomorrow say adios to your new friends, ski guides and trip hosts.
Day 7: Departure day. Breakfast at the hotel. We include a group transfer at 11:00 AM to Bariloche Airport to meet your flight out to Buenos Aires. Please schedule your return flight to Buenos Aires anytime after 12:00. If you decide to not take the 11:00 AM shuttle, your transfer to the airport will be an additional cost payable to the driver or taxi. This can be arranged via the friendly hotel staff.
Enjoy your vacation and concentrate on the adventure and brilliant culture. We take care of the rest!
- Full time bilingual ski guides/hosts
- Ski lift tickets
- Avalanche safety introduction
- Off-Piste and backcountry guiding
- Comfortable lodging, private bath
- Delicious breakfasts and hosted dinners
- Red wine, mineral water at dinner
- Private transportation
- Adventure trips, massage, spas, etc. replacing lift tickets on weather days
You are responsible for your inbound and outbound international flights (our agents can assist you), required travel insurance and lunches.
- Backpack (28-35 liter) with external harness straps for carrying skis or board
- *Digital avalanche transceiver
- *Avalanche snow shovel
- *Avalanche probe 240 cm or longer
- Collapsible trekking poles for snowboarders (Black Diamond suggested)
*Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe are available to rent. $130 for the kit or $50 per item.
We do not have backpacks or trekking poles for rent.
We suggest Dakine Heli Pro II 28 Liters with deployable helmet carry if you are looking to buy a new pack.
Booking This Trip
$3,495 per person, based on double occupancy, private bath. Single travelers will be placed with a roommate or you may request a single room upgrade for $895.
Payment: A 30% deposit is required at time of reservation. Final payments are due 60 days before trip departure. We accept most major credit cards, PayPal, E-Checks (ACH), and bank wires.
Discounts: Save $50 on trips paid via domestic bank wire or E-Checks (ACH). Discount is applied to your final payment. Both the deposit and final payment must be paid via wire or E-Check to receive the discount.
- Single travelers as well as small groups of 2 or more guests are welcome!
- If we have less than 5 guests sign up, the trip will have one guide. We require a minimum of 4 total guest to operate the trip.
- When booking your trip you need to agree to our Terms and Conditions and Trip Release Waiver. You will need to sign the Release Waiver at the start of the trip with your guides.
Arriving and Departing- Airport Details
You need to fly into and out of Bariloche, Argentina (airport code BRC), via Buenos Aires. See this trips itinerary in the Overview tab for details on when to schedule your arrival and departure. We have travel agents we can recommend to help you with your flight reservations. Contact us for their info.
Meeting The Guides
Your guides will meet you at the Bariloche airport the first day of the tour. An official meeting time and place will be emailed to you a few weeks before the tour. On the last day of the tour, we include a group shuttle to the airport to catch your return to Buenos Aires.
Extending Your Stay
Extending your stay is a great way to get in a few more powder days, check out the urban culture of Buenos Aires, visit a classic vineyard, and more. See the Extensions Tab for suggestions.
Off Piste Focus Tours Packing List
An important note: Because of the trip itinerary and moving around to different ski areas and towns, we are unable to accommodate ski or snowboard rentals. Please arrive with your own skis or board, tuned and ready to go! If you need suggestions on what skis to bring please read here
- Skis or snowboard (recently tuned!) We suggest an “all mountain” type ski with a waist width of 85 to 110 mm
- Extra binding screws and straps are a good idea for snowboarders
- Boots (good idea to carry on plane if you can)
- 25-35 Liter backpack with suitable external harness straps to carry your skis or board. The Dakine Heli Pro II is a great option
- Hydration system or water bottle to fit in your backpack (we prefer water bottles)
- Collapsible ski poles for snowboarders
- Snowboard leash to attach your board to your leg, required at several ski areas here
- Avalanche Transceiver, Shovel and Probe (Rentals available)
- Helmet (mandatory if skiing in Las Lenas) we recommend Smith Helmets
- Portable tool kit for loose binding parts and simple repairs
- Small headlamp
- Padded ski or board bag (Da Kine makes great travel bags with wheels for skis or snowboards, leaving enough room for the rest of your gear.)
- Polypropylene long underwear and wool blend socks
- Fleece jacket or vest
- Warm stocking hat (Beanie or Toque)
- Neck gaiter/ face mask
- Wind/waterproof shell with hood (Goretex is recommended)
- Snow pants (Goretex is recommended)
- Ski gloves or mitts (Da Kine)
- Thin windblocker type glove for hiking and touring
- Sunglasses and ski goggles (Smith is our favorite)
- Sun block (AT LEAST 35 SPF) and lip balm
Personal first aid kit to include at least the following:
- ibuprofin or similar for headaches, aches, etc
- Moleskin and band-aids
- Light weight toilet articles
- Prescription medicine
- Personal items for women
- Large plastic garbage bag for wet clothes
- Ear plugs for light sleepers
AND OF COURSE…
- Airline tickets
- Credit card, ATM card, and credit card cancellation phone number
- Starting cash in U.S. dollars
- Small travel clock alarm for those early powder days!
- Bathing suit for hot springs, spas and pools
- Rain jacket, or use your snow jacket/shell
- Portable music and headphones
- Converter and Plug adapters
- Energy Bars
Passports, Visas, Entry Fees
PowderQuest recommends bringing a rubber band to keep all your documents secure in your passport. It is also a good idea to bring a photocopy and have a backup of your passport to keep separate form the original.
A passport, valid for the length of your stay is required for most countries.
As of March 24, 2016 USA passport holders no longer have to pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina. read more.
As of July 1, 2017 the reciprocity fee for Australia passport holders has been waived.
Upon arrival in Argentina, this receipt must be presented to immigration officers where it will be scanned to verify the data and authorize entry to Argentina.
If you traveling with a passport from another country, it is a good idea to check online with the Argentine Embassy for updated requirements.
Required Travel Insurance
Personal travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation coverage is mandatory to travel with PowderQuest. Click for details and to book online
What to Expect When Traveling in South America and with PowderQuest
For most of us who are from North America or Europe, we are used to and expect that things run smoothly. We are not only on time but usually at least 5 minutes early. With the exception of trains, buses and most flights, Chilean and Argentine services are not known for their punctuality.
We provide the following information in good faith so you will have a clear picture of what to expect before you arrive.
Meals and Restaurants
A true highlight to the trip! All meals, with the exception of some lunches are included with your tour. Our guides selection of wine and mineral water is included with dinners on most tours. This will generally consist of 2 glasses of wine and a bottle of water. Should you want to drink more, including beer and mixed drinks, this will be an additional cost.
In addition to the delicious food included with our stay at many of the resorts, PowderQuest guides have selected great restaurants serving everything from local favorites to international. Many guests say they have eaten the best meals of their lives with us!
The norm in South America is lunch around 2pm, a smaller tea and cakes snack around 6pm and then a late dinner. We will usually be having our dinners between 8pm-9pm as most restaurants don’t open before 8.
Extra costs will include lunches not included with your trip, additional drinks and activities outside our described tour itinerary. You are responsible for any airline/airport taxes and charges due to excess, oversize or overweight baggage, including on flights that are included with the cost of the tour.
On the days we cannot get on the mountain (Rain, wind, poor visibility, etc.), PowderQuest will arrange trips such as whitewater rafting, hot springs, snowshoe trips etc, at no extra cost to our guest.
Chile and Argentina are two of the most modern countries in Latin America. With quality foods, no yellow fever or malaria, and an abundance of well-stocked pharmacies (including personal items for women), the only discomforts travelers occasionally have, are upset stomachs and a temporary bowel disorder. This is common with travels anywhere in the world, and can be avoided by drinking bottled water, avoiding side salads, and uncooked foods.
With active tours including full days in the snow and sun, it is important to stay hydrated. Backpacks are great ways to carry your essentials. Da Kine makes great packs. Keeping updated on vaccinations, especially tetanus, is always a good idea. There are no health requirements for entering Chile or Argentina.
Sunburn is always a concern in the mountains especially with the snow reflection and higher elevation. Sunglasses, goggles like Smith Optics, and quality sun block with SPF factor 35 and higher are a must in the Andes.
Frostbite can also be a factor in the Andes. Staying warmly dressed, well hydrated, and regulating body temperature by using layers and ventilation in the outer layers are good ways to prevent the skin from freezing.
Ski Resort Infrastructure
Overall expect later starts than you are used to at home. The 7:00 tram line up simply does not exist in the Andes. Most ski resorts open by 9:00 am but full mountain operations can be delayed until mid-morning for no apparent reason. When there is fresh snow or a current storm, these delays can be even longer. However, due to longer natural light, you can also ski later into the afternoon in South America. Some resorts do not stop running lifts until as late at 5:30 pm.
The ski resorts in the Andes vary from modern with millions of dollars in infrastructure to rustic areas with little more than a small cafeteria and a few tow-lifts. In many ways, we find this positive. This is not written to discourage you from visiting this beautiful part of the world, however, if you are accustomed to North American ski resort amenities, you will find the infrastructure of some resorts we visit more rustic, especially the speed and layout of the ski lifts. South America simply runs on a different pace.
The good news is, we find it all evens out. Some lifts may be slower, however 45 minute lift lines are virtually non-existent in the Andes. In addition, you do not have thousands of skiers fighting for those untracked powder runs. If you come down with an open mind you will find this part of the world fascinating and quite often comfortably relaxing!
Snowboarders should expect to encounter long traverses to access some of the better terrain at several ski resorts.
Weather forecasts are available and our guides are competent in understanding weather maps and local forecasts. However weather is not an exact science and the info available is not like in North America and Europe. Sometimes just like anywhere, forecasts are completely inaccurate.
Winters in Chile and Argentina can throw anything at us from warm and sunny “spring-like” days to bitter cold, blizzard like conditions. Fog can be common at lower elevations, while bluebird skies welcome us once reaching the snow.
Rain is common at low elevations including many of the towns we will be visiting. The resorts generally receive deep snow from Pacific storms and can be accompanied with winds. Preparation for all types of weather and ski conditions is recommended.
There may be days that there is so much wind or snow that lifts close down or simply never open. When the visibility is poor due to a storm or low clouds it is very difficult to see and for safety reasons we may choose not to go out.
Although we do not refund money for unused lift tickets, we do cover the expenses of alternate activities. We have many fun optional activities tucked up our sleeves for when these glitches in scheduling occur. Not a good day for riding in the mountains? How about a day of surfing in the Pacific Ocean, or a relaxing massage, or perhaps exploring Patagonia on horseback?
Sometimes road conditions are poor due to rain, snow, mud etc. Heavy snow and high winds can quickly stack up snow on the roads we travel. Maintenance can be slow so there may be times when you find yourself delayed on leaving our hotel in the morning, stopping to put on chains, or outside pushing the transfer through a tricky spot on the route. Some ski areas we visit have dirt roads. Dusty when it is dry and snowy and muddy after a storm. 4×4 is often needed on the roads to our cat skiing destinations.
Ski Patrol in South America is not always up to international standards. This goes not only for hasty assistance on an injury, but also snow safety. One of the reasons PowderQuest works with certified guides recognized by international guide associations. See our Safety Document for more details.
Groomed runs are not what you find in Aspen or Vail, and mountain hazards and boundaries are not marked as vigorously as you find at home.
Off Mountain Safety
As our guest, your safety is a priority to PowderQuest both on and off the mountain. Security in Chile and Argentina, even in the larger cities is quite safe. Common sense should be used, especially in busy city areas where pick pocketing can occur.
Cell phone coverage and general internet access are surprisingly good. Before your trip you will receive a list of phone numbers of our accommodations and guides where you may be reached in case of emergency. We have done our best to secure accommodations on most tours in areas where there is internet access available but few locations it is either unavailable or slow at best. Take this in stride and revel in the luxury of being disconnected for awhile!
Spanish is the official language of Chile and Argentina. Dialect between the two cultures is quite different. Chilean Spanish tends to be more difficult to understand as they cut their ‘s’, and slang is used in all age groups. Chileans have adopted many words from the English language, and are used in everyday conversation.
Argentine Spanish has greater influence from Spain, even a bit of Italian, and you can pick it out in the accent.
We hope you will want to get to know the locals of both countries. A few Spanish lessons and a phrase book will get you further than you think. Both cultures are patient and are very excited that you want to practice their language. Don’t be surprised if they want to practice their English with you.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The official currency of Chile and Argentina is the peso (Chilean peso and Argentine peso). Both currency value on the dollar fluctuates. For daily updates, click here.
Use of a credit card and ATM’s are your best bet for good exchange rates during your stay. In Argentina some U.S. dollar cash can go a long way if you are willing to exchange on the black market, easily found in most towns. In addition many shops will accept dollars at a higher rate than the official exchange rate.
Although travelers checks are accepted in some areas, the exchange rate is poor, and can often send you running around town looking for places to accept them.
Time throughout the winter months in Chile is the same as EST (New York City). Argentina is one hour ahead.
Measures and Voltage
The metric system is used in Chile and Argentina. For power, 220 volts AC, 50 cycles. Be sure to buy a plug adapter & converter if you plan on bringing electronic equipment. Quality batteries are easy to find, but less expensive if you bring them from home.
Laundry service is available in just about every town and resort we visit, and can generally be dropped off and picked up within the same day.
PowderQuest covers the gratuities at dinners. 5-10% is a normal gratuity in bars restaurants and pubs. Tipping your hotel staff, driver and ski guides is encouraged if they have provided you with excellent service. Your guides will be able to help suggest amounts to leave for your driver and hotel staff. For the guides, 5-10% of the cost of your tour is the industry norm.
We encourage you to embrace your trip to South America with all it has to offer, and if that means that things are not right on schedule, let that be part of the adventure! For more info have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.
PowderQuest has hand selected a mix of comfortable, small to medium size bed and breakfasts and inns in Patagonia, Argentina. Most are family run with cozy beds, private bathrooms, and include breakfast. All of our accommodations have free WIFI internet and relaxing social areas where you can get to know the group and enjoy a glass of Malbec wine before heading off to dinner at one of our favorite nearby Patagonian restaurants.
If you have some extra time before or after your guided trip with PowderQuest, come wander the colorful neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, sample the local wines, get in some more powder days, or venture off to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world in the rainforest bordering Argentina and Brazil. Argentina has a lot to offer.
Below are some of our staff’s top picks.
Often ranked as one of the top destinations of all South America, Buenos Aires should not be missed. We offer a wide range of comfortable hotels, transfers, unique city tours, tango lessons, world-class shopping, and more. Add This to My Trip
Why not spend some extra days in the mountains lapping up more powder! We’ll set up your lodging, transportation to the ski hill, lift tickets and more.
Add This to My Trip
With a height of close to 270 feet and close to 2 miles wide, Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil is truly breathtaking. Ranked as one of the World’s most spectacular waterfalls by Travel and Leisure.
Add This to My Trip
Mendoza, Argentina produces outstanding wine, including the countries top Malbecs. Stroll the vineyards, sample the award winning wine, and take in the vistas of surrounding Andes Mountains.
Add This to My Trip