UPDATED ITINERARY FOR 2017!
11 Days / From $5,195 / Call: 1-888-565-7158
Group size: 8 maximum
July 30-August 9
Reserve This Trip
Guided ski and snowboard adventure for advanced and experts in Patagonia, Argentina chasing the legendary trail of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, skiing powder, and exploring endless off piste and backcountry terrain including our favorite cat skiing destination, Baguales Mountain Reserve!
This 10 night/11-day PowderQuest trip, starts close to the Chilean border, in the beautiful ski town of Villa La Angostura, skiing the outstanding inbounds and backcountry touring terrain of Cerro Bayo. Then we head to northern Patagonia, for 3 nights in beautiful San Martin de Los Andes, where we spend two full days exploring the backcountry alpine bowls and tree skiing of Chapelco.
We then head deeper into Patagonia for three nights in the town of Bariloche with huge amounts of off-piste and backcountry touring, and some of the best nightlife and restaurants in South America.
Just when you thought it could not get any better, we finish our tour with 2 full days at Baguales Mountain Reserve including an over night stay in their cozy backcountry four star lodge. A day of cat skiing and a day of backcountry touring in this remote Patagonian Reserve is truly a trip highlight. The tour ends with a final night and celebration dinner in bustling downtown Bariloche.
- 10 night/11 day-guided off piste and backcountry ski and snowboard tour in mystical Patagonia, Argentina
- 8 guests maximum
- 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
- Outstanding Patagonia culture and landscapes
- Ride some of Argentina’s best terrain via lift accessed ski touring
- Cat skiing and touring at the Baguales Mountain Reserve with an overnight at their beautiful lodge
- Visit National Park Nahuel Huapi
- Fantastic dinners and red wine in our favorite Patagonian restaurants
- Great nightlife from quiet cafes to energetic bars, nightclubs, and discotheques
I absolutely had the time of my life on the PowderQuest tour. We skied that exact terrain that I was looking to ski. I always felt safe and confident with the guides choice of lines and terrain while still providing an exciting and challenging experience. I have already recommended your outfit to several of my friends in Colorado who are looking for a high end ski tour. Thank you for working with my schedule and placing me in a group that loved to charge. – Michael Russell, Patagonia Powder Tour guest
Starts and Ends: Bariloche, Argentina (airport code BRC)
Day 1: Fly into Bariloche, Argentina by 4:30 PM to meet your PowderQuest guides, followed by a short drive to the beautiful village of Villa La Angostura where we will check into our hotel for the next two nights and have a quick trip introduction by the open fireplace accompanied by some local Malbec. After getting settled we have a welcome dinner on the town and experience some true Patagonian hospitality.
Day 2-3: Every morning starts with breakfast to fuel your day. We will host a brief avalanche safety review before heading up to ski at Cerro Bayo with some outstanding off piste and lift accessed touring for the next 2 days. We enjoy local dinners on the town of Villa La Angostura. On day 3 after more backcountry, we will head north in our private transportation on a beautiful drive through the 7 Lake District and national park that ends at San Martin De Los Andes. Dinner at our favorite restaurant in San Martin with after dinner options ranging from a local brewery to a lively casino or relaxing in our comfortable hotel. San Martin De Los Andes is a cool ski town and one that sometimes gets overlooked by its big brother Bariloche, but offers a great local scene filled with passionate skiers and riders.
Day 4-5: Two days to explore Chapelco Resort and nearby backcountry with your PowderQuest guides. Terrain can be amazing when the conditions are right, offering up some of the best glades in Patagonia paired with bowl style skiing and riding and more. Fresh turns can frequently be found for days after a storm if you know where to look. Each evening we will enjoy dinners on the town of San Martin.
Day 6: Today we will head south, traveling through the dry Patagonian estepa to the city of Bariloche, home to Patagonia’s largest ski area, Cerro Catedral and Argentina’s premier mountain town. Hotel check in and dinner on the town.
Day 7: Breakfast followed by a full guided ski day at Cerro Catedral and it’s surrounding backcountry, free afternoons to explore the happening town of Bariloche before enjoying true Argentinian style dinners.
Day 8: Fuel up at breakfast before we venture off to one of our guides select backcountry touring zones in the area. We have numerous possibilities to choose from based around the current snow and weather conditions and goals of the group. After a full day in the Patagonia backcountry we return to Bariloche for a well deserved hearty dinner on the town.
Day 9: After breakfast our 1-2 hour journey using 4×4 trucks, snow sleds and snow cats takes us south for a full day of guided adventure cat skiing in the beautiful Baguales private mountain reserve. Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are included with our stay. Tonight we spend the night at the Baguales Lodge sampling local red wine by their large open fire place amidst the jaw dropping surroundings of Patagonian peaks.
Day 10: Another hearty breakfast and full day of unforgettable ski touring and exploring the vast terrain of Baguales. In the afternoon after tea and snacks, we return for our final night in Bariloche for a celebration dinner before saying goodbye to your ski guides and hosts. If you are up for it, head out for a night on the town.
Day 11: Departure day. Breakfast at the hotel. We include a group transfer at 10:00 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 10:00 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. If you want extend your stay in South America check out our suggested add on tab at the top of this page of some great ideas!
Enjoy your vacation and concentrate on the adventure and brilliant culture. We take care of the rest!
- Bilingual, certified ski guides
- Cat skiing
- Avalanche Safety Introduction
- Off piste and Backcountry guiding
- Ski lift tickets
- Comfortable lodging, private bath
- Delicious breakfasts and dinners
- Red wine, mineral water at dinner
- Private transportation
You are responsible for your inbound and outbound flights (our agents can assist you), required travel insurance and lunches.
- Backcountry touring skis or splitboard
- Touring skins, ski/splitboard crampons
- Backpack (28-35 liter) with external harness straps for carrying skis or board
- *Digital avalanche transceiver
- *Avalanche snow shovel
- *Avalanche probe
- Collapsible trekking poles for splitboarders
*Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe are available to rent. $130 for the full kit or $50 per item.
We do not have backpacks or trekking poles for rent. We suggest the 2017 Dakine Heli Pro II 28 Liters with deployable helmet carry if you are looking to purchase a new pack.
If you need to rent touring skis or a splitboard please contact us for details.
Booking This Trip
$5,195 per person, based on double occupancy, private bath. Includes a day a cat skiing. Single travelers will be placed with a roommate or you may request a single room upgrade for $1,700. Please note a single room is not available for our 1 night in Baguales.
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.
- 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.
Lift Assisted Touring Suggested Packing List
- Alpine Touring or Randonee Ski set up (We suggest an “all mountain” type ski with a waist between 85 to 110mm)
- Alpine Touring bindings
- Climbing skins (Adhesive glue type)
- Ski Poles
- Ski crampons (for the melt freeze cycle that happens in the spring if we are into a corn cycle)
- Splitboard with climbing skins and split crampons (for the melt freeze cycle that happens in the spring if we are into a corn cycle)
- Extra binding screws and straps are a good idea
- Collapsible trekking poles ( 3 parts)Black Diamond highly recommended.
- Avalanche Transceiver, shovel and probe (Rentals available)
- Boots (good idea to carry on plane if you can. Renting boots is not fun!)
- 28-35 Liter backpack minimum with suitable external harness straps for carrying your skis or snowboard. Please test before the trip as this is essential!
- Water bottle to fit in your backpack (we prefer water bottles to hydration systems)
- Portable tool kit for loose binding parts
- Headlamp (extra batteries)
- Padded ski or board bag. (Da Kine makes good ones that leave 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.
Important! Entering and Leaving Argentina
USA passport holders no longer have to pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina! read more.
A passport, valid for the length of your stay is required for most countries. Canada and Australia passport holders entering Argentina are required to pay a fee before traveling and must show proof of payment on arrival. This is payable online via the Provincia Pagos website.
- Register and fill out the form with your personal data and credit card information (Visa, American Express or Master Card are accepted). The National Directorate of Immigration in Argentina will receive this information electronically.
- Print the receipt. This receipt will be valid immediately, as soon as payment is made. A copy of the receipt is also automatically sent to your e-mail account. In case you do not find it in the Inbox, please check the Spam as well.
- 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