Finding out how to ski in Bariloche was a bit complicated, and took multiple visits to Bariloche tourist information and help from locals. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to successfully ski/snowboard in Bariloche. This blog includes information about buses and other transport, hiring equipment and snow clothes, skiing lessons and more.
Do note, Argentina has a very turbulent economy. Prices in this blog were correct as of August 2019, but are unlikely to be up to date due to high inflation in Argentina. For normal Argentinians, inflation has risen from 22% to 48% since December 2015. Speak to your hostel or tourist information about the current price of buses, the ski resort and such. Also, if you have any updates for this blog, do let me know!
Best Time Of Year For Skiing In Bariloche, Argentina
If you want to ski in Bariloche, you need to make sure you are there at the right time of year! The ski season in Argentina runs from mid June to October. We were in Bariloche in August during a national holiday and it was jam packed. So perhaps arrange your trip to Bariloche avoiding public holidays or weekends.
Winter in Argentina isn’t all about skiing or snowboarding, you can do some stunning treks in other parts of Patagonia such as in El Chalten.
Why Ski In Bariloche?
There are a number of places to ski in Bariloche, ski slopes include Nubes and Centro de Ski Nórdico. However Cerro Catedral ski resort is one of the biggest and most impressive in South America. On a clear day the views are immense from the mountain top. There is a wide selection of routes you can choose from. I enjoyed zooming down the long ski runs and taking in all of the beautiful views.
In Some Ways, Not Great
Don’t expect a modern ski service. Cerro Catedral is expensive, but the queues are ridiculous as all the ski lifts are old fashioned and slow. We visited in high season (August) and waited in queues for much of the day. It took me over 2 hours (including queues) to just get up the mountain.
My partner James, really struggled on the beginner slope. Lifts got extremely busy and he spent around 20 minutes actually skiing throughout the whole day. Not to mention the buses to Cerro Catedral were infrequent (hourly) and absolutely jam packed.
Further, Cerro Catedral offered limited facilities considering the price you pay to ski there. We couldn’t find any toilets and I almost peed myself, but they had a Coca Cola stand of course. It was a tad capitalism gone wrong…
Cost Of Skiing At Cerro Catedral
Agencies cost a lot so it’s better and cheaper to do it independently. We did it independently and still paid £80 (around $103.49 USD) each for 1 day skiing. This included the ski pass, lessons, rental gear and the bus. We didn’t buy lunch at Cerro Catedral and just brought our own sandwiches to try and keep costs down.
How To Get To Cerro Catedral Ski Resort: Transport
Option 1: Taxi to Cerro Catedral
As of August 2019, Taxis are 1,000 pesos / £20 (around $26 USD) each way.
Option 2: Buses from Bariloche to Cerro Catedral
There’s a bus to Catedral. The bus timetable we were given said there was only one bus an hour from town at quarter past the hour. Two buses went from the bus stop we were waiting at, at the same time. However, in high season (August) queues built up 30 minutes before the bus left and the buses were RAMMED.
To make this journey, you will need a topped up SUBE card. The journey cost 60 pesos (as of August 2019) per person each way.
To deal with the rammed bus situation, it might be worth getting a taxi to the main Bariloche bus terminal where it starts and they leave on the hour. We heard of people missing buses in town (centro) as they couldn’t fit any more people on the bus.
It takes 45 – 60 mins to get from Bariloche to Catedral. You’ll want to head there early as the slopes get packed by late morning / early afternoon.
Here are the bus times to get from Bariloche to Catedral. Do check in your hostel or in the tourist information though, as they are prone to change. We caught a bus back from Cerro Catedral at around 5:30pm.
Top Argentina Travel Tip:
Pick up a SUBE bus card in Buenos Aires, as they can be hard to get hold of in other parts of Argentina, particularly Ushuaia!
Getting Ski Lessons in Cerro Catedral
If you are a beginner, you might want to try out ski lessons. Affordable group lessons tend to be only 2 hours a day, which is not really enough. Private lessons are pricey (around 4,900 pesos for 1 person).
The best priced and reviewed ski lessons we found were Escuela Mountain, which is 2,300 pesos or 20% discount with cash.
The lessons includes skis, poles, helmet and boots. The equipment wasn’t amazing (my skis kept popping off) and as I said above, the lesson was too short (only 2 hours) to get anything out of. But the major plus was you can keep the equipment until 5pm. At Escuela Mountain lessons start at 10:30am.
Ski Passes For Cerro Catedral
The lessons above do not include a ski pass. Prices for ski passes change depending on the season. If you are there in mid-season, you can take 400 pesos off the price.
For the easy/beginners slopes in high season it’s 1,950 pesos each as of August 2019. For all the slopes, it’s 2,650 pesos. You also pay a 200 peso refundable deposit for the pass. Make sure you get your deposit back around 5pm before the ticket desks close!
Renting Snow Clothes In Bariloche
You’ll need a ski jacket and trousers (pants) to avoid getting cold on the slopes.
The most affordable and decent place to rent snow clothes we found is on the main street near the tourist information place. Look out for a place called “La Caverna” and loads of locals saying “cambio”.
If you go in the mini-mall thing and head to the back, on the left is the best rental place we found called Millennium Rental.
Trousers, jacket, snow boots and gloves are 450 pesos per person for 1 day. If you want goggles it’s an extra 100 pesos. Go in before 5pm the day before, try it all on and then pick it up at 5pm. You get the clothes up until 8.30pm the next day.
Renting Ski Equipment
If you don’t do lessons you can rent all the ski gear at the Cerro Catedral rather than in town. It’s more expensive then in town but lugging loads of ski equipment on a packed bus is never going to be easy.
There are slight discounts on ski passes and gear when booking multi-days.
Enjoy your day of skiing or snowboarding in Cerro Catedral! As I said above, if you have any updates or extra information for us on this blog, do let me know.
You can check out ski conditions and see if it’s snowed in Cerro Catedral here.
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