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Skiing Las Leñas

Listed under Skiing in Cuyo, Argentina.

Photo of Skiing Las Leñas
Photo by flickr user Andre Charland
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For ski purists, this remote and intriguing ski area three hours south of Mendoza in the remote Las Leñas Valley at the southern end of the Alto Cordillera, opposite the Chilean City of Curicó, is arguably the Holy Grail of the Southern Hemisphere. But it all depends on one absolutely crucial lift: Marte, or Mars. This long, steep, windswept chair reaches a high plateau from which chutes of all shapes and sizes fall away in many directions. Some bring you back to the base area, others take you miles into the wilderness.

El Collar and Juno Bowl are major attractions. Sin Nombre (No Name) and Eduardo's Couloir are spoken of in hushed tones. With skiing as high as 3,430 metres (11,253 feet), the resort has a healthy vertical drop of 1230 metres (4,035 feet). But avalanche danger often keeps much of the mountain closed – including the crucial Marte lift.

Built almost entirely from a brick-red, wood look-alike material, the main resort buildings were constructed in 1983 with a French team acting as consultants. The principal hotels and lifts (Marte, Apolo, Jupiter, Neptuno, Venus, Urano and Mercurio) are named after heavenly bodies. Piscis, with a European-style casino and indoor-outdoor pool, is the best hotel in town.

Chris Lizza, a professional ski patroller who spent a month in Las Leñas working with the pisteros, says: "The Marte chair accesses more expert terrain than any other lift on this planet. No skier could ever find - let alone ski - all the possibilities. It defines extreme."

Written by  Arnie Wilson.

Other expert and press reviews

“Las Leñas Ski Resort”

For the best extreme skiing in South America head to the Las Leñas ski resort in Argentina. It was opened nearly twenty – five years ago and is still attracting adrenaline junkies from around the world thanks to its high slopes and plentiful off-piste o… Read more...

Written by  alexis_b.

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Las Lenas Ski

Las Leñas ski resort, located in the Mendoza province of Argentina, has rightfully earned its reputation as unquestionably the best ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 100 couloirs and epic off-piste along with countless backcountry gems make it the top “off-season” ski destination for extreme powder skiing or snowboarding.

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