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Cerro Catedral

Catedral’s Argentina’s best ski resort and the biggest, most developed base station in South America. The views over the Andes and Lake District will make your knees weak – if the prospect of the powder terrain here hasn’t already done the trick…

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Top South American resort • Great base station • Lively Bariloche town

Great for: • Off piste • Non skiers • Summer skiing

Catedral’s Argentina’s best ski resort and the biggest, most developed base station in South America. The views over the Andes and Lake District will make your knees weak – if the prospect of the powder terrain here hasn’t already done the trick…

Cerro Catedral Resort

In southernmost South America’s Patagonia region, Cerro Catedral (full name ‘Cerro Catedral Alta Patagonia’, sometimes just ‘Catedral’) is one of the biggest, best ski resorts in the continent.

The name means ‘Mount Cathedral’ in Spanish – after the Gothic spire-like peaks that spike into the sky here. From their summit stations, the views are incredible: this is Argentina’s Lake District and besides the craggy mountains of the Andes, the spectacular Nahuel Huapi lake has filled many a memory card.

The beating heart of the region is the adventure city of San Carlos di Bariloche, which is 20km away from the resort. It’s a scenic and buzzing hub of restaurants, bars and activity companies, but unlike some ski resorts in this neck of the woods, it’s not the only place you can base yourself in…

Cerro Catedral is unique in South America for having a proper mountain base area with a choice of bars, pubs, restaurants, shops, hotels and ski schools – most gathered around Paseo Plaza Amancay by the cable car base station. There’s also a shopping centre - Las Terrazas - and a medical centre. The first hotel here was built in 1944, and these days there are enough to sleep 7000 visitors.

Whether you choose to be based in the livelier, often cheaper city centre or opt to be closer to the slopes in the resort area, there are bus links between the two to make exploring easy.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Patagonia, Argentina

Established: 1940

Open: June - October

Downhill: 120km

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
San Carlos de Bariloche Airport (BRC)43km, 1 hour
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 30 runs

  • 22 runs

  • 5 runs

Top Altitude:2100m
Bottom Altitude:1030m
Resort Altitude:1030m
Longest run:9km
Slope Orientation:N S
Vertical Drop:
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No
Downhill Runs:120km
Beginner slopes:
Intermediate:
Advanced slopes:
Lift Pass Price:
Nearby resorts: Las Lenas

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Cerro Catedral

Like French resorts, the ski area features green runs to represent the gentlest slopes for beginners. Luckily for learners, these include some of the longest runs in the area, like the ABC Sur (2.8km) and 1200 (2.3km) pistes. To perfectly prepare you, there are beginner areas at the base station with magic carpets, as well as others at the top of the Esquiadores and Princesa I lifts.

If you’re confident on blue runs, you’ll really get to roam here. From Punta Nevada, a piste of the same name winds its way down to the bottom of the chairlift. Head back up and next time, fork off onto the Centro run, then connect to the ABC Norte back to base.

The 2.2km red Panoramica run goes along the top ridge of the ski area, leading off onto the FIS track for a technique tester. We also like the Seis piste from the Amancay lift.

There aren’t any lengthy steeps in the area, but you will find a black run here and there to up the ante – like the Amancay off blue Del Bosque and Patrulla (the longest black at 415m) from the top station.

If snowboarders can put up with the traversing between the pistes, there’s a brilliant snow park here. The 3000m2 Nubes Triplepark (one of the best in South America) has jumps, obstacles and a big air bag with lines for intermediate and advanced freestylers. It also has a section for beginners, with smaller features.

A lot of people come to Catedral for the powder terrain alone, which takes you down gullies, through forest and past rockface and bamboo bushes. With yearly averages of six metres of snow up top, the backcountry can be incredible. Ask a local where to find the powder, and they’ll almost certainly mention the chutes and bowls on Laguna. Palmeras and Segunda Lomo are also hugely popular – get a guide to show you the best descents.

For cross country skiers, there is a 4km Nordic ski slope at the Amancay top station.

Cerro Catedral Apres Ski

The après here, locally known as ‘after ski’, is some of the best in the Andes. Mute at the base station has DJ sets, live bands and – one of our favourite ski bar facilities – a cloakroom for skis and snowboards. There’s also Jackson’s Bar for a drink or three.

But if bars and nightlife are high on your agenda, you might want to be based in Bariloche. It’s known as one of Argentina’s liveliest cities, and a popular spot for the Argentinian students’ equivalent to spring break. From ice bar IceBariloche to nightclubs like Cerebro and Roket and Irish pubs Pilgrim and Wilkenny, there’s a huge mix of options.

For food in resort, Rodeo does amazing Argentinian steaks in a cosy mountain hut atmosphere. You can feast on more meaty goodness at Norte Sur, or if you’re more surf than turf, try the fresh trout at Don Aurelio (the grilled pizzas are good here too). We also like Tage for American style waffles, hot dogs and burgers.

Downtown in Bariloche, there are Argentinian steakhouses aplenty (try Alto el Fuego) as well as restaurants serving amazing Empanadas (like La Salamandra Pulperia) and Italian favourites (Girula’s a good ‘un). If you fancy some fine dining, Butterfly serves perfectly presented dishes, paired with stunning views over the lake.

There are plenty of activities to get stuck into, including snow tubing, sledding, snowshoeing. If you’ve a sweet tooth, don’t miss the chocolate shops at Bariloche, the capital of Argentinian chocolate.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Cerro Catedral

When is the best time to ski Cerro Catedral?

We’re in the southern hemisphere here, so the ski resort wakes up when resorts in Europe and North America are hibernating for the summer. The main ski season is June – October, with July usually being the busiest month. A lot of Argentinian students come here for their equivalent of Spring Break, and while the area can get busy, the ski lifts do a good job at thinning the crowds, transporting 35,000 skiers each hour.

This isn’t the highest ski resort in the world, and under the heat of the South American sunshine, the lower slopes sometimes struggle. However with 10 hectares of the ski area covered by snowmaking and average snowfall records of 6m at the summit, 3m at the middle station and 1.5m at the base, on a good day, the conditions can be amazing.

Peak Dates

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Families in Cerro Catedral

It might have some pilgrimage-worthy powder runs, but that’s not to say Catedral can’t do family skiing. If you want the freedom to explore sans sprogs, there is a kid’s club for 4-11 year olds, open from 9-5 with a snow garden as well as plenty to do indoors. For tiddlers, the nursery looks after babies from 45 days to toddlers aged 3. It has a sleeping room with cots, and the staff lead musical activities and games.

For children who are familiar with the pistes, the Catyland section of the snowpark has small obstacles in a safe environment. There are also a number of ski school programs for learners and improvers.

GroupsGroup Holidays Cerro Catedral

If you fancy somewhere a little different for this year’s group ski trip, or want to escape to the mountains in the summer, Argentina’s best ski resort is a good place to start.

For budget trips, groups with non-skiers and anyone who likes to party, Bariloche is a brilliant base. There’s more choice of accommodation, restaurants and bars here, which keeps prices low.

Non skiers have a beautiful city with chocolate shops and museums to explore and when it comes to nightlife, you can choose between cosy Irish pubs, modern bars and full sized nightclubs.

On the other hand, if your main focus is the skiing, staying in the Cerro Catedral resort makes access easy. We love the fact that this resort has a fully-fledged base, with plenty of bars and restaurants to gather together in as well as activities like snow tubing to enjoy together.

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