Cerro Bayo, Argentina
Cerro Bayo, Argentina
12 lifts (6 chairlifts, 6 surface lifts), 495 acres, 2211 vertical feet, 1 terrain park
Close to the Chile and Argentina border, the quaint ski area of Cerro Bayo is the little secret in the Lakes Region of Argentina. Cerro Bayo may not have the quantity of terrain as the other resorts do, but this small mountain does have some quality runs, backcountry access, and vistas. 10 km from the charming town of Villa La Angostura, this area seems to fly under the radar from the thousands and thousands of Argentines in the nearby ski resorts. When the crowd factor gets to high or the patience runs out at the other bigger resorts, take a breath and take a break and check out Cerro Bayo.
Stepping from the parking lot to the base area is like stepping back in time. A few tiny, rustic shops line the short walkway to the two old chairlifts at the bottom of the mountain. The Principal double chair slowly climbs up to the mid-mountain area, and to some other lifts. The slopes on the lower half of the mountain are surrounded by the Lenga Forest and are a good option when it’s snowing or windy. The upper part of the mountain is above the tree line and is accessed by the Lenga double. From the top of this lift, the peak of the resort can be hiked in about 15 minutes. On a clear, sunny day the views from this point extend into Chile and to the other amazing mountains and lakes in the Argentinean National Parks. From the peak two good chutes are doable. Canadon and Provinciales drop down this small canyon for 1,000 vertical feet. This area is south facing and usually has the best snow on the mountain. Dropping down the backside leads to some amazing backcountry riding. Massive bowls and long rocky chutes line the area, but it is highly recommended to ride with someone who knows the area.
Half way down the mountain on the south boundary, there is a little terrain park with only a few features. Two kickers run parallel to a couple boxes and rails in the Snowpark.
Lessons: The ski and snowboard school has private lessons for $25 and group lessons for $20.
Lift tickets: Adults (low/mid/high) $17/$20/21; kids 6-12 (low/mid/high) $13/$16/$17; kids 5 and under are free
Lodging: All sorts of accommodations are found in the little town Villa La Angostura. The tourism office (02944-494-124) in the center can help with availabilities and bookings.
Dining: There are two restaurants on the mountain. The best one, View Point, is at the bottom of the Lenga lift, and is a great place to sit back and relax while staring out to an unbelievable sight over the lake.
Getting there: Taxis make the trip to the mountain from town for $6. The resort will call a taxi for a return trip when needed. Hitch hiking is also possible with a small group.
Photo courtesy of Cerro Bayo, Argentina and NH Hotels