Boarding the High Life in Las Leñas

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

We carried on heading North with a 20hr overnight journey, with a 3hr wait for a connection at San Raphael's freezing cold bus station between 3am and 6am. We eventually arrived at the small town of Malargue where we based ourselves for 6 days and it started snowing the first afternoon. The mountain/resort of Las Leņas is Argentina's highest and glitziest and about 1hr 15mins away but by staying in Malargue you get the lift-pass half price and the minibus transfer was good for watching the sunrise on the way and a sleep on the way back! The first day was amazing conditions - there had been about 3 feet of fresh snow overnight but the skies had cleared and we had the perfect combination of powder and sunshine!! With so much snow there were no boundaries and we boarded anywhere we liked, frequently wiping-out and having to dig ourselves out! The following 4 days were all really good too and we boarded higher and higher along the slopes to find more untouched powder. On the last 2 days they opened the top lift called 'Marte' which is a really steep chairlift which had been half-buried by all the snow a few days earlier. From the top there was a lovely long run around the far side of the mountain, through amazing scenery and lots of fast steep terrain. Alternatively there was an off-piste run back underneath the chairlift - steep, narrow, rocky, totally crazy and one of the best runs ever !!!!! We have both had an amazing time boarding here and even Pauls snowboarding boots falling apart have not stopped the fun - BRIGHT ORANGE duct tape round the boots worked wonders..... (and looks pretty cool too!) It has been so warm and sunny we both have tanned faces - complete with white 'goggles stripes'... On Tuesday night we had a meal out for our last night with our friends from the hostal - Stian, Ewan, Andrew, Jose & Cherie (everythings plush!). On Wednesday we head to Mendoza following the steps of our friends from Washington State, Bob and (S)Tiffany who have been great to ride with!! Hope we can catch them up although we don't have much chance of that on the slopes.........
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worldofbintang on

snowboarding in Argentina
We only had a week in Las Lenas and we stayed in Malargue a village about 50mins away where there is a cheap youth hostel. If you stay in malargue you get your lift pass half-price (or used to..) so it's a good option for a week. Return door to door transfers were about US$15 a day I think. Accomodation in Las Lenas village is all aimed at international visitors or rich Argentinians so there are very few, if any, cheap options. I think the season lift pass is quite reasonable compared to Bariloche though.
We based ourselves in Bariloche & also boarded three other smaller ski areas of Chapelco (San Martin Los Andes), Esquel & Villa d'Langostura. Be prepared for lift closures, mixed weather and long queues on Argentina holidays but there is some amazing terrain and a lot of the off-piste is untracked and easily reachable via small hikes.
Throw in the best steak in the world, fabulous red wine & cheap living costs for an amazing times!!!

Hazel on

Hi! I came across your blog while browsing the internet for info on snowboarding in Argentina. I'm an enthusiastic novice! I've been in Bolivia the past few weeks and just crossed over into Argentina to head south for some snow. I'm trying to decide whether to head for Bariloche (but I'm worried it'll be packed mid-July) or Las Leñas (and stay in Malargue). Can you recommend which place I'll find the best slopes (weather permitting)? Thanks, and thanks for the blog!

worldofbintang on

Hazel, this is a tough choice because there are so many great resorts in Argentina!!
Las Lenas has the most extreme terrain but also the most unreliable weather to go with it. Staying in Malargue is an hours transfer each way daily as well... Bariloche is a great town, lots going on and has an extensive ski area for all abilities. San Martin Los Andes is a beautiful small town and the ski resort 'Chapelceo' is very scenic with lots of tree lined runs - definitely one of my favourites! Another great small resort is Villa De L'Angostura and we stayed at 'the Italian Hostel' which was superb. If it is school holiday fortnight in Argentina be prepared for high prices, packed resorts and lift queues everywhere. When it was the holiday season we took the bus south to Esquel - a small family resort where prices are lower. Esquel was a lot colder though and the lower easier runs were pretty icy.. You should really visit Bariloche & Chapelco if you have time, Villa De LAngostura if you have lots of time and leave Las Lenas for when you can really appreciate it. Esquel isn't as good and is much further south but an option in school holiday season? Hope this hasn't confused you too muc - have fun!!!

Hazel on

Thanks for all the advice! We're in Bariloche right now and have had some great snow. Not sure we've got the time or money to go to any of the others on this trip, but I reckon we'll be back! Cheers, Hazel.

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