Argentine resorts didn't get the bountiful snow they were hoping for last weekend, but enough fell in the southern resort Cerro Alto Patagonia (Bariloche) to open this past Saturday with an average base of 1.5 meters (5 feet) of snow. Las Leñas has not fared as well and has received so far only 50 centimeters, and they, along with Chapelco (San Martin de los Andes), plan to open this upcoming Saturday. Both Cerro Alto Patagonia and Chapelco are currently getting pummeled with a snowstorm that is predicted to last until this weekend, and Las Leñas is expected to receive snowfall for two days, petering out by Thursday.
Cerro Alto Patagonia will launch its first event this upcoming Thursday, the National Festival of Snow, with races, events and the crowning of the National Queen of Snow. With July around the corner, Argentine ski resorts are readying themselves for the yearly massive influx of 40,000-plus Brazilians who come to this country to ski each year. Argentina, formerly a bargain destination after the economic crisis of 2001, is no longer the bargain it once was. Growing inflation and dollar prices at ski resorts and hotels has Argentines grumbling that 10 days in the Caribbean costs the same as a week at a ski resort in the Andes – even during low season – and even foreigners are finding that restaurants and shops priced in pesos are comparable to mid-range resorts in the U.S.
For the most accurate weather information, check out Argentina's National Weather Service at http://www.smn.gov.ar/
, click on "Ver Pronostico de Otras Cuidades" at the end of the page and then choose the resort region: Mendoza (Las Leñas), Neuquén (Chapelco), Río Negro (Bariloche and Cerro Bayo), Chubut (La Hoya and Caviahue) or Tierra del Fuego (Ushuaia).