The Best of the Southern Hemisphere

Escape the masses at Portillo Ski Resort in Chile - ©Andes Ski Tours

Escape the masses at Portillo Ski Resort in Chile.

Copyright: Andes Ski Tours

As our winter season comes to an end and we sit peeling off layers of thermals, trawling through our ski albums on Facebook and yearning for powder turns, skiers on the other side of the world are gearing up for their winter. So snap out of it, sit up and read our guide to the best of the Southern Hemisphere.

Here are our favorite options in the Southern Hemisphere for big mountain terrain, families, après ski and reliable snow.

Big Mountain Terrain

Las Lenas, Argentina

Good things come to those who wait. This may well be the mantra you find yourself repeating having made the pilgrimage to Las Lenas only to find that storms have closed down the upper part of the mountain. Our advice? Plan a longer trip if you can manage. Las Lenas, quite simply, has some of the most accessible big mountain terrain in the world. The Martes Chairlift is the star attraction transporting expert skiers to the highest point on the mountain. From there you have access to a huge range of backcountry terrain, gullies, ridges, bowls and waist-deep powder. There is also a very decent range of mellower skiing for the less crazy.

Las Lenas, Argentina, surrounded by big-mountain terrain. - ©Las Lenas

Las Lenas, Argentina, surrounded by big-mountain terrain.

Copyright: Las Lenas

Portillo, Chile

Portillo’s reputation among pro skiers and riders is second to none. Many North American pros choose to make it their base for the summer, such is the variety of challenging terrain. The powder is light and dry too, thanks to the high elevation—10,860 feet at the highest point—and the slopes are generally uncrowded.

Steep fall lines are accessible from the Lake Chutes. Take the right from the Condor lift, these are sustained for over 300 meters of vertical.

If you’re good enough, take on the 1,500-meter Super C Couloir, one of the most talked about pro-lines in the Andes. If you’re after a taste of the backcountry, you can head out from the Primavera Run. Heli-skiing is another popular Portillo activity and an excellent way to access more pow.

Plenty of powder skiing in Portillo, Chile - ©Andes Ski Tours

Plenty of powder skiing in Portillo, Chile

Copyright: Andes Ski Tours

Cragieburn Valley, New Zealand

Cragieburn Valley is not for the fainthearted or beginners for that matter. All of the terrain here is for experienced skiers, split almost halfway between intermediate skiers (55%) and experts (45%). The resort is a classic club field, meaning that it is not for profit, rather it is run by dedicated club members.

Craggie is an awesome place to ski and remains largely undiscovered, which means more freshies for you.

Freeskier exploring the challenging terrain of Craigieburn Valley, New Zealand - ©craigieburn.co.nz

Freeskier exploring the challenging terrain of Craigieburn Valley, New Zealand

Copyright: craigieburn.co.nz

Family Friendly

The Remarkables, New Zealand

The Remarkables nabs the top spot when it comes to family skiing in Oceania. Why? It’s not overly commercialized, has a relaxed vibe, is less crowded and gets better snow cover than its neighbors.

There’s also a wide range of activities (snow tubing park!) and learning programs to suit all abilities, such as a network of progressive terrain parks with wide, gentle slopes for newbies and big mountain steeps for the more experienced in the group. Events are plentiful too, from mini park battles and eating contests to music on the slopes. Best of all, it’s where the Lord of the Rings was filmed. Second best of all, children 10 years and under get to ski for free.

The Remarkables was chosen as a film location for Lord of The Rings - ©Jordan Sim

The Remarkables was chosen as a film location for Lord of The Rings

Copyright: Jordan Sim

Perisher, Australia

Perisher, in New South Wales, is the largest resort in the Southern Hemisphere. Four areas, including Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega provide a variety of terrain for all skiing levels. What really makes the resort stand out is the abundance of entertaining activities for the whole family, from night skiing to a free fireworks display every Thursday. The mini half-pipe at the Yabby Flat Terrain Park allows beginners to safely learn the basics of half-pipe riding before moving onto the Front Valley pipe.

The Snowy Daycare also caters for groms as mini as six weeks old.

Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere. - ©Andrew Kisliakov

Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere.

Copyright: Andrew Kisliakov

Après Scene

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown is a popular base for the four main ski fields: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Treble Cone and Cardona Alpine Resort. Queenstown, Australasia’s premier winter sports and entertainment destination, isn’t about to start resting on its laurels. Come June there is one riotous celebration that everyone’s invited to. The American Express Winter Festival is a 10-day party filled with 60 events and a majestic fireworks display to kick things off.

A snowboarder taking in the views at Coronet Peak, New Zealand. - ©Adrian Pua

A snowboarder taking in the views at Coronet Peak, New Zealand.

Copyright: Adrian Pua

Cerro Catedral, Argentina

Picturesque Cerro Catedral, known locally as Bariloche, is renowned across South America for its hedonistic nightlife. There are plenty of bars and mega clubs such as Rocket and Pacha. Our tip? Head to local haunt La Cantina first where drinks are cheap and the vibe is playful. As for food, go to Alberto’s which has been serving the best steak in town for more than 30 years.

Skiing and riding are top notch too, as the 1,200-hectare ski area offers a wide range of diverse terrain from steep, rocky faces to pillow lines through the trees.

Cerro Catedral, Argentina, is renowned for its hedonistic nightlife - ©Andres-age

Cerro Catedral, Argentina, is renowned for its hedonistic nightlife

Copyright: Andres-age

Reliable Snow

Valle Nevado, Chile

Less than 40 miles away from the bustling city of Santiago lies Valle Nevado, which provides great links to neighboring resorts El Colorado and La Parva.

Purpose built and developed by the French in the 1980s, the resort bears some resemblance to Les Arcs, albeit more modern and much more attractive. Its main appeal, however, is its terrain: steeps, big vertical and a series of wide-open bowls. These bowls are protected from the elements by rows of southern-facing slopes, creating a micro climate around the resort that ensures superior powder.

British pro skier, Chemmy Alcott says, “For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a big effort to get there, but if you’re a ski fan searching for blissful snow and your own private mountain, nothing beats it!” (Financial Times).

First tracks at Valle Nevado, Chile - ©Valle Nevado

First tracks at Valle Nevado, Chile

Copyright: Valle Nevado

Cerro Castor, Argentina

The world’s southernmost resort, Cerro Castor, is also South America’s most reliable for snow. Modern, medium-sized and with sublime views of the ocean, the resort typically receives 1.5 meters of fresh powder throughout the season. And if Mother Nature isn’t feeling so generous, state of the art snow machines create a smooth surface on which to carve.

Throw in a friendly staff and lifts that are more frequently open than closed, and you can see why Cerro is the preferred ski destination of many South Americans.

Amazing views at Cerro Castor, Argentina - ©cerrocastor.com

Amazing views at Cerro Castor, Argentina

Copyright: cerrocastor.com

 

Gallery

View All

 

Newsletter

Get OnTheSnow on the go
Learn more

Related Articles

Top 5 Colorado High Alpine Lake Hikes

Ice out signals the official start of summer in the mountains as cobalt and emerald lakes return to their liquid state like stolen jew... More

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement