Summer skiing in South America offers a unique opportunity to enjoy winter sports during the Northern Hemisphere off-season. With diverse and growing ski resorts in Argentina and Chile, South America is an increasingly attractive destination for ski enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you are an experienced skier or a beginner, the continent’s varied terrain and breathtaking landscapes promise an unforgettable adventure on the slopes. Want to give summer skiing in South America a try? We’d love to tell you more about the South American skiing industry!

South American ski resorts

Over the last decade, South American ski resorts have seen growth and development. With almost endless off-piste possibilities and excellent powder snow on wide slopes, these resorts present an exciting alternative for the European Alps and American Rockies during the off-season and are a great alternative for the more well know option in New Zealand. Skiing in South America has often been exclusive because of high costs and a less developed mountain culture. However, interest is growing. The resorts attract not only Argentinians but also skiers from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and other countries, filling them with international visitors during July and August, the peak of the South American ski season.

summer skiing south america

Argentina: A Winter Wonderland

Argentina’s diverse landscape includes 23% mountainous terrain, with the Andes forming a natural backbone along the western side of the country. This range, stretching over 3000 kilometers, includes the Aconcagua, which rises to 6960 meters above sea level. Despite these high summits, ski resorts in Argentina are primarily located at lower altitudes, between 1000 and 2000 meters. The ski season in Argentina typically spans from June to mid-October. Skiing in Argentina has historical roots dating back to the 19th century when skis were used as a means of transportation by Europeans who brought the activity over. In the 1930s, recreational skiing took off particularly around San Carlos de Bariloche, thanks to ski clubs and European pioneers. The first ski lift in Argentina was installed in Cerro Catedral in 1939, and the sport has grown ever since. Argentina boasts a variety of impressive ski resorts spread across the country, offering unique experiences for winter sports enthusiasts. One of the best known ski destinations in Argentina is Bariloche, located in the Patagonia region. Its famous ski resort, Cerro Catedral, offers a wide range of slopes suitable for all skill levels, complemented by breathtaking views of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Another jewel in Argentina’s skiing crown is Las Leñas, situated in the province of Mendoza. Known for its challenging slopes and modern infrastructure, Las Leñas attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the globe seeking thrilling snow adventures. Before planning a summer ski trip to Argentina, make sure to consider weather conditions and prepare well because it can be really cold!

Chile: A Skiing Powerhouse

Chile’s Andes Mountains takes 4000 kilometers along the length of the country, covering 80% of the terrain. The northern peaks maintain year-round snow at altitudes above 4800 meters, while southern peaks average around 3000 meters. Chile’s ski resorts are primarily located in these high altitudes, offering unique skiing experiences. Skiing in Chile dates back to the late 19th century when European engineers used skis during the construction of the Trans Andean Railroad. In 1946, Portillo installed the first chairlift on the continent. However, it was the 1966 World Alpine Ski Championships held in Portillo that marked Chile’s emergence on the international ski scene. By the 1980s, better infrastructure made Chile a top skiing destination. Portillo, the oldest ski resort in South America, is surrounded by peaks up to 5000 meters high. It has 23 runs, 14 lifts, and only allows 450 guests at a time for a unique experience. The resort is known for its T-bar lifts and has hosted several skiing speed records. Another ski area, Tres Valles, is the largest ski area in South America, with 48 lifts and about 120 kilometers of groomed runs. It is located 40 kilometers from Santiago and reaches altitudes of 3630 meters. What’s pretty unique is that in the Southern Andes, resorts like Termas de Chillán, Villarrica, and Antillanca offer skiing on volcano slopes surrounded by dense forests! These resorts provide stunning views of lakes, forests, and distant volcanoes during your summer ski trip!


Challenges in Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico

While Argentina and Chile are the primary skiing destinations in South America, other countries have made attempts to develop their ski industries, although with varying degrees of success. Bolivia’s high-altitude Andes once hosted the world’s highest ski area, Chacaltaya, situated at nearly 5400 meters. However, the glacier that supported the ski area melted in 2009, turning it into a ghost town. Colombia used to have a ski area on the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, but interest dropped, and the facilities became rundown. Despite periodic eruptions, the area remains popular for climbing and unorganized skiing. Moreover, Mexico’s high peaks, including the Sierra Madre and Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, offer some snow in winter. The country has one small ski area, down south from Monterrey called Bosques de Monterreal, with natural snow only available in December and January, if they are lucky, they hugely depends on a dryslope.


Indoor Skiing: An Untapped Potential

Another excellent way to practice your skiing skills during the off-season is to train at an indoor ski center. In Europe, indoor skiing has become increasingly popular, with centers hosting summer ski camps and training sessions for dedicated enthusiasts. However, South America has yet to tap into this potential because introducing this concept could revolutionize skiing opportunities in the region. Currently, there is only one facility on the continent featuring a serious indoor ski simulator. “Beyond the Club,” a massive sports facility in São Paulo, Brazil. It is an experience club that provides an oasis for leisure, sport, well-being, and business. This exceptional venue allows enthusiasts to practice their favorite sports anytime. With the addition of our Treadmill SkiMachine, Beyond the Club is now one of the few places where you can enjoy indoor skiing in South America! 

Interested in exploring the possibilities?

beyond the club Sao paulo

Contact SkiMachine

With 100+ endless ski slopes installed worldwide, numerous positive reactions from clients, and over 25 years of experience, SkiMachine has created wealth and know-how in manufacturing the highest quality indoor simulators in the industry. We are happy to provide you with professional input at any time!

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