Catedral Bariloche Ski Resort

In southern Argentina just 19 km outside the city of Bariloche is the ski resort of Catedral Alta Patagonia commonly referred to as Cerro Catedral or simply Catedral..  It is the largest and most modern ski resort  in Argentina and certainly the most modern in all of South America. It derives it’s name Catedral which means “cathedral” from its peaks that resemble the towers of a Gothic style temple.

Catedral boasts 39 lifts including a detachable sextuple chair called the Sextuple Superbubble.  These lifts allow you to access 2964 acres / 1200 hectares of skiable terrain, half of it comprising of groomed runs and the other half  un-groomed for lots of powder opportunities.  The upper elevation is 2100m / 6890ft with a base elevation of 1030m / 3380ft offering a total vertical of 1070m / 3510ft.   The average annual snow fall is 6m / 20ft.

With the lower slopes under 1500m / 5000 ft, it is quite common for a melt-freeze cycle to occur on the lower slopes throughout the season.  It is therefore recommended to get up the mountain and stay there for the day where all the best snow is located.  This is easily done as the resort is modelled on European traditions with numerous chalets called “refugios” located on the upper slopes serving great food and drink with the famous Argentine flare.

Skiing Bariloche at Catedral has a long history with original construction initiated in 1938 on Cerro Catedral.  As the tourist oriented city of Bariloche grew so did Cerro Catedral. By the 1950’s Bariloche had a population of 10,000 and welcomed as many as 55,000 tourists annually.  Today it is a city of 120,000 and welcomes millions of tourists each year.

 

Catedral Bariloche

From 2004 to2007, Catedral Alta Patagonia launched a modernization plan that included new lifts, new terrain and new facilities at the base area including a modern shopping mall.  As a result, the upper mountain offers even more great terrain and access to fresh tracks and the base area has lots of good food and shopping for those who are taking a break from the slopes.

Our favourite lift at Cerro Catedral is “Nubes”.  It takes you to the highest elevation of 2100m / 6890ft and from here you have amazing views of the famous Nahuel Huapi Lake surrounded by the Andean peaks of Argentina and Chile.  It is often described as the most scenic skiing in South America.  Quite often you can spot the majestic Andean Condor gliding around theses peaks.

From the top of the “Nubes” chair at Catedral you can access the driest and least tracked snow. If you traverse off to the skiers left of the chair you can access steep chutes or even further left large open fields of un-groomed terrain.  With the large volume of skiers it is always amazing how much fresh snow you will find here.

With Catedral’s proximity to Bariloche, a bustling city of 120,000, you have lots of options off the snow for accommodation, restaurants and night life.  Tourism is the reason Bariloche exists so there is lots of great shopping from high quality leather goods and high fashion to its famous chocolate; restaurants featuring great trout to famous Argentine beef and wild boar; and a large range of accommodations for every budget.