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Hitting the Slopes in Argentina


For those who love their snow sports, you can catch some fresh pow in the Fall semester until late September (Argentina's spring ski season). Las Leñas is one of South America's most famed ski resorts located in the Andes, with 14 lifts to access the greatest amount of ski terrain in the Western Hemisphere. Come September, "low-season" prices are in effect, and the lift lines are non-existent, yet the mountains still have plenty of snow. After my finding this information online, I knew I had to find a way to ski at Las Leñas for a weekend.

The first challenge is getting there. From Buenos Aires, Las Leñas is about 875 miles away. That's far, and domestic flights can be quite expensive! Thus, all hail the overnight bus! Departing around 8 p.m., the overnight buses offer reclining seats for the 14-hour ride that goes all while you sleep, for 1/5th of the price of a plane ticket. They arrive between 8 and 10 a.m. in San Rafael just 2 hours then from the mountain slopes!

And so we went!

San Rafael, so tranquil compared to the hustle of Buenos Aires, had rent-a-cars available for the weekend so that we could drive to Las Leñas early each morning from our little cabaña in the town of Malargüe. Las Leñas indeed has plenty of hotel accommodations, but at far too high a price for us young people. Malargüe was not only a less expensive place to stay, but also a much less expensive place to rent our ski equipment! Todo bien.

We woke up early to hit the slopes at opening, and to our surprise we had the mountain to ourselves the first 30 minutes or so before people started showing up. With our low-season 2-day passes, we hit run after run, only having to wait in a short line every once in a while. Mid-day we treated ourselves to cafés at the mountain-top hut overlooking the resort, surrounded by stoked skiers and some Latin reggae, and then the late afternoon sun came out to soften the snow perfectly. Las Leñas was an incredible trip we made out of our September weekend.

It was hard to leave after our 2 days of skiing there, but we were very impressed with what we got for late-season skiing. I will never forget those long runs we flew down, and the vibe of the Argentine powder hounds all prideful of their ski terrain.

¡Todo bien! ...All is good!

 Typical Argentine sight: meat!
 Truly "low-season"... Nobody else on this run!
 Argentine flag at the top of every lift and run!
 The drive... Breathtaking.

Viv S. is the Fall 2017 MOJO Photographer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently a Junior studying Sociology at University of San Diego.
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