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SpotCheck | Cerro Bayo

Ski boutique on the lakeshore

by Lea Hartl 09/03/2016
The Cerro Bayo ski resort near Villa La Angostura in Argentina's Lake District is a little overshadowed by the larger, better-known Cerro Catedral on the other side of the lake, but with nice touring and off-piste terrain it certainly doesn't have to hide. It is also much less busy.

In the ski resort, as in the town itself, they try to set themselves apart from their big neighbor across the street (Bariloche, Cerro Catedral) by courting a somewhat chicer, older crowd. The hungover groups of schoolchildren that characterize the cityscape of Bariloche are expressly not welcome here. Instead, the ski resort has been declared a "ski boutique". The road to the ski resort branches off to the right coming from Bariloche shortly before entering Villa La Angostura. From here it is about 10 minutes to the parking lot. A day ticket in the high season costs 950 pesos (approx. 57 euros).

After negotiating the muddy, unpaved access road, new cars on display await you at the end of the slope. Expensive cars for decorative and advertising purposes (and the prices of the lift tickets) are reminiscent of Ischgl or St. Anton - the snow-free, white-brownish valley descent rather less so. Once you reach the top, the true strengths of the resort quickly become apparent: The off-piste terrain and the view. The Cerro Bayo is virtually directly above Lake Nahuel Huapi. Behind it, you can see the mountains in the hinterland of Bariloche, including the mighty Tronador. In the other direction, behind the fertile "slackcountry" of Cerro Bayo, the Lanín volcano shimmers in the haze.

Lifts and slopes

We share the first gondola ride with five or so five-year-old ski school children, who squeal enthusiastically every time the gondola rumbles against the lift supports. The entrance to the top station is particularly bumpy, which the children comment on with an eloquent "Sobrevivimos!!!" - "We survived!". The first gondola is just a little outdated. The second gondola to the highest point of the ski resort is a fundamentally more idiosyncratic design, which would certainly please one or two gondola nerds. In addition to the two gondolas, there are various chairlifts that open up more or less the same terrain when they are running. During our visit, the slopes are in good shape in the upper area. Snow is scarce at the bottom, but you can get to the parking lot without any problems.


Before the second gondola section was built a few years ago, the most interesting lift-accessed terrain could be reached with a short hike from the top chairlift. Now you can either ski into the steep, cliff-strewn summit slope from the top station, or traverse a short distance to flatter, open terrain further skier's left. If the snow conditions are good, there is also plenty to discover further down in the forest.

If the terrain close to the piste is tracked, there are numerous rewarding variations with short ascents. Take your skins with you! There is an obvious, attractive slope directly at the back of the gondola area. If you ski down here, you have to climb back up to the gondola. In very good snow conditions, there are opportunities to ski down to Villa La Angostura, but this is not advisable in "normal" years and without local knowledge.

The top station of the gondola is located at the beginning of a long, undulating ridge that continues far into the valley. Following this ridge opens up further rewarding terrain. The descents and the associated ascents are usually relatively short, so you can easily do several in one day. The ridge itself is often very windswept and icy, even when the snow is otherwise good. If you want to move a little further away from the lift, you are well advised to use ski-crampons. As is usual in the Andes, the snow is mostly on the eastern slopes due to the almost constant westerly wind. You return to the ski resort along the aforementioned ridge. You climb a little way back up and can then cross into the off-piste terrain.

Further tours and even a multi-day crossing to San Martin de los Andes are possible, but of course correspondingly more complicated.


A very scenic, rather small ski resort with interesting off-piste terrain and rewarding opportunities for lift-supported ski tours.

Info status: 2016

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This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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