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SpotCheck | Cerro Perito Moreno

Dreamy and charming antiques in northern Patagonia

by Lea Hartl 08/28/2016
The small Argentinian town of El Bolsón is located a good 200 kilometers south of Bariloche on the Ruta 40. Fruit and berries are grown here in summer and Bolsón is better known for the jams made from them than for its ski resort. If you want peace and quiet, this is the place for you.

Ruta 40 runs through a north-south oriented valley near El Bolsón. The ski resort is located on the western side of the valley, below the Cerro Perito Moreno of the same name. The access road is unpaved, but is generally easy to drive on even with small rental cars. If it has just snowed, the drive may be more adventurous and it is advisable to wait until a few "camionetas" (pickups with four-wheel drive, other jeep-like vehicles) have made tracks.

The ski resort and mountain are, like many things in Argentina, named after Francisco Moreno (1852-1919) (note: do not confuse the ski resort with the famous Perito Moreno Glacier near Calafate). Moreno is considered one of Argentina's most important early adventurers. He explored large parts of Patagonia and founded, among other things, the huge Nahuel Huapi National Park and various museums. The first huts in today's ski resort were built by German immigrants shortly after the Second World War. It is reasonable to assume that they also enjoyed the adventurous mountain world of Patagonia. In contrast to many other countries, there was no question in Argentina as to why it suddenly seemed so desirable for them to build a new existence as remote and far away from Germany as possible.

Lifts and slopes

Today, there is an old, long, slow chairlift, a long but not slow T-bar lift and a few small children's lifts at Cerro Perito Moreno, in addition to a few buildings belonging to the local Club Andino and a small restaurant. The website states that the resort has 11 kilometers of slopes (9 pistes) and "capacity for 600 visitors per day". Compared to the mega resorts in the Alps, these capacities are probably only fully utilized during the main holiday periods. When we arrive on a sunny, spring-like warm morning in August, the parking lot is almost empty.

Lift tickets cost 490 pesos (around €28) in high season. That's not nothing, but about half the price of the better-known Cerro Catedral in Bariloche. All the staff we meet are extremely friendly and relaxed. At the chairlift exit, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are blaring from the lift cabin. At the drag lift, beginners are maneuvered to the bars with the patience of angels. Most of them fail somewhat spectacularly on the steep, poorly prepared lift track, but then crawl just as calmly through the boggy snow back onto the piste. A few dozen locals populate the ski resort and a French racing team has put in two slalom runs on the surprisingly steep slopes. In the restaurant, care is taken to ensure that the foreign visitors try the particularly good tortas fritas.

The ski resort is to be modernized over the next few years and summer operations are to be expanded. The money for this is to come from the sale of building land next to the lift, but no final agreement has yet been reached on this. Not everyone in El Bolsón wants a hotel development for tourists instead of a tranquil parking lot in the middle of nowhere.


The upper drag lift just reaches the tree line and takes you to the edge of a flat plateau landscape. Behind it is the actual Cerro Perito Moreno. Just below the summit is a small cirque glacier, which is relatively easy to reach following the logical course of the terrain (not recommended in poor visibility!). Apart from the summit ascent to Cerro Perito Moreno, there is other potential touring terrain, but access is much more complex there.

The lifts only access wooded terrain. The forest is relatively dense, but easy to ski, at least in the upper half. Further down - sooner or later depending on the snow conditions - the bamboo undergrowth becomes a problem. In addition to the obvious variations next to and between the slopes, the right-hand slope (seen from above) is mainly skied in the forest. Before the undergrowth becomes too dense, you can cross back to the left through one or two stream ditches.


Nice little ski resort for a relatively cheap and relaxed introduction to the southern winter. With good snow there would be potential in the forest, but good snow is rare. Attractive ski touring option to Cerro Perito Moreno. Also conceivable as a starting point for other, more complex tours. Perito Moreno is not necessarily the first choice as a stand-alone destination on a South American ski vacation, but if you are passing by anyway, it is worth a stop.

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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