Resort Profile: Cerro Catedral

By adamrowden, 13 Nov '12 at 12:16

Cerro Catedral is a mountain located 19 kilometres (12 mi) from San Carlos de Bariloche, and inside the Nahuel Huapí National Park, Patagonia, Argentina.

The terrain is highly varied, and there are more than 40 lifts to access 1,480 skiable acres, including the new La Laguna that takes skiers to backcountry chutes and bowls. Catedral is known for deep powder, excellent tree skiing, and easily accessed off-piste terrain, and although the resort’s location and lower elevation means the base area can be patchy, the resort has invested in snowmaking equipment and added or modernized lifts to the upper limits at 7,000+ feet.

It is one of the most visually stunning resorts in the world and the views out over the Nahuel Huapi lake are breathtaking to say the least. The views of the granite spires that sit atop the mountain are also incredible. In fact, it was those spires that gave the resort its name, as they resemble a Gothic church.

The resort is huge, there is no escaping that fact, and, at over 1,200 hectares it has the largest lift accessed ski terrain in South America. Half of this is off piste terrain. Basically, this place is an off piste mecca.

Though there is plenty of off piste to be gobbled up, the snow conditions can vary. If you are taking fat powder skis then make sure that you don’t take brand new ones. At the lower altitude the cover can vary, but this should not put you off as it is one of the best off piste skiing and snowboarding destinations in the Southern Hemisphere.

If you are sticking to the pistes then this resort is probably best for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, however, there is some decent terrain for beginners. The tree skiing in Catedral is great, as are all of the wonderful chutes and bowls that are found in the backcountry. And, if it tickles your fancy, there is also a pretty sweet park in resort.

The lifts are undergoing a continual regeneration, so the quality does vary, but in general it is pretty good. There are some awesome fast lifts as well as some very slow and clunky double chairs and there are also a smattering of drag lifts. Compared to its South American cousins Catedral seems very modern, so you can always cling to that thought whilst you are stuck on an archaic chair.

Just fifteen miles from Cerro Catedral is the awesome lively student town of Bariloche, which is a place that you really should experience. This town is easily accessible and plays host to the Cruz Bar, that is ace for an après drink; and the Tarquino, which is an awesome little eatery where you can try out some grilled lamb or even some trout.

The Highlights:

- Epic off piste
- Huge resort
- stunning views of lake Nahuel Huapi
- Awesome student town Bariloche nearby
- Modern lifts compared to most of South America

For more resort profiles click here. Or, to find out about doing ski seasons in South America, click here.

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