Backcountry Ski Touring in Patagonia: Top 7 Reasons to Explore Patagonia

Robin Azer | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article
Cerro Catedral, Patagonia, Argentina. image: andescross

Backcountry Ski Touring in Patagonia is increasingly becoming a top ski destination and with good reason: widely varied terrain, great snow conditions and a unique local culture.

Located in the southern region of South America, Patagonia is home to the famed Andes Mountains. After the Himalayas, they are the second highest mountain range in the world.

To make the most of a backcountry trip to Patagonia, it’s best to go with an experienced guide. Choose one well-versed in the local terrain and well-informed with the nuances of the area. One such operation is AndesCross. Owner, founder, and head guide, Jorge Kozulj, grew up in Bariloche, Argentina, and has been guiding there extensively since 1999.

Adding to his street-cred, twice Jorge has guided trips alongside SnowBrains Co-Founder and Editor, Miles Clark.  The two have been roommates twice in Antarctica.

Backcountry Ski Touring in Patagonia can take on many forms and AndesCross offers up a variety of adventure options to suit your interests, time frame and abilities. Below shows one such excursion, skiing into a crater  – of a volcano.

Top 7 Reasons to Explore Patagonia: 

Credit: The PatagonianFoundatin.org

#1 Size

The Andes are vast, beautiful, volcanic and rugged. After the Himalayas they are the highest mountain range on the planet, forming a natural border between Chile and Argentina. Although there are more than 30 official ski resorts in the region, the endless expanse of backcountry skiing is a huge drawing card.

#2 Uncrowded

With the possible exception of the last two weeks of July (school breaks), the skiing is largely lacking in crowds. Once you peel off from the official ski resorts and head into the backcountry, you’ll find plenty of pristine, untouched areas. The only tracks will be from your group and your group alone.

AndesCross
Tree skiing in the backcountry of Patagonia.  image:  andescross

#3 Terrain variety

From gentle to hard-core and all stops in-between, the region offers up a diversity of terrain seldom found anywhere else: tree skiing, glacier skiing, bowls, steeps, chutes and couloirs. From “Alaskan-style” spines to rugged volcanic craters there is enough variety to keep even the most seasoned inspired.

Photo Credit: AndesCross

#4 Snow quality

The region is vast and covers several climate zones meaning the conditions will vary, keeping things interesting. Some mimic more of a maritime quality, while others are more reminiscent of the dry powder found in Utah. The high altitude found here means the snowfall is reliable, relatively well-retained, and as mentioned above, largely untracked in the backcountry.

Reliable and abundant snowfall in the backcountry.  image: andescross

#5 Human powered skiing mecca

Enjoy the sights on the way up nearly as much as the thrills on the way down in this land of endless off-piste action.

The cirque offers all aspects of 5 star AT terrain for every backcountry skier. Photo Credit: AndesCross.com

#6 Local culture

“Après starts late, dinner is later, and dancing is much, much later.”

A trip to Patagonia offers the opportunity to not only explore great skiing but also to enjoy the distinct culture in the region. Argentina is home to Malbec wines, tango joints and famed Argentine steaks.

Chile’s  prodigious vineyards have been dubbed by some as the next Napa Valley and it’s urban center, Santiago, has a distinctive laid-back vibe.

Argentina wine country  – Photo credit: Outside Magazine

#7 Cozy mountain huts

Multi-day ski excursions will include nights in Patagonia’s backcountry lodges. Designed in the typical rustic alpine style, they provide incredible views and access points to explore the vast terrain.

Guided skiing in Frey Hut, Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina. Photo Credit: AndesCross

“Knowledge of snow is a science!”

  • AndesCross

Whether you’re looking to find the best descents or the secret pow stashes, AndesCross has you covered on all fronts with nearly 20 years of experience in the region.

  • Fully certified guides UIAGM-IFMGA-IVBV for mountain alpine trips (rock, ice, skiing)

This outfit specializes in remote expeditions, but is more than capable of handling a day trip as well. A sampling of AndesCross other offerings:

  • Steeps clinic
  • Skiing in Antarctica
  • Ski Touring the Volcanos of the Andes
  • Backcountry Skiing Day Trips in Patagonia
  • Multi-Day Ski Touring Trips

“In just over a six year period, we have done five trips with Jorge and have committed to a sixth next year. We must like this guy!  Jorge is THE guide for your Patagonia adventures…and beyond! 

We trust his judgement, thrill in his ski adventures, and have been blessed to enjoy the beautiful outdoors around the world with him.”

Larina & Bob Seattle, WA, USA
Owner, Founder, and Head Guide of AndesCross, Jorge Kozulj, guiding a trip to Antarctica.   image:  andescross

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