VIDEO: Skiing Patagonia Powder from Refugio Frey, Bariloche, Argentina

Dylan Cautela | BackcountryBackcountry

Skiing Patagonia is the dream for many skiers. Taking off from the heat, the stress, and the crowds that come with summer to shred pow in South America and escape from reality, for whatever amount of time is affordable, can shift the state of mind for the rest of the summer season.

In the webisode series South Lines, Adria Millan and Aymar Navarro utilize everything Argentina and Chile have to offer, especially the Refugios and specifically Frey which is outside Bariloche, Argentina. Refugio Frey is relatively easy to access via a short 2-4 hour hike/skin from the base of Cerro Catedral Resort, Bariloches ski resort and one of the largest in South America, or by entering the backcountry from the top of the resort and skiing down the backside.

Guide to Skiing the Refugio Frey Backcountry in Bariloche, Argentina:

Refugio Frey, Bariloche, Argentina.
Refugio Frey, Bariloche, Argentina in pure bliss under a starlit night. photo: Carlos Cespedes.

Refugio Frey provides superb backcountry possibilities while also offering some modern amenities as the only Refugio in the surrounding area that is open and operational throughout the winter. For a mere 100 Argentinian Pesos a night (about $7 U.S.) they provide a warm bed and housing to beat the frigid Patagonia wind. For a small fee, 40 Pesos (about $3 U.S.), access to the kitchen will be granted and if money is of no concern they will feed their guests three meals a day for 400 pesos (about $30 U.S.)

But the real reason anyone visits the Refugio is for the surroundings and backcountry. Furthermore it acts as a gateway for venturing deeper into the Refugio system and longer day tours. With exceptional access to every terrain imaginable it’s one of the best. The terrain offers up many long couloirs, some extremely steep mandatory straight-line chutes, as well as big open bowls with a handful of spines to slash and ride at will.

I would give both testicles for a moment like this right now...
Aymar Navarro carving into the sunrise golden hour at Refugio Frey in Patagonia. Photo credit Txema Trull Photography.

This season may be coming to a close in South America, but it’s never to early to save up and make plans for next! Put in for some vacation time in advanced, get your tickets early, get your gear together and pals onboard, and make some tour plans to tackle next season efficiently and safely.


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