Cerro Bayo ski resort in Argentina was once a little locals’ ski hill, a mom and pop type ski area that largely flew under the radar. Cerro Bayo is still little but it’s slowly becoming more upscale, and it touts itself as providing a boutique ski experience. Boutique Mount Bayo certainly is – it’s a complete contrast to the bustling Cerro Catedral
ski resort near Bariloche
Cerro Bayo (pronounced “Bar-gjo”) is renowned for the remarkable vistas across the breathtaking Andes into Chile, the amazing forests, and the great views across Lago Nahuel Huapi. The azure waters of the lake are spectacular, and the proximity to the ski area almost makes the runs seem steeper because you feel like you might just ski over the edge into the lake. Skiing or snowboarding at Cerro Bayo is incredibly aesthetically pleasing, and combined with the nearby Villa La Angostura
, it provides a delightful Argentine ski holiday experience.
Cerro Bayo Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Cerro Bayo is just a small ski area with only 200 hectares (494 acres) of terrain, 16 lifts, and 25 marked trails that are only 14km in length. The piste areas might be diminutive, but there are plenty of off-piste zones where it’s possible for kitted out advanced and expert riders to find lots of fresh lines. These off-piste areas are an absolute highlight for powder hounds.
Cerro Bayo Ski Resort sits above and below the timber line so it offers some open alpine bowls as well as some fun tree skiing. At one end of the spectrum there are short steep sections and at the other end, wide groomed mellow runs. The split of piste trails is 10% black (advanced to expert), 35% red (intermediate to advanced), 40% blue (easy intermediate), and 15% green (beginner). For greenhorns a highlight is the 5km long panoramic run that features wondrous views of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
The quality of the lifts is rather variable. There is a gondola; well actually there are 2 consecutive gondolas. Otherwise the lifts are mostly double chair lifts that are old and somewhat slow, leaving plenty of time to contemplate life.
Cerro Bayo Snow
Cerro Bayo receives a respectable amount of snowfall by South American standards, with an average of 6 to 9 metres of snow per season (they clearly have a bit of trouble with maths or measuring snow!!). The Cerro Bayo snow quality is fairly typical of the Andes. It ranges remarkably from awesome powder to sloppy mashed potatoes, and the base elevation is only 1,050 metres, so the snow cover can be very patchy.
Where is Cerro Bayo Ski Resort?
Cerro Bayo is a mountain of the Andes range within the Lakes District. It sits in western Argentina so Chile is just a stone’s throw away, whilst Buenos Aires
is a 1,800km/1,118 miles drive to the northeast.
Cerro Bayo is situated above the little town of Villa La Angostura
, a 9km/5.5 miles (15 minute) drive away. Villa La Angostura is located one hour north (70km) of Bariloche
, and only 1.5 to 2 hours from San Martin de los Andes
Cerro Bayo Accommodation
There is no on-mountain accommodation at Cerro Bayo so everyone stays in the nearby town of Villa la Angostura. In addition to Villa la Angostura hotels
, the town has lots of accommodation options ranging from absolutely gorgeous 4 star hosterias down to 1 star affairs, various apart hotels, cabins (cabanas), and at least five hostels.
Villa La Angostura
is a charming upscale village situated on the north shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Many of the buildings are wooden and very quaint, and the village offers a quiet pace. Villa La Angostura has various cute shops, chocolatiers, and plenty of restaurants and bars, but don’t expect the outrageous nightlife typical of Argentina.
The facilities are slowly being updated and anything that the amenities lack in the modern stakes, it makes up for with charm. There are various log refugios (lodges) and rather than just offering usual ski resort fare, Cerro Bayo also has gastronomical delights on offer. Other facilities include ski and snowboard school, equipment rentals, a ski shop, child care, kids club and the obligatory chocolate shop.
Activities include magic carpet accessed tubing, guided snowshoeing tours, and there is a dedicated snow kiting area.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Cerro Bayo
- The resort offers amazing views and the natural surroundings are awe inspiring. Girls you don’t need to worry about brushing your hair or putting make-up on at Cerro Bayo. Everyone will be too busy looking at the gorgeous views to even notice what you look like!
- Mount Bayo continues to evolve into a very classy ski resort, but thankfully it doesn’t have the associated attitude. It still has the charm and associated lack of crowds consistent with a locals’ ski hill.
- Because the slopes are generally uncrowded, particularly on weekdays, the fresh powder is reasonably easy to come by.
- It’s probably not an international destination resort in itself, but it’s worth visiting for 2-3 days as a great supplement to a Patagonian ski holiday.
- The ski resort offers a good spread of terrain for different ability levels.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
- It’s a reasonably small resort and doesn’t provide enough terrain variety for a long stay.
- Many of the lifts are thumb twiddlingly slow.
- The top gondola offers access to some super gnarly terrain (when the conditions are right) but the Telecabina Cumbre is often not running (due to weather or “just because”). The highly coveted terrain then becomes hike-to-terrain and the freshies last much longer.
- There is no on-mountain accommodation but staying in the town of Villa la Angostura is beautiful.
Tours That May Include Cerro Bayo