Cerro Bayo Lifts & Terrain


Cerro Bayo Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Cerro Bay Piste Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,050 – 1,710 (660)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6-9  metres
  • Lifts (16)
    2 gondolas
    6 double chairs
  • Ski Season
    Late June - Early Oct
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 25
    Longest run – 6km
    Expert - 10%
    Advanced - 35%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Beginner - 15%

Cerro Bayo Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Cerro Bayo skiing in-bounds is somewhat petite, so it only offers limited variety for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. Whilst the terrain might be small, the views are substantial, especially from the aptly named Panoramico and Los Lagos runs.

The lower part of the resort is primarily for access and egress and features an intermediate slope that runs up the guts of the resort. The novice area is located mid-mountain, as are various other tree-lined intermediates runs, whilst the upper elevations of the Cerro Bayo ski resort are above the tree line and consist of a few steep bowls.

For powder hounds, the real fun of Cerro Bayo is in the off-piste areas where there are hectares of interesting lines.

Cerro Bayo Lifts

Cerro Bayo has 14 lifts. Rather than one long gondola with a mid-station, the resort has 2 separate gondolas that run consecutively, probably because the oft-windy conditions prevent the top gondola (Telecabina Cumbre) from running. And there are other times when the top gondola doesn’t run for reasons that are not apparent! TC Jean Pierre, the lower gondola, is often used by sightseers so queues can be horrendous, and if the snow quality down low is not very good you might only use the gondola for mid-mountain access.

The beginners’ area has a mix of drag lifts and magic carpets. Elsewhere are double chairs (most with safety bars and foot rests) that despite being fixed grip chairs, aren’t too slow (so they may require a bit of skill to get on!). For beginners they tend to slow down the chair.

Cerro Bayo has a reputation of not opening up all the lifts (not just the top gondola) if it’s not particularly busy. They obviously haven’t realised that perhaps more people would visit on weekdays if they ran all the lifts!

Lift Tickets

Lift ticket prices are similar to Cerro Catedral and Chapelco, which seems like extortion when you consider the lack of infrastructure that Bayo has on offer in comparison to the other two nearby ski resorts.

If you’re made of gold you can buy a Gold Pass which offers priority lift access along with a host of other benefits such as VIP parking, wine and snacks, a mountain guide, and someone to put your boots on for you if you like!

Cerro Bayo Snow

As is common with all South America ski resorts, the snow conditions vary dramatically, and as to expected, the quality and quantity of snow varies across the vertical of the ski resort. The base area elevation is only 260 metres higher than the town of Villa Angostura, and is at a similar elevation to the base of Cerro Catedral. Subsequently it suffers from rain and the snow cover is often marginal. Cerro Bayo has a few snow making guns, but Argentina ski resorts don’t seem to be particularly skillful at making artificial snow.

The reliability of snow is much better at the higher elevations, although the summit is a little lower than Chapelco and significantly lower than the top of Cerro Catedral ski resort. To Cerro Bayo’s advantage, much of the terrain is south facing, and the snow quality in Los Lagos area is often particularly tasty. We’ve managed to score Cerro Bayo when the powder has been delightfully dry and great for the ego.

Beginner Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The novice area is located mid-mountain in a dedicated area where learners can progress their skills without hoons whizzing past. The very mellow slope is serviced by surface tows and magic carpets.

First-timers may need to download the gondola to return to the base. More confident beginners can head down via the very long Panoramica trail that weaves its way around the back of the mountain where it boasts the gorgeous views of the lake.

Cerro Bayo Skiing & Boarding for Intermediates

Intermediates have 75% of the trails considering that the red runs are not steep enough to be “advanced”, but the ski resort is small, so intermediates don’t really have a huge range to choose from. Many of the intermediate runs off the Bosque and La Salita chairs (if they’re open) are short, and the main run that goes down to the base may have inadequate snow cover.

Confident intermediates and low-end advanced riders can get into the trees around the Bosque lift. The glades are mellow but steep enough to get momentum, and the tall trees are beautifully spaced and they don’t have any low branches. A tree skiing dream!

Terrain Park

Cerro Bayo has a small terrain park. One part is for beginners with little jumps and table tops. There are also two lines of hits for more experienced shredders including jumps.

Advanced Skiing and Snowboarding – On-Piste

Officially, there is only one black piste run at Cerro Bayo. Los Lagos is marked as a piste run and as the name suggests, provides great views of the lake. Los Lagos is also an off-piste area, and the lines between piste skiing and off-piste skiing in the open zones are very blurred at Cerro Bayo.

Off-Piste Skiing Cerro Bayo

The trail map also indicates various off-piste runs but there are plenty of other great lines too.

In addition to some of the cruisy tree skiing off the Bosque chair, you can drop into this region higher from off the Lenga chair for some bowl skiing or steeper tighter trees.

The alpine areas of Cerro Bayo provide fantastic off-piste options. The Los Lagos double chair and the Lenga chair provide short but very sweet lines to the skiers’ left of the chair/s. Skiers’ right of the lift borders more towards expert terrain due to the pitch of the slope near the ridge (albeit only briefly steep), and if you leap off the cornice that typically forms, it definitely becomes expert terrain.

A fantastic off-piste area is the Provinciales to the skiers’ left of the top gondola. It was previously hike-to sidecountry terrain and it still is when the gondola is (frequently) closed, which obviously leads to fresh tracks lasting much longer. As this terrain is above the treeline, you see what you get. There are advanced lines in open bowls, and lines through rock features that range from expert to extreme (in part depending on the snow cover). When conditions permit, this area is the piece de resistance of Cerro Bayo!

Even though the Provinciales area is semi-patrolled and has named runs on the trail map, it should be treated like the backcountry because avalanche risk is ever present, so riders should have the know-how and appropriate equipment before heading out there. You may want a guide to help with route finding and awareness of avalanche conditions.

For some gnarly “in-bounds” tree skiing, cross the beginners poma line and head down the front side of the mountain to the Panoramica trail. The terrain is littered with small cliffs and it’s steep; small cliffs and shit your pants sort of steep! This area has a fair bit of bamboo so decent snow cover is required.

Cerro Bayo Backcountry (Sidecountry)

Cerro Bayo has some amazing sidecountry and backcountry if you push further out skiers’ left. There is also some great backcountry over the back that hooks around into Los Lagos area. Having a guide is quite helpful, especially for egress management, and some of the multi-resort tours of Patagonia head into the Cerro Bayo sidecountry and backcountry.

Cerro Bayo Ski Season

The Cerro Bayo ski season typically starts in late June or early July and runs until late September to early October. The best snow is usually from the middle of July to the end of August, and you also want to visit during this time because otherwise the resort may start closing lifts if it’s not busy enough.