La Hoya Lifts & Terrain

La Hoya Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

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

Our Terrain Ratings

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

  • Vertical (m)
    1,430 – 2,075 (645)
  • Average Snow Fall
    4  metres
  • Lifts (9)
    1 fast quad
    1 fast double
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am - 5:00pm
    June - early Oct
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 28
    Longest run – 5.1 km
    Beginner - 10%
    Intermediate - 30%
    Advanced - 60%

La Hoya Esquel Ski and Snowboard Terrain

La Hoya skiing terrain consists of one large conical basin. The upper two-thirds of the ski resort are treeless. This area has some groomed trails and an abundance of off-piste opportunities that are littered with interesting rock features. All runs converge into a mid-mountain hub that has various services and facilities, and a beginners’ area. The bottom third of La Hoya ski resort is essentially two long blue trails with a few trees either side, but don’t get excited as this isn’t really tree skiing territory!

The ski resort is generally uncrowded, especially in the morning (which is awesome on a powder day!). You can drive up to La Hoya Esquel at 10am and get a car park right near the lift ticket office, even on the weekends. Late in the morning a few locals start to turn up, and the prime time for skiing and snowboarding seems to be about 3pm. La Hoya may get busy in the beginners’ area, but there seems to be very few experienced riders, so the off-piste areas are quiet and freshies can last a while.

La Hoya Lifts

Of the 9 lifts, two are detachable but surprisingly they are still pretty slow. A quad chair runs up from the base to the mid-mountain hub, and then a double detachable chair is the primary lift from this area. The uplifting capacity from mid-mountain is not adequate, and lift queues can develop at peak times.

Another double chair runs parallel to the quad chair (and is only in use when they feel like it) and another slow double services the upper part of the resort. The rest of the lifts are surface lifts, but they provide a comfortable ride.

The lifts are open from 9am to 5pm, yet at 9am the ski resort is likely to be deserted. The area is in some weird misplaced time zone, so in August the sun doesn’t rise until about 9am and it doesn’t get dark until 8pm plus.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are amongst the most inexpensive in Argentina (and the world). Adults are considered to be ages 12 and up.

La Hoya Snow

Not too long ago, the statistic for the average snowfall at La Hoya was 8.9 metres per season which has now dropped to 4 metres at the top and 1.5 metres at the base. Who knows whether the disparity over the years is just their unique way of measuring the snow, or whether the snow volumes are diminishing.

Thanks to cold temps, La Hoya snow generally stays fluffy unless it sits in the direct sun. This is minimised due to the orientation of the slopes, and the left side of the resort (lookers’ left) has better snow cover than the right hand side.

The top elevation of the ski area is at 2,075 metres, which contributes to the snow quality. Also the landscape surrounding Esquel is very arid, so it’s not surprising that La Hoya snow is rather dry.

As is somewhat typical of Argentina, the grooming can be very shoddy with fat seams and the occasional chunk of complete messiness.

Beginner Skiing La Hoya

The novices’ area at La Hoya is conveniently located next to the main facilities and services, one-third of the way up the mountain, so beginners have to download the quad chair.

The small dedicated novice area has the advantage of allowing beginners to learn without the distraction of intermediate and expert riders whizzing past, however beginners have to contend with each other. On the weekends in the afternoon the area can be crammed, so in the least it makes for a great spectator sport!

Confident beginners should be OK to experiment on the blue runs as these are not particularly steep.

La Hoya Intermediate Ski & Snowboard Terrain

Intermediate skiers and boarders have 70% of the piste terrain (30% blue and 40% red). Whilst this sounds like a lot of terrain, in reality it doesn’t provide much variety for intermediates because the ski resort is small and most of the runs are very short. The runs on the lower third of the mountain are a bit longer, with the only shortcoming being the slapdash grooming and the potential for it to be icy.

Terrain Park

Cerro La Hoya has a small terrain park serviced by a handle tow that has a few rails and jumps.

La Hoya Advanced Skiing

La Hoya has profuse off-piste opportunities, particularly around the sides of the basin. Some of the best runs with great rock features can be found off the Traversia del Filo, a groomed cat track that runs around the top of the lookers’ left of the cirque for a couple of hundred metres. Beyond that you can continue to traverse for a long way to find fresh powder. The steep runs are a little short, but they are very sweet! Of course you can bootpack up in some places to get a little more vertical.

La Hoya has a significantly higher proportion of skiers than snowboarders, and at least for advanced riders one of the likely reasons for this is related to the amount of traversing required to get to the goods.

You’ll also be unique if you wear a helmet. People might stare at you if you don a helmet, but with all those rocks you want your noggin protected!

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The off-piste terrain has various rocks for hucking off and the ridge lines develop large cornices that also provide some air time.

Follow the skiers’ right traverse around in line with the beginners’ area and a bit more traversing around a few rocks will lead to much steeper lines. If you go for a really long traverse, there are 60 degree slopes near the base area that you can streak down. You can hike up for more challenging lines.