Overall Rating

Sled Access Backcountry Skiing

Sled Access Backcountry Skiing5/53
Sled Access Backcountry Skiing5 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Sled Access Backcountry Skiing - Reviews

Sled Access Backcountry Skiing - Reviews

Unique Solo Ski Experience

Sadaf Ayub24/08/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    USA

Unique Solo Ski Experience

Sadaf Ayub24/08/2018
I decided very last minute (only two days in advance) to hop over from Chile to Argentina alone to attend this trip. As a female solo traveler (who doesn't speak Spanish) in Argentina for the first time, I had no idea what I was getting into, but this ended up being one of the best ski experiences of my life. Kao (the owner) did everything possible to make my stay as comfortable and awesome as possible, including finding me an English speaking guide to translate for me on mountain and in the lodge.

There was another small group of 5 people at the lodge for part of my stay that I spent time skiing and socializing with, but I also very much enjoyed skiing alone with the guide and relaxing in the quiet dome once the group had left.

Snow/Terrain -- I visited during an unusually low snow season and there had not been any recent snowfall on the region. Somehow we were still able to find some stashes of untouched or wind blown powder with the help of Kao's expert knowledge of the mountain. Given the circumstances, I can't think of a better place to have been skiing in the region, and can only imagine how amazing this place is after a fresh snowfall. This place is massive, like a ski resort to yourself, with plenty of variety of terrain. I did not grow tired of the options, I never had to ski over anyone else's tracks, and got to ski everything from long wide-open cruisers to rocky steep faces. I was able to ski a new zone of the area each of my 3 days.

Snowmobiles -- The most efficient way to ski! It was really quick loading back up the mountain to do a lot of long runs (15-20 in just a few hours) and explore new terrain options in different areas of the mountain. Much faster than a snowcat or ski lift, but a lot more exciting! I felt safe and comfortable riding on the snowmobiles with our guides.

Transportation -- Super timely and an adventure on its own. I got a call as soon as my flight arrived in Bariloche and the driver was waiting for me outside the airport. The off-road journey to Mallin Alto is definitely a part of the rugged experience that I enjoyed.

Lodging/Meals -- The hut itself is unexpectedly luxurious for how remote it is. Safe drinkable water, adequate warmth from the wood stoves, and comfortable beds. I slept two nights upstairs in the dome which is the warmest room in the lodge (but without any view.) The third night I switched rooms to sleep in the smaller dome that had an incredible view of the stars at night and sunrise in the morning. The meals were a major highlight of the experience! Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners featured delicious local cuisine and wine carefully prepared by the chefs.

I will definitely be visiting again!

Fantastic backcountry skiing - without the hike!

Deane24/08/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    12-17
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    United States

Fantastic backcountry skiing - without the hike!

Deane24/08/2017
Wood fired heater in our room Great tree skiing Backcountry access without the hiking! Not quite powder-8's, but great untracked lines
My son (age12) and I just returned from a fantastic 2 day, 2 night stay at Mallin Alto. We highly recommend this adventure.

Getting to the Dome
Our adventure began during the insertion to Mallin Alto. Carlos picked us up at our hotel in Bariloche around 5pm. We drove for about a hour out of town until the road ended at a remote ranch owned by Kao’s great uncle (age 86!). They called this “stage1”. During “stage2” we were soon fording rivers that were up to the floor boards of the car. At points we were driving straight up the stream bed itself. “Stage3” started at the snow line where we transferred to a tracked vehicle that took us up to the domes which are perched in a remote alpine setting. It was snowing so hard that we had to wait another full day before we could see the amazing views. Living in the dome was very relaxed and quite comfortable. The food was excellent and the wood burning stove/heaters made for a great atmosphere. However, we would not recommend Mallin Alto for those who have “high maintenance” standards.

Skiing
There are seemingly endless lines with great terrain at Mallin Alto. We had great snow during our visit to Mallin Alto. High winds, snow and clouds on the first day kept us skiing mostly in the trees with a few late-afternoon runs higher on an open ridge. Second day after the wind died, we enjoyed repeated laps on wide-open lines in untracked, light powder. Amazing! In our opinion, a skier who is comfortable skiing black diamond runs at a resort in a full range of snow conditions (powder, crud, wind slab, hard pack, trees) will get the most out of a visit to Mallin Alto. We also found that wide skis were a definite advantage in Mallin Alto’s snow conditions.

Snowmobiles
Kao and his team are master snowmobile drivers which allows them to summit steep terrain and maneuver between tight trees. As other reviewers have said, riding a snowmobile is a thrilling, demanding and active process. You don’t get the same rest between runs as you do on a lift or cat skiing. Our max was 14 runs on the second day for a vertical of 12,000 feet.

Overall
Kao and his extended family/team are excellent hosts. Memories from our Mallin Alto adventure will last a lifetime.

An Amazing Adventure

POWDERHOUNDS.COM23/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert

An Amazing Adventure

POWDERHOUNDS.COM23/01/2017
The refugio / hut The view from bed Hard not to have a good time out in the backcountry Hot tub action Morning skiing
Whilst the snow quality wasn’t particularly favourable to bucket list powder skiing, the overall experience at Mallin Alto was definitely the highlight of our ski trip to South America. It was amazing! Staying way up in a remote part of the mountains, in unique lodging with beautiful food, phenomenal views, and delightful people was truly magnificent.

The trip definitely would not have suited princesses or the unadventurous. Some funny things happened whilst we were away – keep your mind open!

Travel
It took a mighty long time to get there but this was part of the adventure! We travelled in an old 4WD car and stopped along the way at the land owners shack, an amusing legendary old man who lives with the gauchos and tries to make something of the land. They were cooking some sort of armadillo looking creature in a pot, and it smelled disgusting so it was time to get out of there!

The trail became super bumpy as we crossed creeks and rocks. When we reached the snow line we transferred to snowmobiles and an ATV 4-wheeler (thank god we’d packed reasonably lightly!). Sure we got bogged along the way which now provides an adventurous tale or two, but we arrived safely at the warm hut at the top of the mountain to be greeted with snacks and a bevvie.

Lodging:
The main hut was like a cubby house with dome tents (like yurts) attached to it – Kao’s little creation that he keeps adding parts to. This whole experience was uber rustic yet the lodging had more than enough creature comforts to keep us very happy. We stayed in the private “honeymoon suite” (the separate dome tent) which felt somewhat luxurious with its wood fired heater. A definite highlight was the big window that afforded the most amazing views across the mountain. At night time there was a small glow of the snow capped mountains and as the sun started to rise it was difficult to continue sleeping because I just wanted to gawk at the views.

The hot tub added to the whole relaxing experience. It was wood fired and sitting on the corner of the deck, it also afforded spectacular views.

The food was pretty amazing. Our chef (we called him the Argentine George Clooney) was a bit of a marvel at creating lovely food, especially considering the location we were in.

Sled Skiing:
Obviously the snowcat rating isn’t applicable.
We missed the most amazing skiing by a couple of days. A big dump of snow had hit the Bariloche area but then the temps had warmed a little, so the snow quality was far from optimal. As there’s only a little bit of tree skiing at Mallin Alto, most of the snow is unprotected from the sun and elements, although there are some good aspects that are shady.

Not having done sled skiing before, I was a little surprised at how much energy it took to ride up on the sled on the side (and more so when occasionally I was towed behind). Super fun of course, but more tiring than snowcat or heli skiing.

Whilst you could easily do 2000-5000 metres of vertical each day, we chose to keep the skiing to just the morning (when the snow was soft but nice) and then hit the deck for some R&R, hot tubbing, wine and more food!

Value:
On the face of it, the sled skiing may seem a little expensive, particularly considering it’s not luxurious accommodation. However once we got there we could definitely see the value associated with it, especially considering how special the setting was. Firstly there’s just the logistics of getting guests, gear, food and drinks up to the hut. High staff to guest ratios are also required to manage the logistics once up at the hut, whether it be lighting the fire for the shower or the hot tub, or the amazing food. The service levels were very high, and the staff ever so friendly.

Overall:
It was a bit of a shame that we didn’t hit Mallin Alto with primo conditions, but it seemed that skiing or snowboarding is really only one small part of the experience. Being out in the remote backcountry and living it up was pretty special!