Old 17-07-10, 08:50 PM   #1
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
Advice on Las Leñas, Argentina

Hi, I just joined this forum and would like to ask for advice from any of you advance skiers out there who have been to Las Leñas, in Argentina.

A trip to LL has been in the back of my mind (and also in its front) for quite some time. The superlatives that I have read and heard about this mountain, and in particular its higher, off-piste terrain, make my mouth water. Yet, I have also read and heard many conflicting reports on the resort. Being originally from Argentina, I can believe the stories of poor organization, lifts closed "just because", shoddy infrastructure, outrageous prices for what it is worth, etc. Yet, I am still willing to try it.

I am in my mid-fifties. I normally ski Whistler, BC or Alta, UT. I can ski almost any surface and/or slope, from easy to advance black, with varying degrees of elegance or sloppiness. I can ski powder (although I would not like to see a video of me doing so...)

I can pretty much try anything EXCEPT (and big EXCEPT) extreme stuff such as narrow couloirs and chutes with steep angles worthy of a ski film.

And this brings me to my question: Can somebody with my profile take advantage of LL's upper terrain accessed by the Marte chairlift? Can I access the 'great off piste terrain' as soon as I get off the chair without having to go through chutes and couloirs and killing myself? Can I get back to the base without having to go through extreme terrain?

Furthermore, since the Marte chair calls the shots for the upper terrain at LL yet it is often closed sometimes for days at a time, are there other chairs from which I can access other open, yet lower, off-piste areas in LL, again without chutes or couloirs? Or is LL, without Marte, just a regular mountain not justifying the effort and cost to get down there?

Thank you in advance for any input.

José
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Old 18-07-10, 10:39 AM   #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Hi Jose,

I have skiied Las Lenas for one day only and I had the unusual problem of too much snow. They had 60cm overnight and closed the Marte chair and most of the rest of the mountain, so I hardly skiied at all because the only lift open was about 200m long. It certainly has potential but the day I visited it was a bit of a cruel joke. I don't think they have great infrastructure for clearing excess snow to reduce avalanche risk, but then 60cm is a fair bit to clear. I also skiied Cerro Catedral out of Bariloche and loved it. Fresh powder and a short municipal bus ride from a nice town. Your compatriots tend to wake up late (as you no doubt know) so you get the powder to yourself for a while!!
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Old 18-07-10, 03:42 PM   #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Thanks, Rick

Thank you for your message, Rick,

and I know very well what you mean. As you probably discovered yourself, Argentina has yet to discover basic world-class organization. As to cleaning up 60cms of snow, Whistler, Alta, and others have little problem with that. Why should Argentina be different, when they are charging you pretty much the same for the services?

The above leads to the crowds that you mentioned. I skied Bariloche over twenty years ago and was also upset at the unnecessary long lines but, again, I went there during their winter school breaks (any tourist area in Argentina MUST be avoided during those periods!).

Best regards,

José
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Old 29-07-10, 05:07 PM   #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoseNYC View Post
Hi, I just joined this forum and would like to ask for advice from any of you advance skiers out there who have been to Las Leñas, in Argentina.

José
I was there in 2005 and I considered it to be the worst waste of ski vacation money I could imagine. The lift lines were HORRIBLE! There is one area that could be considered expert that doesn't require the use of the Marte but I don't remember the name of the lift. However, be advised that you have to sign a waver releasing the ski area from any resposibility for your safety. That voids their advertised offer that, if you are injured, they will transport you to a medical facility. The same condition applies to the terain served by the Marte. At the on-mountain restaurant, I had the absolutely toughest beef I ever eaten--in a country famous for great beef! I really can't think of anything good about the place. If I were offered a week at Las Lenas for free, I wouldn't waste an air fare on it.
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Old 30-07-10, 01:48 PM   #5
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
Thank you, Powderdog,

I am not surprised about the lines and the overall lack of value of Argentine ski areas. That is, what they charge you (international prices and more) and what they deliver (poor organization, old equipment with low maintenance, and lots of broken promises). It is their generalized approach to the tourist sector, primarily because they are dealing with a captive audience of locals, which constitutes the majority of their client base.

Clearly, I would need more than a week to be there in order to make up for closures and assorted handicaps.

Regards,

José
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