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Las Lenas Argentina
Las Lenas AR Weather:
Las Lenas is a large resort by South American standards and includes a wide variety of terrain. The ski village is civilized and has basic accommodations, restaurants and nightlife. Las Lenas attracts most of their skiers from the Buenos Aires area who make the 14 hour drive across the width of their country to ski the Andes mountains. Those who are not local are most likely to fly to Mendoza and drive 500 km (6 hrs via hwy 153) to Las Lenas. Beware that the shorter route presented by one's GPS or Google maps via hwy 40 includes a 74 km stretch of dirt road and should be avoided as there are no signs of civilization in the entire section. Even though many would not qualify this dirt road as a highway, it is marked as such. Don't be fooled.
As with any ski resort in the Southern hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite from that of the Northern hemisphere. Ski season in Las Lenas is from late June to mid September. Unlike most ski destinations around the world, English is not widely spoken and the practice of accepting multiple credit card brands is not practiced here, you need to carry a Visa credit card. We would also advise one to carry multiple Visa credit cards to avoid probleams with fraud alerts and temporary suspensions often triggered by foreign travel. You will also find that hotels include breakfast and dinner but that when one tries to save on hotel expenses, the food quality suffers greatly. Expect to eat out a lot if you are shooting for lower hotel rates.
The mountain is large, has hike-able in-bound terrain as well as marked groomed trails. Typical of South American resorts, snowfall is much lower that that of Western US destination resorts so the groomed trails are often the only option as the rest of the terrain may be found to be crusty and unski-able. There is ample snow making at the lower elevations to generate a sufficient base. Where else are you going to ski in July or August?
Summit of Las Lenas: Apolo
Most of the mountain has an easy way down accessible by any intermediate skier. You have to find the challenges, typically outside of the groomed trails. Due to its remote location, Las Lenas is rarely overcrowded but the base and better runs will have lines at the lifts.Note that the trail color ranking is as follows:
Las-Lenas: "Venus I" long beginner ski run
Las-Lenas: "Venus II" kids park
Las-Lenas: "Minerva I" Intermediate ski run
Advanced or "red" runs are accessible from the "Caris" and "Vulcano" lifts. The Jupiter run in the upper mountain is marked advanced but rides along side the Apolo run marked intermediate.
The "Marte" lift line is not marked as a trail but with enough snow and the proper conditions, would make a sweet run. It is fully observable from the lift. On the far left side of the trail map you will find "Cenidor" and "Pluton", one of the few "black" runs on the mountain and is accessible from the other side of its ridge from the top of the "Caris" lift. The upper terrain is home to the hike-able "black" very advanced runs and is detailed in the next section below.
Las-Lenas: "Vulcano" advanced ski run. Under the lift line has red rated (advanced) terrain
Las Lenas is above the tree line - no trees.
The terrain is steep enough for the development of moguls but we did not find any run that would qualify as "a mogul run". The trail map marks the "Caris II" run to the left of the summit of the Minerva II lift as the "Zona Bumps" but none were to be found.
The upper peaks of Las Lenas contain advanced hike-able terrain as marked on the photo below. Snow conditions and the entrance to the chutes will determine its viability.
Las-Lenas: the Apolo hike to "Los Fosiles", "Martin" and "Entre Rios" peaks. Beware, the entrance may have an impassible cornice. Test snow conditions outside of the groomed run to see if it is ski-able.
Las-Lenas: Apolo/Entre Rios peak - hike-able from below or from the ridge-line
Off piste gates are marked on the trail map with a yellow arrow outlined in red. The the most notable and remote are those shown on the right hand side of the trail map from the top of the "Iris" and "Vulcano" lifts. Remember to never travel alone, bring the appropriate gear and that it is not patrolled so if the coverage or snow quality is bad, know that you are stuck there for the duration of the run. The policy at Las Lenas is to sign a disclaimer at the ski patrol office or at the ski school, wear a helmet and bring a shovel, probes and backpack as well as an avi beacon and a RECCO rescue system.
Off piste rules (in Spanish)
There are two marked terrain parks, one for beginners on "Venus II" and the other next to the "Minerva" lift.
Terrain Park at Venus II
The base of the mountain contains the cluster of hotels, apartments (condos), restaurants, bars and service buildings which comprise this ski village. At its core is a single building known as the "Piramide" which contains the only ATM in town and a few stores which which provide the only place to shop. When looking for an ATM, note that it is called a "Banco Automatico". No one knows what you are talking about when you mention an ATM. By the way, its on the top floor of the "Piramide".
The "Piramide" at Las Lenas - the one and only shopping venue
The Las Lenas mountain base. The "Piramide" is located on the right of the photo