Caviahue Ski Resort
The Caviahue ski area is smokin’; literally considering that it is located on the flank of the very active Copahue Volcano. Sometimes parts of the Caviahue Ski Resort have to close because there’s ash flying over the slopes, but it’s pretty unique to have a ski resort on such an active volcano.
The town of Caviahue sits at the base of the Copahue Volcano along the shores of Lake Caviahue. The town is evolving and rather quaint, and it’s ideal for the adventurous because everything seems very disorganised, even by Argentine standards!
- Caviahue Ski Resort is ideal for beginners.
- Caviahue is great for those who want to get off the beaten track and get away from the hordes at the high profile ski resorts.
- The views across the horse shoe shaped blue lake are fantastic.
- Watching the volcano and listening to it rumble during the night makes for a pretty unique experience.
- Taking a soak in the mud hot springs of the snow bound town of Copahue is also very inimitable.
- Particularly if you avoid the peak holiday period in July, lift ticket prices are inexpensive and Caviahue accommodation is reasonably priced relative to other Argentina ski areas.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
- The Caviahue Ski Resort doesn’t provide a lot of terrain variety.
- There is very little in the way of challenging terrain.
The lift infrastructure is just OK (but better than some other South American ski areas).
- Caviahue ski resort is situated in a reasonably remote location and it’s difficult to get there, so not many people venture there.
- The vistas are a combination of a lunar landscape, an ash spewing volcano, monkey puzzle trees, and the beauty of the lake. It’s picturesque and ugly all at the same time and in part it depends on whether the ground is covered in ash or snow.
- Caviahue is very family oriented but not if you only speak English.
- Not a lot of English is spoken generally yet Caviahue is delightfully un-touristy.
Caviahue Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The lift serviced terrain at Caviahue has 22 ski trails, 325 hectares of skiable terrain, and a vertical drop of 418 metres. Caviahue has 12 lifts, of which most are surface lifts, and intermediate and above riders will spend most of the time on only 1 to 2 lifts.
Some of the lower half of the ski area is covered in old araucaria trees (monkey puzzle trees), so it’s still possible to ski or snowboard in inclement weather.
The ski slopes are largely mellow. The split of terrain is 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 30% advanced, yet in reality the ski resort is best suited to beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
For experienced riders, Caviahue provides some OK off-piste skiing and backcountry touring, with the ascent to the crater of the volcano being popular (depending on the degree of volcanic activity!).
Caviahue has pretty reliable snow and receives 6.7 metres of snowfall per season on average.
Where is Caviahue Ski Resort?
Centro de Ski Cerro Caviahue is located about 2.8km (1.7 miles) from the town of Caviahue in the Neuquén province of Argentina. Caviahue is about 360km from the city of Neuquén, and 1,500km southwest of Buenos Aires.
Lan and Aerolineas Argentinas offer daily flights to Neuquen, from where there are private transport or bus services available to Caviahue, but unless you plan to stay at the on-mountain hotel you’ll probably want to have a rental car
The main on-mountain accommodation is the 4 star ski-in ski-out Grand Hotel Caviahue
. Most people stay down in the town of Caviahue where there are picturesque lakeside hotels and an abundance of cabanas for rent.
Caviahue Accommodation Listings
The ski resort has well established facilities and services such as child care, ski school (Spanish only), equipment rentals, and a few eateries. There is a large cafeteria at the base area with a great sun deck where you can watch the novices hard at work. Up at the base of the quad chair lift is another eatery with outdoor seating where you can have a nice sunbake (and order a miserable looking thin hamburger that’s really expensive!). Or you can head to the Grand Hotel for a grand lunch, or après ski drinks on the deck is rather trendy.
In town there are a few ski shops that rent out ski and snowboard equipment, and various other shops and restaurants spread around town.
Whilst the ski resort accepts credit card for lift tickets, there are many other places around Caviahue that only accept cash, such as restaurants, the petrol station, and activity providers. There is a bank in the middle of town where you can cash up. Possibly related, the internet and data services don’t work very well in town, and mobile phones don’t work too well either.
Skiing or snowboarding at the Caviahue Ski Resort is only a small part of the drawcard of the area during winter. Adventurous riders can go sled skiing in the backcountry areas near Copahue.
There are also other activities on offer such as dog sledding, snowcat or snowmobile rides to the crater of the volcano (pending volcanic activity), and snowshoeing.
Thanks to all the geothermic activity, there are termas (hot springs) in the little town of Copahue. It’s a unique experience to crawl around the natural mud pools like a hippopotamus so as to avoid resting on a super hot spot. The little town of Copahue is only accessible during winter via snowmobile, snowcat, snowshoeing or ski touring.