Las Leñas Travel Guide
Las Lenas © Siegfried Josef Grabner
The biggest ski resort in Argentina, Las Leñas is nestled high in a valley south of Mendoza City. Possibly the most famous ski resort in South America, the resort opened in 1983 and attracts thrill-seeking skiers and daredevils to its extreme runs. Las Leñas is renowned for its beauty as well as its challenge, and much ski photography is done there.
The village of Las Leñas is mostly self-contained, with a number of shops, bars and restaurants and a few hotels; however the nightlife is nearly as famous as the skiing! Its isolated location means the nearest towns, San Rafael and Malargue, are several hours' drive away.
Advanced skiers will be in paradise at Las Leñas. There are many extreme slopes towards the top of the peaks, and a total absence of trees leaves plenty of room for creative detours. There are plenty of intermediate and beginner runs as well lower down. It should be noted that all but the beginner slopes shut down completely when the snow and wind picks up. There are several skiing and snowboarding schools that offer great children and family classes.
The shopping in Las Leñas is concentrated in La Piramide shopping centre, which has stores providing basics like skiing equipment, clothing and film; and also delicious Patagonian chocolate, which is a popular souvenir from Argentina.
The resort is small and isolated, so most of the restaurants in Las Leñas are in the hotels. Escorpio has an excellent restaurant serving French and Mediterranean cuisine, while Piscis' two eateries specialise in pizza and Italian food. The Pyramid Building also has several restaurants serving cheaper local fare, including the famous 'Huaco taco'.
Las Leñas is nearly as famous for its buzzing nightlife as its skiing! There are a number of bars, pubs, nightclubs and discos in town, and the Valley Casino stays open until 4am. Some of the most popular venues include the UFO Point bar and the Corona Club nightclub.
Las Leñas is an isolated purpose-built ski resort, so there isn't much to do off the slopes. There is a cinema in town.
Las Leñas is isolated and not easy or cheap to reach. The expert and intermediate slopes become unavailable in bad weather, which can last for two to three days at a time.