Mendoza Stories and Tips

Las Leñas, the prime ski center in Mendoza

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member

Las Leñas is beautiful and expensive. International skiers come to train here, because a combination of three tracks allows them to ski some seven miles at a time. During the high season, July, a single room in a hotel like Skorpio costs $270 per night. In August, that rate drops by 40%, and in September it drops to about a third of the original price. The ski lift pass is also expensive, and you are not allowed to go up without skis. I was given a free pass as a Senior citizen—you have to request it at Public Relations—and then was not allowed to board the chairlift. In any case, the whole scenery is beautiful, and if you walk along some of the few roads towards the mountain (I went towards the La Cima restaurant) you have a fantastic view: you see all the valley and are just under the chair lift. Since I knew that Las Leñas is expensive, although I did not imagine it costed so much, I took a local tour from the city of Mendoza. Andesmar turismo sells this tour at their offices in Espejo street, but you can also buy it at a travel agency in the Mendoza bus station. The tour leaves on Saturday night at 11pm, arrives at Las Leñas before dawn at about 6am, the bus remains open all day so that you can come and rest if and when you wish, and returns towards Mendoza at 5pm. The tour cost me $25, a price that is not expensive at all considering the distance involved (280 miles each way, or 7 hours travel in each direction). There are travel agencies that offer the same tour leaving at 4AM, but there is no point in paying a hotel room for resting only a few hours. Keep in mind that although Andesmar normally serves hot meals on all their bus services, this is a budget tour, and no meals are served on board, only self-serve coffee. So, you will have to pay nearly $5 for a continental breakfast, at an Alpine-style tearoom, with a fantastic view towards the ski trails. There are 29 ski and snowboard trails in this modern ski center. I enjoyed seeing teenagers, and even children, taking ski lessons, and going up the mountain not on the traditional ski lift, but clinging to a rope that took them up the mountain on their skis. Here is a map of the ski trails: http://www.argentour.com/es/esqui/las_lenas.php Following the links on the left-hand side of the page, you have a description of all ski centers in Argentina. Walking around the Las Leñas complex is really enjoyable. Everything is expensive. A continental breakfast—coffee, 2 croissants, and orange juice—costs nearly $5, and some bottles of wine at the restaurant cost over $40. I found a special, chicken with french fries and a coke for $7 at La Cima restaurant and went for the deal. Check prices carefuly before you place your order. To the best of my knowledge, the only bus service that arrives at Las Leñas comes from Malargue, to where you can go on an Andesmar bus from Mendoza, but it is far better and far more practical to take the tour from Mendoza city. You avoid paying hotel on Saturday night and that nearly covers the cost of the tour. There are very few alternatives at Las Leñas. There is no village. Only the timeshare and hotel complex. To give you an idea of the options you have, check this page that refers to summer activities, when prices must be far lower: http://www.laslenas.com/verano/ I am sure you will enjoy visiting this international-class ski center. Welcome to Mendoza

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