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Cerro Catedral. Cerro Catedral, named for its Gothic-looking spires, is the largest and oldest ski area in South America, with 38 lifts, 4,500 acres of mostly intermediate terrain, and a comfortable altitude of 6,725 feet. The runs are long, varied, and scenic. One side of the mountain has a vertical drop of 3,000 feet, mostly in the fall line. Near the top of the highest chairlift at 7,385 feet is Refugio Lynch, a small restaurant on the edge of an abyss with a stupendous 360-degree view of Nahuel Huapi Lake. To the southwest, Monte Tronadór, a 12,000-foot extinct volcano, straddles the border with Chile, towering above lesser peaks that surround the lake. August and September are the best months to ski. A terrain park, Nordic skiing in a forest of lenga trees, and online ticket purchasing are the most recent additions. Avoid the first three weeks of July (school vacation).
Villa Catedral, at the base of the mountain, has numerous ski retail and rental shops, information and ticket sales, ski-school offices, restaurants, and even a disco. Frequent buses transport skiers from Bariloche to the ski area. For information and trail maps, contact La Secretaría de Turismo de Río Negro (12 de Octubre 605 2944/429–896). Club Andino Bariloche (20 de Febrero 30 2944/422–266) also has information and trail maps. Bariloche, Río Negro. 46 km (28½ mi) west of town on Av. Bustillo (R237); turn left at Km 8.5 just past Playa Bonita. 2944/409–000. www.catedralaltapatagonia.com.
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