Need a break from the big city? View 42-hour itineraries from 13 cities.More
Skiers bound for Mendoza's resorts arrive from early July through September at the airports of Mendoza or San Rafael (the latter for Las Leñas only). Los Penitentes is a medium-size ski area that attracts mostly Argentines, particularly Mendocinos who can drive up for a day. Vallecitos, the province's oldest ski center, is where most Mendocinos made their first turns.
Los Penitentes. Named for the rock formations that resemble penitent monks, this medium-size ski area attracts mostly Argentines and is a popular day-trip destination for Mendocinos. Despite the elevation—2,580 meters (8,465 feet) at the base and 3,194 meters (10,479 feet) at the top—the snow here is often thin, so check weather reports before coming. When it does snow, the danger of avalanches is severe. The base village has hotels, restaurants, bars, discos, medical services, a ski school, and guides. Facilities: 700-meter (2,300-foot) vertical drop; 300 hectares (741 acres); 20% beginner, 30% intermediate, 50% advanced; two double chairs, one T-bar, five surface lifts. Cross-country ski trails, extreme and off-piste snocat skiing, sledding, and pato (snow polo). Lessons and Programs: Ski school, mountain guides, and a children's school and day care. Lift Tickets: Adults from 300 pesos a day in high season Rentals: Rental shops at the base area. 153 km (95 mi) northwest of Mendoza on RN7, Mendoza, 5553. 261/429–9953 or 262/442-0356. Winter (depending on snow conditions).