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View of the valley
|Elevation||3,430 m (11,253 ft)|
|Location||Mendoza, Cuyo, Argentina|
Las Leñas is one of the largest Andean ski resorts in Argentina, located in the western part of Mendoza Province, together with Cerro Catedral in San Carlos de Bariloche, Rio Negro province. It is well known for its powder snow, good climate and excellent opportunities for extreme and off-piste skiing. Construction of the ski center began January 1983, and by July 1983 it opened with a hotel of 300 beds. The ski area has a good diversity of slopes ranging from very easy to extreme, including a good range of off-piste areas apt for extreme skiing. The skiable area base starts at an altitude of 2,240 m above mean sea level (7,350 feet) and goes up to 3,430 m (11,253 ft) for a total drop of 1,200 m (3,937 ft). The skiable surface amounts to 2.3 km2 (1 sq mi), with 27 runs and a maximum non-stop skiable distance of 7 km (4 mi) (not including off run alternatives). The total ski area reachable by land is the largest in South America.
The skiing season lasts from mid June to mid October although the lasts season they use to close in mid September. The center is also open during the southern hemisphere summer for mountain activities including mountain biking, horse riding, climbing and other activities.
The ski center includes a ski and snowboard school for all ages and childcare facilities. Specific workshops are also offered at the school to profit from the huge expanses of off-piste runs offered by the area.
The accommodations available on-site include hotels (mostly up-scale), apartment hotels and sleep houses. There is a small shopping center that includes a bank, ski-related shops, chocolate shops, souvenir shops, and a supermarket. Coffee houses, restaurants, and night clubs complete the commercial offer.
Being far away from large cities, the center is seldom crowded except during weekends, making the lines on the lifts usually shorter than in other ski centers of Argentina.
Las Leñas is located 1,200 km (750 mi) from Buenos Aires, and can be reached by car, bus or airplane. Aeroplanes make use of the Comodoro D. Ricardo Salomón Airport near Malargüe (only private aeroplanes or chartered flights), some 95 km from Las Leñas, and the Suboficial Aytes Germano Airport near San Rafael (regular domestic flights) where buses make the connection with Las Leñas.
The road to Las Leñas is paved and seldom blocked by snow, although bad weather or poor surface conditions can sometimes lead to its being temporarily closed by the Gendarmería (border guards). Vehicles are required to use snow chains unless they are equipped with appropriate tires for snow and ice.
- Base: 2,240 m
- Mid-mountain: 2,835 m
- Top: 3,430 m
- Vertical drop: 1,230 m
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