View of the valley
|Location||Mendoza, Cuyo, Argentina|
|Vertical||1,190 m (3,900 ft)|
|Top elevation||3,430 m (11,250 ft)|
|Base elevation||2,240 m (7,350 ft)|
|Skiable area||17,500 hectares (43,000 acres)|
Green - 15%
Blue - 45%
Red - 35%
Black - 5%
|Longest run||7 km (4.3 mi)|
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 300 bed hotel. 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 1,190 m (3,904 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. It currently houses Piscis Hotel, the highest casino by elevation in the world.
The skiing season usually lasts from mid June to mid October; however, recent seasons have ended as early as 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 town's commercial center.
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 close to Malargüe, 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
Winter Pan American Games
In 1987 members of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) determined that the first Winter Pan American Games should take place in Las Leñas, Argentina in 1989 and be held every four years thereafter, but the lack of snow forced the inaugural Games to be postponed until 1990. The first Winter Pan American Games were held from September 16 to 22, with 97 athletes from eight nations participating: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and United States. The Games consisted of six events for only one sport, Alpine Skiing, with three disciplines: Slalom, Giant slalom and Super-G.
Alpine Skiing World Cup
On August 16 and 18, 1985 Las Leñas became the first Argentine ski resort to host an event for the International Ski Federation's Alpine Skiing World Cup. The first two Men's Downhill races of the 1985-86 season were held in Mendoza and the results were as follows:
|2||Markus Wasmeier||West Germany||25||10||15|
|4||Doug Lewis||United States||21||20||1|
|8||Sepp Wildgruber||West Germany||9||9||-|
|Markus Wasmeier||West Germany||5||(6)||11|
The Alpine Skiing World Cup was once again held in Las Leñas for the 1989-90 season. This time the events that took place in Argentina were the Women's Downhill (Race 1), on August 8, and Women's Super G (Race 2), on August 9. Once again both races started the season. The results were as follows:
|1||Michaela Gerg||West Germany||31||25||6|
|6||Regine Mösenlechner||West Germany||21||9||12|
|Karin Dedler||West Germany||14||6||8|
|15||Edith Thys||United States||7||-||7|
|Kristi Terzian||United States||1||-||1|
- Times, The New York (7 December 2012). "12 Months of Skiing, From Chile to China". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
- OnTheSnow.com Overview page for Las Leñas
- Nelson, Janet (20 August 1989). "Choice of Slopes in South America". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
- "Las Lenas Ski Resort -- Argentina, South America". laslenasvacations.com. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
- Gross, Matt (2006-07-09). "Chasing Snow South in Argentina". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
- Lochner, Bob (1989-03-25). "Skiing : Skiers Are Running Out Before the Snow Does". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Las Leñas.|
- Las Leñas: maps, weather, hotels and webcam
- Las Leñas official web site
- OnTheSnow.com snow report for Las Leñas
- Hotels and Cabins in Los Molles, Mendoza?
- Las Leñas: How to get there, resort review, hotel packages and snow forecast