Let me start off by saying that I don't speak Spanish. Good thing I don't really have to. But too bad, because I would love to learn how to say: I love Cerro Catedral.
What's even better about this Argentinian ski resort is that while the Northern Hemisphere is awash in summertime sunshine, it's winter here south of the equator. Here's your chance to ski while others are donning shorts and cranking up the air conditioner.
The season in Cerro Catedral kicks off mid-June, right before it's gets too humid in most parts of the United States. Get out of Dodge now while you got the chance. Skiing season doesn't end until mid-October, so just as the ski schools and lifts are closing up you can be ready to jet off to the Alps or something.
Before the season does end, I want to get to know Cerro Catedral. Everything starts in the city of San Carlos de Bariloche, just simply called Bariloche for short. This is a vibrant city with over a hundred thousand residents, dominated by the neo-Gothic Cathdedral. It's not as old as it looks, built in the 1940's, but it's still a gorgeous piece of architecture.
Perhaps it had to be built that way to compete with the natural beauty that surrounds it. The highest point in Cerro Catedral doesn't even hit the 8,000 foot mark, but it's still imposing. From atop Cerro Catedral is a view of the nearby Nahuel Huapi Lake and the surrounding Nahuel Huapi National Park.
To ski the Andes Mountains is quite simple, get on one of the dozens of ski lifts including one cable car and 10 double chairlifts. There shouldn't be a line, they bring upwards of 35,000 people an hour.
You're up here, now what? Well, there are 100km of ski runs with more than 50 percent dedicated to those with an intermediate ability. The best thing is to take lessons at one of the many ski schools, then you'll be on one of those trails in no time.
What makes Cerro Catedral stand out (besides its Andes Mountain location) is what else it offers besides skiing. Gasp! How dare I mention something besides skiing? Easy, there's a casino. C'mon triple 7.
Seriously, the Tresor Casino is a fun break from the slopes offering both fun entertainment and delicious cuisine. The Plaza Amancy Complex also offers an international selection of restaurants, as well as ski schools and tourist office. You'll find this diddy right at the bottom of the mountain.
Just as there is a wide array of restaurants, it's like that with hotels; right from five star resorts like the Villa Huinid Hotel and Spa (it's got cottages too) down to 1-star accommodations for the more economical traveler.
And just so you know, there are two medical centers located very close by in case of any mishaps while you're out alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowboarding, or mountaineering.
You know what, I don't have to speak Spanish--'cause "ouch" somehow translates into any language.