Ski season in South America???

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Ski season in South America???

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Argentina
1. Posted by seanmc (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hello all,

I have just started to look in to doing a ski season in Argentena or Chile next winter (2010) and have not been able to find out too much info on what is required and i do not know anyone who has done a South American ski season before.

I was wondering-

1) Do you really need a RUT Visa to get work or can you turn up to the mountains and get dodgey cash in hand work (I have done ski seasons in Vail and St Anton previously and found that heaps of people were getting work without visas)
2) Was it difficult to find work
3) How much Spanish is required? (I know very basic Spanish and am doing lessons for the next 8 months untill i take off)
4) Any recommendations on a location???? (Once again, i dont know anyone who has had South American snowboarding experience)

I am not planning on making any serious money while working hoping to experience some great snow and possibly break even for the season.


If anyone could help me out with ANY info it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,


2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

To answer whatever visa question, the very least we need to know is your nationality. A list of skills and diplomas also helps.

Re finding work: finding a regular, legal job in SA is practically impossible, and has been for a long time. Unless you go as an expat, or have a very special skill to offer, you are not very likely to find something. With the economy going down, finding an illegal/grey-circuit job also is getting more and more difficult. Busting tables is your best shot. Expect lousy pay, potentially dangerous working circumstances, and a continuous fear of deportation, which will be the consequence if you get caught.

Re spanish: if you don't speak decent spanish, finding a job will be even more impossible. Since you won't be looking at anything legal anyway, formal qualifications are less of an issue.

Re locations: I liked Las Leñas and Malargüe in Argentina, which are said to have good facilities. Junin de los Andes is also well-known, but I haven't been there. Wouldn't know about Chile at all.

3. Posted by sdaltrey (Budding Member 68 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

In Argentina you could check out the main resorts such as Las Lenas, Chapelco (San Martin de los Andes), Cerro Catedral (Bariloche), La Hoya (Esquel) and Cerro Castor (Ushuaia). The first three are large resorts that get very busy and overcrowded. The last two are my favourite because they are smaller and you don't queue for lifts.

You don't really need a visa to work in Argentina. You can work on a tourist visa and cross the border of Chile in a day to renew it. Just don't tell the cops that you are working.

I found that it's not difficult to find work if you arrive early in the season (like right now), and get to know some other instructors who can introduce you to the ski school. Generally (in Ushuaia anyway) they are looking for ski teachers rather than snowboarders.

Spanish is important. 1. to negotiate with the ski school, and 2. to teach spanish speakers. Although saying that there is demand for english speaking teachers.


4. Posted by TylerJames (Respected Member 333 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

just show up can be difficult i tried last year but its not easy. do you have any certifications? south american ski resorts are not second rate any you will need to know what you are doing. a level 2 PSIA equivalent would help and spanish is a prerequisite. i would just save up some money and ski rather than work without a visa.

i have an argentine passport and its still not easy.

check out tgr you'll find all you need about skiing in SA

5. Posted by seanmc (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the replies so far.

To clear up a few points about my situation-

I am from Australia (I have Australian and Irish Passports)

I have no relevent ski- related qualifacations (I am a qualified podiatrist but that will not help me in any way over there).

I had a number of different jobs at my previous 2 ski seasons- I have done bar work, restaurant work (Sevice and kitchen hand), cleaning and been a professional driver for the hotels- so i was thinking more along the line of getting work in one of these areas because it is mot possible to work as an instructor without qualifications.

Ideally i would save up money and not work at all but i will be travelling through South America for 5 months before the ski season starts and i have a feeling i will be running out of funds by that time...........hense trying to find a job that will sustain me through the season

Thanks again if anyone has any more info,



6. Posted by snowrat (Budding Member 16 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Seanmc

As local labour is fairly cheap it is hard to find anything meaningful even with a visa and knowing some Spanish. Having worked in the South American ski market for 8 years, my advice would be to work a few extra weeks before you get there and spend your time skiing/snowboarding when in the mountains. Your best bet would be to find an job en route to Argentina or Chile perhaps as an English teacher.

There is some more information regarding the situation here -snip-


[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

7. Posted by seanmc (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all your replies so far.

Looks as though the consensus is that work will be difficult to find and not worth my while anyway.
Seeing as work will be unlikely, i need consider formulating a daily budget for my time there-
With that in mind, does anyone have a rough estimate on long term accomadtion types and prices in the towns surrounding the ski feilds?
The 2 places I am considering at the moment are Cerro Catedral (Argentina) or Termas de Chillan (Chile)- i understand both these resorts have neighbouring towns where you can find cheaper accommadation.

Thanks again,
I hope some one has had some experience in the areas,
Any further info or thoughts would be greatly appreciated,


8. Posted by snowrat (Budding Member 16 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Cerro Catedral has more options and cheaper than any of the towns near to resorts in Chile. Near Termas de Chillán there is only a very small village and little transport to the mountain. having said that I lived there for 3 seasons!
Bariloche is a town in it's own right with lots of hostels and other people to share places with for very few $.
Bariloche is also nearer to other ski resorts if you want some variety.
Getting a ski pass for the season is definitely the best way to keep costs down as day and week passes can be very expensive for foreigners.
Las Lenas and Chapelco in Argentina also have some cheap options.
Get in touch through our website where there are telephone numbers if you want to chat about this.
I put packages and tours together for our clients but for seasonaires I am happy to supply you the information you need to do this independently. I have in depth detailed knowledge of all your options down there but it would take an age to write it all down and there is information I would not want in the public domain.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

9. Posted by Jamiecooper (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi Guys,

I enjoyed the info on here.
I'm unsure where to head yet but I'm looking for a good all round resort with hopefully very cheap long term accommodation. I plan to stay for the whole season but can't seem to find whole season passes for any resort even prices from 2016 to compare?

Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance,