“We are waiting for more snow,” the workers on the Perito Moreno hill repeated on Saturday morning. wish came true after noon when a blizzard blew up unexpected. Thus, The winter resort located 23 kilometers from El Bolsón inaugurated its winter season for pedestrians.
Past midday, a group of 80 Brazilians reached an altitude of 1,700 meters to debut with ski and snowboard classes. They were the first tourists of the season.
After a brief stay at the gastronomic inn, they took their snow equipment and divided into small groups with instructors. The white wind made learning difficult at times. But the failed attempts, the falls, the achievements and the laughter prevailed during the afternoon of Saturday.
The opening of the season for pedestrians took place yesterday at the Perito Moreno hill ski center. (Photo: Marcelo Martinez)
“It is our earliest opening. We hope that, these days, the weather conditions will allow us to enable more sectors of the mountain”highlighted Julián Rudolph, director of Mountain Activities of the Perito Moreno hill.
In recent years, the winter center has gradually gained a foothold among lovers of skiing and snowboarding, with its 24 kilometers of “ski areas”, on 16 slopes and with 10 lifts and skids.
They estimate that around 1500 people in the hour can ascend the hill. About 25 minutes are enough to climb from the base to the Plateau, at about 1,700 meters high. “So many variants allow there to be no queues for the lifts,” highlighted Laderas, the concession company for the hill.
A group of tourists from Brazil were encouraged to take their first steps on skis at the opening of the 2023 season for pedestrians on the Perito Moreno hill in El Bolsón. (Photo Marcelo Martinez)
Better level of reserves in Perito Moreno
“We arrived at this season with a better level of reserves than last year and with the expectation that more and more people know us because there is still a lot of ignorance about El Bolsón as a winter destination”, acknowledged the Secretary of Tourism, Bruno Hellriegel.
The pre-sale in the Perito Moreno hill reached the most important value of the last five years. So far, yeahe have sold 65,000 passes for the winter season. While it is a similar number to last year, that figure does not include spontaneous demand.
The opening day of the season for pedestrians on the Perito Moreno hill had started with good weather, but after noon the snow arrived. (Photo Marcelo Martinez)
“Last year we received around 50,000 passengers; this year we project about 75,000 passes. The hill is consolidated. In the last five years we have grown by 15 skiable kilometers”, summarized Rudolph.
And he mentioned that some 80 instructors from El Bolsón work today in ski schools. In high season, the hill generates 200 direct jobs.
This winter resort usually receives a national public, especially from the Chubut coast and Buenos Aires. However, This year many Brazilians and Uruguayans are expected. “The profile is always very familiar,” they say from Laderas.
There are only 23 kilometers from El Bolsón to the Perito Moreno hill ski center, 11 of which are asphalt. (Photo: Marcelo Martinez)
The look of the first tourists
Samara Aguiar, originally from Bahia, Brazil, visit Patagonia for the first time. Together with his partner, he is staying in Bariloche and decided to make the excursion to the Perito Moreno hill. “We were looking forward to meeting the snow. We love this place. The people are very welcoming and the food is delicious. It feels cold but it’s worth it,” said the woman, before starting her ski class.
Daniela Álvarez, from Bariloche, was looking for a free table at the hostel located at 1,700 meters above sea level to share with her husband and their two small children who were looking for warmth in front of a wood stove. “We did not know this hill and we wanted to come and spend the day with the family because it was recommended to me. The idea is to throw ourselves into a culipatín. We liked it a lot because it is very quiet and much cheaper”, he stated.
The Perito Moreno hill ski center has about 24 kilometers of skiable surface. (Photo: Marcelo Martinez)
65% of tourists arrive in their own car; while 20% arrive at the international airport of Bariloche, where you rent a vehicle or travel by transfer to El Bolsón. “Today we have two companies that offer the service from the air terminal and the possibility of offering the product changed us to a great extent. We had a flaw as a tourist destination,” admitted Hellriegel.
The 2023 winter season is underway at the Perito Moreno hill ski center and the El Bolsón tourist providers are looking for tourists to choose to stay several days in the town. (Photo: Marcelo Martinez)
The cost of the ski pass
The pass has a value of 13,000 pesos for July (the one from Cerro Catedral reaches 29,000 pesos) and a 15% discount is offered for any person residing in Patagonia. “This value plays in favor of the hiker or the one who wants to ski for the day. It has against that many times, people stay in Bariloche and consume only the Perito Moreno product, ”Hellriegel acknowledged.
Rudolph warned that hoday the challenge is for the tourist to stay more days in El Bolsón. “Before we had a one-day audience; Today they choose us all week. It’s a good start,” she stressed.
This year, in addition to the five gastronomic stalls on the hill (three at the base, one at 1,400 meters above sea level, and another on the Plateau), food trucks will be launched at 1,700 meters above sea level. “The idea is to offer diverse and accessible options to eat at reasonable prices. We are talking about 3,500 pesos per head approximately”, they pointed out.
“We managed to position ourselves as a family ski resort where people feel comfortable. The imprint of personalized treatment prevails. That is where we make the difference”, they indicated.
From Laderas, they highlighted that the track “Leo Rudolph” was approved by the International Ski Federation for international tests. For this winter season, there are three scheduled dates in which local skiers will meet international peers of excellent level.