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Las Lenas has some of the most challenging lift served skiing and snowboarding terrain in South America. Las Lenas Ski Resort has over 40 miles of on-piste trails and a vertical drop of 4,000 feet. The lift system at Las Lenas, Argentina can carry over 9,000 skiers per hour to the 11,253 feet summit. Las Lenas has hotel capacity for only 3,300 guests, guaranteeing that the ski slopes remain relatively uncrowded, and newly fallen powder snow remains untracked for days after a powder storm. Completely above tree line, huge open bowls and long steep chutes are the hallmark of the Valle de Las Lenas in Mendoza Province, Argentina. From the deluxe 5-star Hotel Piscis, the 3-star slopeside Hotel Escorpio, and the 3-star Hotel Geminis, lodging is available for every budget. There are several restaurants at Las Lenas ski and snowboard resort that serving lunch and dinner. Valle de Las Lenas resort amenities include a mini-market, pubs, and lounges (some with live entertainment), the casino in the Hotel Piscis, and the Ku disco that closes at dawn, gift shops, boutiques, and a medical center.
Skiing and Snowboarding at Las Lenas continues to improve. Most importantly to skiers, the old Juno chairlift was moved down to the lower mountain (Minerva). This has removed an entire sector of skiing from the mountain and concentrated more people on the huge face. Juno rarely operated, so the move was probably best for business, but about 30% of the skiable terrain was lost. A quad chairlift (Caris) has also been installed on the face. This lift starts at Minerva and follows the ridge on the south side of the main face. Additionally, no World Cup races have been held in the 1990s, and Las Lenas has lost its status as an important training center. On the other hand, Las Lenas has hosted extreme skiing and professional competitions in recent years.
The other big change at Las Lenas is the diversification of the base facilities. New owners of the Valle de Las Lenas resort now lease each facility to different concessionaires, including the Piscis and Escorpio (Scorpio) Hotels. The idea is to have summer skiing and summer snowboarding and skiing South America and South America skiing. This program has improved services but the resort remains pricey. In addition, it is extremely difficult to find out information about Las Lenas. Not only could I not learn lift ticket prices during my travels in Mendoza and Buenos Aires, Argentina, but I couldn't even find their offices.
Geography - The Valle de Las Lenas is located at the southern end of the Alto Cordillera opposite the city of Curicó in Chile. The valley runs north-south before it turns west to the Valle Hermoso about 25km (16 miles) from the international border between Chile and Argentina. Las Lenas is just south of the site of the plane crash of Uruguayan rugby players, described in the book 'Alive'. Las Lenas means "the firewood," and is so named because of the profusion of a particularly woody bush in the treeless valley which bears the name Valle de Las Lenas.
The high peak on the opposite side of the valley, often seen in ski area promotions, is called Cerro Las Lenas. Other landmarks include Torrecillas, the highest mountain in the ski area (3,771m, 12,372ft), El Collar, the skiable mountain just east of old Juno, and Entre Ríos which is adjacent to Torrecillas and has a huge bowl that is popular with off-piste skiers.
Las Lenas Ski Resort is known for the extreme winds and fierce blizzards that arrive most frequently in late July and August. The spring months are best for good corn snow and permissive weather. The early 1980s saw 65% sunny days in the ski season, with annual snowfall at the base averaging 3500mm (138in) but varying between extremes from 720mm (28in) in 1985 to 8450mm (333in) in 1982.
Skiing Tips - Las Lenas can be divided into two sectors. The first encompasses all the face runs and includes the short Eros access poma which has night skiing until 8.00pm, the Minerva lifts, and Urano, the northernmost lift in the ski area. The Vesta chair provides access to Vulcano which reaches farthest up the face and is a popular intermediate area. Finally, the new Caris chair accesses a snow-covered ridge above the ski area's central canyon.
More than sixty kilometers of runs at Las Lenas Skiing & Snowboarding Resort provide skiers and snowboarders with descents of varying difficulties suitable for skiers and riders of all abilities, from a height of 11,253 feet above sea level to the base at at elevation of 7,349 feet. The vertical drop of the lift-served in-bounds area of Las Lenas ski resort is a hefty 4,035 feet, with slope angles ranking from 12% to 53%.