September is in the spring equinox in southern hemisphere countries, but there are still great skiing opportunities in several areas. New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu offers amazing September skiing as well as breathtaking views of a beautiful volcano. Valle Nevado in Chile is a ski resort in full swing from mid-June through October as is Las Leñas in Argentina.
Worth the long trip south, Las Leñas in Argentina is the most notable of these three southern hemisphere locations. While storms often close the upper part of the mountain, once it is reopened you will realise how much the wait was worth. Las Leñas has some of the easiest to access big mountain terrain in the world including gullies, ridges, bowls and even waist deep powder. These vast types of terrain cater to skiers from the craziest fanatics to the more mellow and calmer skiers.
To get to Las Leñas you need to first fly into the Buenos Aires Jorge Newberry Airport from your original destination. From there, you will take a charter flight into the Malargüe Airport or San Rafael Airport. From there, you will be able to take ground transportation to the ski resort. From Malargüe, it is a 45-minute drive, while the drive from San Rafael is about 2 hours.
You can also take a 2-hour flight from the Jorge Newberry Airport to Mendoza although it takes one hour to transfer from the Buenos Aires international airport to its domestic airport. Then, from Mendoza, there are several options for ground transportation to Las Leñas and the drive takes about 6 hours.
Las Leñas has a ski school that offers extensive courses on all types of skiing and snowboarding for all levels. There are also courses on how to ski off-piste for those interested in venturing into open terrain. There is a 1,000-meter beginner's area with a slight slope as well as a snow park with 1,500 meters of jumps, bumps, and rails as well as modules for every level. There is a total of 29 pistes that include 15% green, 45% blue, 35% red, 5% black and off-piste itineraries.
The Eros II piste contains a slalom area for advanced skiers and there is also a night skiing area that offers 2,000 meters of illuminated pistes. Night skiing is available on Saturdays and Wednesdays until 7 p.m.
While you may not think about sunscreen when going skiing, the sun can be super-strong, especially with the reflection off the show. Having 40+ SPF sunscreen and lip balm is highly recommended. UV rated sunglasses and/or goggles should also be worn when skiing or out in the snow. The weather at Las Leñas ranges from 5º C to -5º C (about 40º F to 20º F) so be sure to pack your warm clothes.
Off-piste skiing is a favourite among skiers. However, it is important to follow regulations as is always advised when performing an extreme sport. Going off-piste is your sole responsibility, so looking into what plans are available for ski insurance is a good idea. Having that piece of mind will ensure you have a fun and safe ski adventure.
Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand is the largest active volcano in the country and it is also the setting for those famous Mount Doom scenes in the "Lord of the Rings" film series. There are two ski areas in the mountain, Turoa Ski Area in the southwest and Whakapapa Ski Area on the northwest.
Chile's Valle Nevado offers high-altitude skiing, lots of sunshine, and nearly guaranteed snow conditions. The slopes are power-packed, so they are suitable for skiers of all levels. There are several types of lifts including the only quadruple high-speed chair in Chile.
Stay safe in the snow and learn more about snow safety.
Learn more about what to expect on your first snow trip.
What you should do in an avalanche.
Our guide to saving time and money with your luggage.