Ski & Snow

Where to Ski in the Southern Hemisphere—From Australia to Chile

Take advantage of the Austral Winter and keep skiing year-round.
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Coronet Peak

It was late May in New Hampshire when I stared down the gully, picking my line around the crevasse and rock-strewn slope below—the snow was barely hanging on after nearly a week of warm weather and sunshine.

Despite it being late in the season, I was looking for any excuse to put off packing my snowboard away for the summer. As I looked at the people around me, dropping in for what could be their last turns of the season, I knew I wasn’t alone.

Each year, avid skiers and riders try to get the most out of the season before temperatures rise and the snow starts to melt. But when spring comes and most skiers and snowboarders take a summer hibernation, the devoted ones head south of the equator, where the snow is just starting to fall. Plan your travel right, and you could set yourself up for year-round skiing.

Below, we share some of our favorite destinations for southern hemisphere skiing, whether you're looking for a scenic resort in South America, or sprawling terrain in Australia. Consider these your best bets for “winter” sports—from June through September. 

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Portillo is just two hours by car from the Chilean capital of Santiago—but it's surrounded by 19,000-foot Andean peaks and promise great snow and slopes. 


Portillo, Chile

After remaining closed for two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic—with the exception of a short stint in 2021 when it was open to domestic visitors—Ski Portillo is again welcoming skiers and riders from abroad to its slopes. The resort, which is located approximately two hours by car from the Chilean capital of Santiago, overlooks the emerald-green waters of Laguna del Inca and is surrounded by the rugged 19,000-foot peaks of the Andes. With just five chalets, two small lodges, and the iconic bright yellow-and-blue Hotel Portillo on the property, the resort only accommodates 450 visitors, giving it a private feel.

“Portillo combines amazing scenery with powder snow and great steeps,” says Matias Silva, founder of Santiago-based guide service Andes Explora who has been skiing in Chile for more than 34 years. “It’s totally isolated from towns and other ski resorts.” This isolation is a large part of the resort’s appeal, with many opting for inclusive week-long package deals.

In 2019, the resort invested $3.5 million in snowmaking upgrades, adding an additional 20 acres of coverage. While the resort is slated to open on June 18 for the season, consider visiting in August, when the snowfall is most reliable and storms are often followed by bluebird days.

Australia's Perisher resort has more than 3,000 skiable acres and seven different summits. 

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Perisher, Australia

Australia’s current ski season has kicked off with record snowfall, allowing a number of Australian resorts, including Perisher, to open a week earlier than planned. The resort is the largest with more than 3,000 skiable acres across four interconnected areas.

Located between Sydney and Melbourne in Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park (the flight time is one-hour from either city), Perisher boasts 47 chairlifts serving seven different summits, with a wide variety of terrain for skiers of all abilities.

While June and October are the cheapest months to visit, the snow can be less reliable during these times than it is mid-season. July and August tend to be the coldest and snowiest months, but it’s also peak season. Consider visiting in early September, when the crowds begin to dissipate.

Chile's Nevados de Chillan, one hour by plane from Santiago, has some of the best skiing south of the equator. 

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Nevados de Chillan, Chile

Nevados de Chillan might not have the luxury accommodations and lively après scene that the other resorts are known for, but with nearly 400 inches of snowfall annually, it consistently has some of the best skiing south of the equator.

At the higher elevation, skiers and riders find themselves skiing big alpine lines against a backdrop of three active, smoking volcanoes. For travelers with experience in the backcountry, the unique off-piste terrain created by lava flows sees little traffic and is sure to hold fresh tracks long after a storm.

In addition to its big mountain feel, the resort is known for its thermal pools and hot springs. Hotel Nevados, which is located slopeside in an ancient forest, features two natural geothermal pools, perfect for relaxing after a long day on the slopes. If you’d prefer not to stay slopeside, the nearby village of Las Trancas offers a number of restaurants, bars, and accommodations.

With the exception of the last two weeks of July when local schools are on vacation, Nevados de Chillan doesn’t typically get crowded, so you won’t have to be up before dawn for a shot at first tracks. The destination is a one-hour flight from Santiago. 

Coronet Peak in New Zealand  has been a ski destination for Queenstown locals and visitors since 1947. 

Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak, New Zealand

When Coronet Peak opened as New Zealand’s first commercial ski area in 1947, it had just one rope tow, providing access to a single slope on a high-country farm. But as the resort grew over the years, it helped shape nearby Queenstown into the tourist destination it is today.

Since it's located just 20 minutes from “the adventure capital of the world,” accessibility is one of the biggest draws of the resort. It’s not quite as large as some of New Zealand’s other resorts, such as Whakapapa or Treble Cone, but for some, that’s a plus.

“When I got [to Coronet Peak], I was surprised [by] how small it was,” says Taylor St. John, a Vermont-based skier who spent two seasons working at Coronet in 2012 and 2013. “But I really grew to love that. Not to mention it’s in one of the most stunning parts of the world that I’ve ever seen—you have a lot of adventures right at your fingertips.”

Buying a day pass to Coronet Peak also grants you access to The Remarkables, which is about 45 minutes from Queenstown, has a slightly higher summit elevation, and tends to get a little more snow. In 2022, Coronet will be hosting a number of events throughout the season to celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Las Leñas is a world-class ski destination in Argentina.

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Las Leñas, Argentina

Located deep in Argentina’s Mendoza Province, Las Leñas is a world-class ski destination with rugged terrain that draws professional and expert skiers from around the globe.

While many travelers looking to discover the region’s five-century-old winemaking history stick to the outskirts of Mendoza City, avid skiers and riders know what lies just beyond: steep spines and gullies, wide open bowls, and dry powder snow on 39,000 acres of skiable terrain (although much of it can only be accessed by human power).

Still, the resort's 14 lifts provide access to enough terrain for skiers of all skill levels to stay busy for weeks. The resort’s higher elevations—which reach nearly 4,000 vertical feet above its base—offer the most reliable, high-quality snow and spectacular views of the surrounding Andean peaks.

When heading to Las Leñas, it’s important to be flexible: The resort is fairly isolated from other towns and destinations, and low-visibility days can lead to less-than-ideal ski conditions. (To get there, fly into Mendoza; the resort arranges transfers the rest of the way.) But patience and the willingness to wait for a good weather window can lead to some of the most memorable days of skiing. And like much of the Southern Hemisphere, the best skiing usually occurs through the month of August.

Cathedral Alta is one of Argentina's best-known ski destinations, just outside of Bariloche.

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Catedral Alta Patagonia, Argentina

Directly translated to “tall cathedral” and named after the rugged granite spires crowning its slopes, Catedral Alta Patagonia is just a half-hour from the bustling city of Bariloche. Its proximity to the city contributes to the resort’s reputation as one of the most well-known and developed in the country.

Thirty-seven lifts act as portals to 3,000 acres of skiable on and off-piste terrain, making it the largest lift-accessed resort in South America. The mountain also offers spectacular views of Lake Nahuel Huapi from above the treeline, combining an alpine experience at higher elevations with some tree skiing at lower elevations.

“Being up there on the mountain, you’ve got this massive vista,” says David Johnson, owner of and guide for CASA Tours, who hosts ski trips in Argentina and Chile each season and has skied nearly every resort in both countries. “It’s really magic. It’s a gorgeous place.”

While the village at the mountain’s base has an impressive number of lodging options (around 7,000 beds), restaurants, and bars, travelers looking for a livelier night scene might want to use Bariloche as a home base. Another option is Llao Llao Resort, a luxury retreat situated on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, on the outskirts of the city.

This resort can get a little busier than some of the more remote destinations, so consider visiting on weekdays, especially during July and August. And if you want to find the secret stashes, or do some off-piste skiing around Catedral Alta, hire a guide to make the most of your time.