SKI BUMS :: Gay & lesbian skiing and snowboarding club
Patagonia is unforgettable. There’s simply no region in the world that looks quite like this. With astonishingly deep blue lakes, craggy peaks that leap into the sky, and thick forests of pine and bamboo, outdoor adventurers travel here from all over the world to take in its wonders.
It’s also home to the largest ski resort in South America, the stunning Cerro Catedral. When North American summer becomes South American winter, skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels spread out across its massive terrain and gaze down at the sparkling blue waters of the Lago Nahuel Huapi.
And along the waterfront, one of South America’s greatest hotels sits on its very own peninsula. The opulent lodge setting of Llao Llao Resort Hotel and Spa is reason enough to travel here. You might not ever want to leave. We’re thrilled to invite you on our fourth trip to Argentina. Space is limited and this trip will sell out. Sign up now for our trip to Argentina >
Saturday August 26 through Sunday September 3
5 -- Monday through Friday
Llao Llao peninsula, alongside Lake Moreno
Recommended for all skill levels
$2999 per person, see payment schedule below
We reserve the right to cancel, reschedule, or make changes in the trip itinerary as a result of weather or safety considerations or as otherwise deemed necessary or advisable. If your trip is cancelled or rescheduled due to weather, snow, or mountain conditions, or circumstances beyond our control, you will receive a full credit for a future trip. All trip credits may be applied to any trip in the SKI BUMS future. There is no expiration date.
SKI BUMS is not responsible for the cost of any additional expenses that you may incur as a result of trip rescheduling or cancellation (airline ticketing fees, etc.).
To use a credit for a future deposit or payment, please contact us directly.
Through April 31, you may cancel your spot at any time and receive a full refund. After May 1, the following cancellation fees apply:
For cancellations received from May 1 - May 31, $1000 fee. For cancellations received from June 1 - June 31, $1500 fee. After July 1st, 2017: no refund.
In order to obtain our bulk group discounts, we must agree to a very strict cancellation policy. It's the nature of group travel. Think of your SKI BUMS booking as you would an airline reservation; even we find someone to take your place, the cancellation fees still apply.
If you buy travel insurance, you can still receive a refund for a cancelled SKI BUMS trip.
Buy travel insurance. We cannot stress this enough.
A travel insurer can provide a refund even when SKI BUMS cannot. In the circumstance that you need to cancel your trip because of work or health reasons, you should purchase travel insurance within 30 days of your initial trip deposit.
Even if you purchase travel insurance after this date, some coverage is much better than no coverage at all. Our cancellation policy is strict, and after cancellation fees kick in, a travel insurer may be your only chance for a full refund.
There are many travel insurers, and policies are very affordable. We especially recommend travelinsured.com, and suggest you add the sports package to cover skiing & snowboarding activity.
$2999 USD per person for double occupancy ($2899 if you pay in full when you sign up) -- additional options --
$1500 USD supplement for single occupancy
Luxury suite upgrades may be available. Contact us for pricing.
$1000 deposit due at sign up -- Pay in full at signup and save $100
These are the dates for those who sign up today. Pricing and payment dates may change for those who sign up at a later date, if space remains. Late payments are subject to a 5% late-payment fee. It is up to you to submit your payments on time. You may always pay early.
You may pay with any major credit card, cash or check. We use PayPal to process online credit card payments. PayPal is the internet's most trusted online payment portal, and you do not need to be a PayPal member to submit a payment.
If you would ever like to use PayPal to send a manual payment (from a smartphone, for example), our account address is: payments (at) ski-bums.org.
Your trip includes a 5-day ski pass for Cerro Catedral.
You may use your pass for five consecutive days. We’ll be skiing and riding Monday through Friday.
Note: If you or your travel partner do not ski or snowboard -- or you've already got a lift pass -- we can remove the lift tickets from our package; contact us to make arrangements.
About a month before we travel, all participants will submit a Travel Portfolio, where we'll collect your flight information, dietary restrictions, roommate requests, emergency contact info, skill level, and other pertinent details. We'll email everyone and post the link here when it's time to submit it.
SKI BUMS designs our season for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, but we make specific recommendations for each trip. On ALL SKI BUMS trips, we begin by dividing into skill level groups so you can identify those who enjoy the same terrain that you do.
SKI BUMS hosts trips to the Southern Hemisphere each year. Although historically, very few (if any) participants on these trips are beginner skiers and riders, Cerro Catedral is home to an entire learning area here that goes far beyond your basic Bunny Hill. Teenagers come here in massive groups from across South America to spend a weekend learning how to ski. You’ve never seen anything like it.
Intermediate skiers and snowboarders will have a blast here. You’ve probably never explored terrain that looks anything like this, and the simple visual experience offers its own thrill. Advanced and expert skiers and boarders will enjoy the funky chutes, steeps and dramatic rocks that open up into wide open lines. There’s ample challenge here for even the strongest skiers and riders — just ask all those Olympic teams who spend their summers here!
Air transportation is not included. Read these recommendations closely before buying airfare. The official package dates of our trip are Sunday, August 27th through Saturday, September 2nd. All travel before and after these dates is up to you. PLANNING YOUR AIR TRAVEL
HEAD'S UP: You'll want to be smart and cautious about buying your airfare, so you can take advantage of our group itinerary and optimize your arrival and departure days. KEY DETAILS & SUGGESTIONS TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR FLIGHTS Saturday, August 26 Many will depart on overnight flights from North America, which arrive early Sunday morning in Buenos Aires. Ezeiza (EZE) offers more international flights, but Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) has a handful of international arrivals as well (from Chile about LAN, especially). After landing, you’ll catch a connecting flight to Bariloche (BRC).
Sunday, August 26 Arrive in Bariloche, then transfer to our hotel. The trip officially begins Sunday evening with a meet and greet reception, followed by dinner, at our hotel.
Saturday, September 2nd Check out, transfer to your next destination. For those who are joining us in Buenos Aires, we suggest flying into AEP if possible. It’s considerably more convenient to get from AEP into the city. If you opt instead to continue from Bariloche to another destination — such as El Calafate — take note that there are a handful of direct flights from BRC to FTE (El Calafate).
Sunday, September 3rd Many will depart Argentina on overnight flights which land in North America on Labor Day. - - - - - - - - -
Recommended Airlines: LAN Argentina (and LAN Chile) are particularly recommended. It’s worth noting that Aerolineas Argentinas, which is owned by the Argentine federal government, has a history of being problematic. Most who fly on Aerolineas are just fine.
Want to coordinate transfers and air travel with other BUMS who are taking the trip?
Located about 20 km from the town of Bariloche, Cerro Catedral is Patagonia’s most famous ski resort, and the largest ski resort in South America.
It’s more than simply large; it’s undeniably one of the world’s most exquisitely beautiful ski resorts. When the sun shines down on the deep blue lakes below, you’ll understand why. It’s truly gorgeous here.
With a stunning variety of terrain, 40 lifts and an impressive 1150m (3773 foot) vertical drop, Catedral serves up slopes for every type of skier or snowboarder. If you’re seeking mellow and fun beginner / intermediate runs, you’ll find them in abundance here. The upper reaches of the mountain deliver incredible views of the surrounding peaks and volcanoes. If you like a good challenge, the steep craggy cliffs up high will inspire your inner daredevil. After enjoying long powder runs above the tree line, the lower terrain invites you to dash through green bamboo groves and evergreens dotted with balls of moss. The mountain here is really cool. And, quite simply. a whole lot of fun. Size-wise, it feels similar to a resort like Telluride, Colorado.
The snow and climate here are comparable to Northern Cali / Lake Tahoe. Storms typically arrive with massive dumps of snow, followed by multiple days of bright sunshine. See weather, below.
SKI BUMS anticipates what you'll need to know, and when you'll need to know it. We email valuable pre-trip information to all our participants, in numbered Info Packs. You'll need to receive them and read them closely, so it's crucial that you've provided an email address to us that you check regularly.Gmail users: you need to take extra steps to see our emails.
Who's coming on the trip? Find out by joining our special SKI BUMS Argentina Facebook Group. Whether you're simply curious about signing up or you're already on board, everyone's welcome to join this Facebook group. Feel free to invite friends, too -- it's a cool way to begin learning names of the skiers and boarders who you'll meet when we're in NZ! if you decide not to join us, we'll remove you from the group before the trip begins.
In advance of the trip, the BUMS will use this group to share travel plans and coordinate rental car shares. During and after the trip, they share pics and messages with one another.You'll see posts like "who's on the 1 PM flight into Sydney?” and "who's up for fresh tracks tomorrow?"
Of course, weather is impossible to predict, but SKI BUMS plans our trips with an eye on weather history. We’ve chosen a week during peak conditions in Bariloche. Historically, the last part of August enjoys consistent coverage from top to bottom, and new snow storms happen with regular frequency. Typically, storms offer up large dumps of snow over a period of 2 or 3 days, followed by multiple days of sunshine.
On our two previous trips to Catedral, we’ve seen what often happens during a snowstorm: high winds close down some of the upper lifts as the skies overflow with powder. Then the sun emerged, and the highest reaches of the mountain completely wowed us all. It’s magical here.
Our rooms at Llao Llao are guaranteed after 3 PM on Sunday. When you arrive, you'll simply check in at the hotel as your normally would. Please have your passport handy for identification.
Our trip officially begins at 7 PM with a meet & greet, followed by dinner. In our hotel’s swanky and beautiful lobby, you'll meet the SKI BUMS trip leaders and the other participants -- and then we'll sit down for a relaxing meal to welcome you to Argentina!
This trip has a minimum of 10 participants. If we fail to meet our minimum number of registered participants by 60 days before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. In that event, those who have signed up for the trip will receive a full refund.
+ Six night stay at the spectacular Llao LLao Resort Hotel and Spa (Moreno wing) + Five day ski pass for Cerro Catedral ski resort + Three multi-course dinners at Llao Llao + Daily private group shuttle service between the resort hotel and the ski resort + Daily breakfast buffet + Complimentary health club, sauna and pool access + Daily happy hour + A daily itinerary of guided activities, terrain recommendations and and hosted events + Up-to-the-minute trip updates, delivered to your mobile phone + Trip organization, guidance and assistance from SKI BUMS professional trip leaders
+ Air transportation + Ground transportation (airport shuttle between Bariloche and Llao Llao) + Ski and snowboard equipment rental + Lunches, some dinners, alcoholic drinks + Travel insurance (very highly recommended)
+ Saturday, August 26: depart from North America
+ Sunday Aug 27: arrive in Buenos Aires, transfer flight to Bariloche, check in at our hotel
+ Monday Aug 27 - Friday Sept 1: ski and ride at Cerro Catedral, explore Bariloche
+ Saturday, Sept 2: Check out, transfer to Buenos Aires or continue to your next destination
— note, the itinerary after September 2nd is optional — + Saturday Sept 2 - Sunday Sept 3: Explore Buenos Aires
+ Sunday, September 3: depart Buenos Aires to return to North America
+ Monday, September 4 (Labor Day) arrive back in North America
Our on-mountain adventure begins on Monday. After an early breakfast, we’ll transfer to the base of Cerro Catedral, where you’ll find well-stocked rental shops and gear shops to get all geared-up for the week. You’ll find the same high-quality gear and brands here that you’d find at any major resort in North America (Burton, Solomon, Smith, etc.)
Our lift passes are valid for five days. As you explore Cerro Catedral, you’ll identify the BUMS who enjoy the same terrain — at the same pace — that you do. After our skill groups congeal over those first few days, you’ll enjoy more freedom and flexibility to visit whichever areas you enjoy the most.
In general, you'll spend most of the day in a smallish group of four or five skiers or boarders -- but that's up to you. The BUMS are a social crowd, so it's common mix things up during the week, or take a day off to relax and enjoy a relaxing vacation day back at the resort hotel or take in some extra sightseeing & shopping..
We meet as a group for lunches and après-ski. And for three of our evenings in Bariloche, we'll dine together at the resort hotel. The other nights, we’ll have a combination of group dinner reservations in town and ‘free nights’ for you to spend as you wish.
You must have a cell phone that will work while we are in Argentina. It will need to be able to receive domestic SMS text messages, even when you are not on Wi-Fi.
Trip leaders send up-to-the-minute text message alerts with itinerary information, transportation pickup times, lunch locations, weather advisories, and more. Additionally, the other trip participants will text one another to coordinate their plans for transportation to and from mountain. We recommend that you budget for an international plan that includes voice, data and SMS messaging.
On the mountain: you should arrive in-country with all your skiing & snowboarding apparel. SKI BUMS requires our trip participants to wear helmets while skiing & riding. See our helpful guide, How to Dress for the Mountain, for suggestions. The base village at Catedral has many gear & apparel shops — it’ll be easy to find things if you’ve left items behind. Off the mountain: all our events are casual dress. As you can pretty easily see, the BUMS are a casual, laid-back crowd; we aren't flashy. There’s no doubt that Llao Llao is a luxurious resort, but you should be yourself, and be comfortable -- just as you would on any skiing / snowboarding trip.
A few vital packing tips:
+ Pack your skiing and snowboarding apparel in your carry on bag. Delayed luggage can arrive three days late; you won't want to have to buy all new stuff to make it onto the mountain. + Be sure to pack winter wear shoes with a good tread; expect snowy, icy streets. + Don't forget sunscreen for the high-altitude UV exposure, and a swimsuit for our hotel's pool!
SKI BUMS detailed trip itineraries are designed to be viewed on any smart phone. Additionally, our trip leaders send up-to-the-minute alerts that you'll receive on your phone via SMS text messaging. It allows us to keep you in the loop and make smart adjustments based on the weather.
For this reason, you MUST have a cell phone that will work while we're in Argentina.
The incredible food and drink of Argentina will form some of your most indelible memories. Mouth watering steaks, ruby red malbecs, delicious empanadas, famous Patagonian lamb — it’s one of the best things about any vacation here. We’ll design our itinerary to make sure you have the chance to sample all of these unforgettable treats… including Bariloche’s famous chocolates!
Our trip includes three prepaid dinners at the Llao Llao resort. For our other evenings, we’ll have group dinner reservations to feature some of Bariloche’s best culinary offerings — you’ll simply pay for whatever you order. Our itinerary always includes a ‘free evening’ or two for you to relax with new friends or make your own plans.
We can always accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies; you’ll tell us about any food restrictions when you submit your Travel Portfolio about a month before the trip.
We are happy to arrange roommates for you. Typically, half of our participants ask us to match them up with a roommate. We'll ask a few easy questions and accommodate your preferences. If you already have a roommate (or partner) with whom you’re traveling, you can indicate his or her name when you sign up for the trip, and request a room with one bed or two.
If you prefer your own room, you may select a single occupancy. We collect the single occupancy supplement when you sign up (View "Pricing & Payment" below).
Please note: there are only a small number of single occupancy slots available. Singles are only available at the InterContinental Wellington and the Lakeside Apartments.
All of Bariloche’s best hotels are located alongside the stunningly picturesque lakes which undulate through the region. That’s especially true of the Llao Llao Resort Hotel and Spa. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, Conde Nast Traveler names it one of “Top Resorts in Central and South America,” saying that it’s got “one of the most beautiful locations in the world.”
We couldn’t agree more. On our previous two trips to Bariloche, many BUMS visited the resort — simply to see it and dine here — and we’re thrilled to host our entire stay at this awe-inspiring South American destination. Our studio rooms are located in the stylish, new Moreno Wing, and feature breathtaking views of Moreno Lake and the snowcapped Tronador Volcano in the distance.
If there’s anything that will draw you away from the view of your room, it’s the spectacular, huge heated infinity pool, which leads its own top ten lists. It’s connected to a sauna, health club, and full-service spa.
Despite the posh setting, Llao Llao isn’t stuffy. This is Argentina, after all, and the warm friendly hospitality of the nation extends to its laid-back, gay-friendly staff. You may select single or double occupancy. All our rooms can be prepared with one bed or two, and we can easily arrange roommates for you (see more).
Within Bariloche, we’ll rely on private shuttle vans to bring us to and from the mountain resort each day. The costs of our group transfers are included in the trip price. It’s about a 35-minute drive from Llao Llao to the base of Catedral. If you’d ever like to arrive or depart the resort outside the group itinerary, private taxis are easy to find here, and they’re very affordable.
For those who ski or ride at an advanced level, we recommend hiring private guides if you’d like to explore Catedral’s very impressive backcountry areas. Avalanche risk can be extreme here, and you shouldn’t consider venturing beyond boundary lines without a local guide and full avalanche protection gear. Click here for more info and recommendations.
If you'd like to take skiing or snowboarding lessons, we recommend waiting until we arrive in Bariloche to visit the ski schools at the base area and book your instructors. The ski schools here are well equipped, and there are ample private instructors available for hire.
About half of our participants will rent skis or snowboards. We do NOT recommend reserving equipment in advance; despite the chance to save some money, it often locks you into a particular rental shop that may not have the specific gear you'd prefer to use.
Instead, we'll set aside time at Cerro Catedral to give you enough time to pick up gear that suits you. Trip leaders will assist with directions and recommendations.
Want to see the SKI BUMS around the world who love the mountains as much as you do? When you post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #skibums!
Tell your friends about our adventure in Argentina!
As you may have heard, the dollar has been growing strongly against the Argentine peso. You may want to wait and exchange USD for pesos after you’ve arrived in country, but new laws have affected the famous ‘blue rate’ at cash exchange spots. Learn more here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not permit skiers and snowboarders to arrange their own lodging and join our events without setting up a Custom Trip and pre-paying for our guided events and group meals. Custom Trip spaces are very limited. Contact us here to set up a Custom Trip >
During our weekend in Buenos Aires, you'll be able to choose your own adventure. Plan to re-enact scenes from Evita at the famous Casa Rosada, and see where Eva Duarte Peron was buried alongside Argentina's most famous citizens at the Recoleta Cemetery. Explore the trendy and chic streets of Palermo Soho and the stylish eateries of Palermo Hollywood.
Take a morning walk in La Boca, where brightly colored homes once housed Italian immigrant dock workers. This huge city has more than enough to explore, and we're happy to point you in the right direction.
The SKI BUMS approach toward city exploration isn't like your standard tour group -- no one's going to hold a flag aloft, saying "we're walking... we're walking"-- rather, we'll divide up into smaller groups, based on what sights you'd like to see, and trust that you're savvy enough to navigate one of the world's most popular tourist destinations without a lot of hand-holding.
As you may know, Buenos Aires is consistently named one of the world’s most gay-friendly tourism destinations. The nightlife here is nearly unparalleled, and the locals are tremendously friendly. :)
Of course, if you ever need assistance, our trip leaders are experts on Buenos Aires, fluent in Spanish, and very happy to help you explore this vibrant city. We'll distribute a suggested itinerary for sightseeing, along with helpful tips and suggestions to make sure you have fun, stay safe, and see the best that B.A. has to offer.
AFTER BARILOCHE If you’ve never visited Buenos Aires before, it’s an absolute must-see. Read on for our recommendations; we’ll be coordinating sightseeing and city adventures for all those who would like to see the “Paris of South America’ after wrapping up our outdoor adventures in Patagonia.
Our Buenos Aires weekend is optional; you may want to explore other places instead. See “Additional Argentina” below.
In Buenos Aires: we recommend the stylish boutique hotel Home as your home-away-from-home while we savor the flavors of Buenos Aires. It's perfectly located in the hip and stylish Palermo Hollywood neighborhood, the best nexus for shopping, dining and people watching. Home is as cool as a cucumber, with mod mid-century vintage design and a sterling reputation that's earned it heaps of praise from publications like Conde Nast Traveler. We loved it here in 2015.
It's often named the best boutique hotel in Buenos Aires. Our Buenos Aires weekend is optional; participants are responsible for booking their own hotel rooms. If you’d like to find a roommate to share, visit our Argentina group Facebook page.
San Carlos de Bariloche — commonly known simply as Bariloche — is “the crown jewel of Pataonia,” and functions as the entire region’s primary travel hub. All year round, global adventurers journey here to begin their exploration of the diverse area’s stunning displays of natural beauty. Fly fishing, hiking, mountaineering, sailing, ice climbing, kayaking, whale watching, glacier seeing… you name it. Patagonia offers every imaginable kind of outdoor adventure, all set within some of the world’s most spectacular settings.
We’ve hosted three previous trips to the area, and you’ll very quickly understand why we keep coming back. Patagonia is simply enchanting. The Lakes Region features giant craggy rock mountains which spill over into dark deep blue lakes, surrounded by groves of pine and bamboo forests that look like nowhere else on earth. The best resort hotels are nestled within.
The town of Bariloche itself isn’t particularly scenic. It’s a bit of a tourist trap, home to bargain hotels and nightlife which appeal to the college students who make this an annual spring break destination. But the town is famous for its huge, exquisite chocolate shops, founded by Swiss and Italian immigrants who came here generations ago. They’re a must-see. And a must taste.
If you’ve already seen Buenos Aires, or simply want to take advantage of an opportunity to see more within this part of the world, we’ve got lots of recommendations for you.
The southernmost region of Ushuaia is known as “the end of the world,” where the Tierra de Fuego is home to flocks of penguins, glaciers, and even more skiing & snowboarding. Learn more. OUTSIDE PATAGAONIA: