Just the name – Patagonia – inspires thoughts of solitude, majesty, and incredible mountains. Patagonia covers more than four hundred thousand square miles, and is located in the southernmost region of South America, spreading over much of Chile and Argentina. Offering incredibly diverse terrain that begins a little south of the Colorado River, and which ends at Tierra del Fuego's Cape Horn, it is home to a number of wonderful ski areas that attract snow sports enthusiasts from all over the planet. Here are some favorites to add to your personal bucket list.

Cerro Bayo, Argentina

Just a little less than 6 miles from the little town of Villa La Angostura, Cerro Bayo Ski Resort features incredible views and is suitable for skiers of every level. You'll find 24 great runs and 9 lifts here – enough to keep you busy for at least a day or two!

Cerro Catedral, Argentina

Situated only 12 miles from the town of San Carlos de Bariloche, this is one of South America's largest ski resorts, featuring 62 miles of runs and 600 hectares of skiable terrain. Cerro Cathedral hosts international competitions and starts its season early thanks to snowmaking equipment.

Chapelco, Argentina

Just 11 miles from the beautiful city of San Martin de lo Andes, and world reowned as a safe and reliable ski resort, Chapelco offers beautiful panoramas and excellent snow.

La Hoya, Argentina

The powder starts to fly early at La Hoya – located 1,350 meters above sea level, the winter sports season here usually begins in June. Offering alpine and nordic skiing, plus randonee skiing and a wealth of off-piste opportunities where the snow is deep, La Hoya Ski Resort also features snowmobiling and other fun diversions.

Skiing Outside of Patagonia

More ski areas to check out in Argentina as well as Chile:

Las Lenas, Argentina

One of the largest ski areas in Argentina, Las Lenas is located in Mendoza Province. Best known for its powder, alpine trails and cross country opportunities, it is also a great place for extreme skiing, although there are runs suitable for all skiers.

Chillan, Chile

Located 120 miles from Concepcion, Chillan Ski Resort features South America's longest run, and offers hot springs and much more. Heli-skiing is just one of the many adventures you'll find here.

El Colorado, Chile

Just 31 miles from the beautiful city of Santiago, El Colorado Ski Resort is connected with nearby Valle Nevado Ski Resort. Special tickets for accessing multiple resorts are available.

El Portillo, Chile

The oldest and most prestigious of Patagonia's ski resorts, El Portillo has been popular since the 1930's. Offering exceptional snow, a museum, and much more, is just 25 miles from the base of Mount Aconcagua, the tallest of all South America's peaks.

Valle Nevado, Chile

Interconnected with El Colorado and La Parva, Valley Nevado features 34 trails and is the most modern of Patagonia's ski resorts. With a new gondola and several other upgrades, it is an international favorite on a grand scale.

Offering summer ski options during the southern winter, Patagonia offers an incredible experience you will never forget. With so many great resorts to choose from, you might find yourself scheduling annual trips to the land where the powder is perfect.

Source by John A. Stillman