Skiing in Patagonia | Cultural Exploration

Expedition at the End of the Earth

Cool off your summer by heading south to explore the wilds of Patagonia on a winter student travel adventure to the “end of the world.” Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Buenos Aires, then venture toward the Antarctic Circle into the open, blue horizons of Patagonia. Explore the majestic power of azure glaciers descending from remote mountain peaks and ski and snowshoe through the peaceful, snow-covered forests of Tierra del Fuego near Cerro Castor.

July 25, 2018  –  August 8, 2018
At A Glance:
  • Adventure
    Outdoor exploration, hiking, biking, swimming, and other active pursuits
  • Language
    Opportunities to practice or learn the language of your host country
Completing grades 9 – 12
US Gateway City:
Cultural Exploration
15 days
Typical Group:
15 – 18 students, 2 leaders
$ 5,490 + airfare



  • Explore art and music in Argentina’s cultural capital, Buenos Aires
  • Witness the power of the Perito Moreno Glacier calving ice into icy Lake Argentina
  • Don your skis or snowboard and carve tracks in the pristine powder of Cerro Castor
  • Hike through snow-covered lenga forests amidst the mountains of Tierra del Fuego

Leader Profile: STEVE BYRNE

Education: Wittenberg University, B.A., History, B.A., Spanish

While at Wittenberg University, Steve studied abroad for a year in Buenos Aires, where he honed his Spanish language skills, studied economic history, and traveled… read more

While at Wittenberg University, Steve studied abroad for a year in Buenos Aires, where he honed his Spanish language skills, studied economic history, and traveled in Patagonia. Steve then moved to Yosemite Valley where he learned to rock climb and ski as he explored and photographed the technical peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Steve worked for AYUSA Global Youth Exchange for three years, overseeing high school exchange programs for students from Latin America and Europe. Upon leaving AYUSA, Steve embarked on a three-month Andean climbing and photography journey starting near Santiago and ending in southern Patagonia. Steve runs his own photography and print business, specializing in landscape, surf, and adventure photography. He has produced adventure sports and active lifestyle images on land and at sea for web and stock publication with clients including Surfline, The Inertia, Camelbak, National Geographic Travel, the San Francisco Chronicle, Shutterfly, and KQED Media. Steve designed and has led Putney’s Skiing in Patagonia program and currently lives in the Sierra Nevada of California, where he backcountry skis before work. He has undertaken the personal challenge to ski in every month of 2017. Steve has led National Geographic Student Expeditions programs in Barcelona, San Francisco, Alaska, Ecuador, and Australia. Steve is fluent in Spanish.


Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Miami, and fly together to Buenos Aires. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Buenos Aires • 3 days • Begin your trip in Buenos Aires, where you get to know your group and learn about the history, art, and culture of this city known as the “Paris of the South.” Soak up the capital’s eclectic mix of European and South American architecture, listen to the beats and rhythms of a live tango orchestra, and savor the flame-grilled tastes of Argentina’s signature meal, the asado. Visit a traditional estancia outside the city to learn about the roots of gaucho culture.

Students ski or snowboard in Patagonia on our cultural exploration program

El Calafate • 3 days •  Fly south from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, a mountain town in the heart of Patagonia. Situated on windswept bluffs along the shores of Lake Argentino, El Calafate is our base camp for exploration on and around the Perito Moreno Glacier and Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Weather permitting, board an iron-sided boat to witness calving ice cascading from one of the world’s only advancing glaciers.

Ushuaia • 7 days • Take a short flight from El Calafate to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world and the winter adventure capital of Argentina. Surrounded by dramatic, snow covered peaks and pristine fjords, explore the winter wonderlands of the far southern forests on skis and snowshoes by day. Each evening, relax in cozy, warm accommodations, reliving memories made on our daily adventures. Gear up and lock in for several days of gliding down the slopes of Cerro Castor or mushing through snowy meadows and frosty forests on dogsleds. Trace the history of early explorers on a boat cruise through the Beagle Canal, gateway to Cape Horn and the Southern Seas, or spend an afternoon hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park, looking for guanacos, Patagonian red foxes, or puma. On our final night, we’ll indulge in a final asado, Patagonian style.

Return Travel Day • Fly with the your group and a leader from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires and then on to Miami, arriving the following morning. Continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Ava absolutely adored her leaders. They were both exceptional role models and the type of mentors that we love to have our kids around.

— Lila and Peter Steinle, Larkspur, CA

A Day in the Life: USHUAIA

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Ushuaia.

8 AM  Breakfast
9 AM  Arrive at the slopes of Cerro Castor to catch the first chair up the mountain
10 AM  Ski the groomed slopes and fresh powder of Cerro Castor with your group
2 PM  Break for lunch at a mid-mountain lodge with magnificent views
3 PM  Hike and ski the dramatic ridgelines of Cerro Castor
5 PM • Drink hot chocolate or steeped mate around a warm fire
6 PM  Return to Ushuaia to relax and shower before dinner
8 PM  Go out to dinner in Ushuaia as a group
10 PM  Group meeting to discuss the day and what’s ahead for tomorrow

Snowboarders and skiers enjoy perfect conditions on our cultural exploration program in Patagonia

What to Expect

Independent Project • Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you — learn about glaciology and the Patagonian environment, study Native American culture, or learn how to make the perfect homemade empanada.

Physical Activity • Skiing in Patagonia is a physically active winter adventure program. It’s important that you come prepared for winter weather and exposure to snow. Participants should arrive with an adventurous, can-do spirit, ready to experience a southern winter and possible snowfall during the trip. Program days are full of winter activities — downhill skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, dog sledding, and glacier trekking. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations • Accommodations in Argentina are varied, ranging from comfortable, family-run hostels with cozy communal areas for group meals and evening chats, to warm, rustic mountain refugios providing home-cooked meals and open common spaces surrounded by views of snowy peaks. Rooms are a mix of doubles, triples, and quads. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals • We begin each day with a traditional Argentine breakfast at our residence. For lunches and dinners we find small restaurants or hit the markets to purchase food for a picnic. Argentines savor their meals, taking time to gather with family and friends at the table, eat slowly, and enjoy one another’s company. One night on the program we prepare a family meal, cooking and enjoying together as a group.

I did not know I would be bonding with so many amazing people! I gained a great new group of friends. One of my favorite moments on this trip was dog sledding. On the sled, there were five of us singing and just having a great time. We bonded so much in that moment.

— Madeleine N. Riverdale Country Day School, New York, NY

Ask Us

Call Kate at 802.387.5000 or email

The Cultural Exploration Skiing in Patagonia summer program is directed by Kate Reigeluth.  If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our summer student travel programs, please get in touch!

Kate Reigeluth

Hamilton College, B.A., Spanish; Middlebury College, M.A., Spanish

Since finishing her master’s degree, Kate has dedicated herself to sharing her two loves with students: travel and Spanish. She taught Spanish to middle school and high school students for many years in Connecticut, and founded an exchange program for her students in Zaragoza, Spain. Kate began leading trips for Putney in 2008, and they included three Language Learning trips in Spain as well as programs in Belize, India, and Costa Rica. Kate currently coordinates programming in Spain, Belize, and Patagonia. When she is not dreaming about travel, Kate loves to hike, bake, and row.