The majority of the region’s visitors arrive during the summer (Dec–Feb), when places such as Ushuaia can get very busy. The best time to visit is between late March and the end of April, when the mountains and hills are daubed with the spectacular autumnal colours of the Nothofagus southern beech. Springtime (Oct to mid-Nov) is also beautiful, if rather windy. For winter sports, you need to head for Ushuaia between June and August; the area is good for cross-country skiing, especially around Sierra Alvear, though the downhill facilities are best suited to beginners and intermediates. The climate here is generally not as severe as you may expect, and temperatures rarely reach the extremes of mainland continental areas of Patagonia, though you’ll need to be prepared for blizzards and icy winds at any time of year.