Patagonia, Friday, May 29, 2015

On a Sled Pulled by Dogs at Mount Chapelco

An adventure ride that proposes to tour the snowy forests on a sled pulled by alaskan and siberian husky dogs.

We reached the ski resort and took the gondola up to the 1,600 platform. Cecilia was expecting us at the cozy huskies cabin in the forest. She told us we had to wait for a while because the sleds had gone out with a family of tourists. We took advantage of the opportunity to talk about this winter activity, which is becoming more and more popular at the main ski resorts.

Pablo Germann, the owner of this undertaking, arrived in San Martín de los Andes from Ushuaia 10 years ago. A pioneer in the use of sleds pulled by dogs in South America, Pablo participated in Pirena, one of the most famous events summoning both dogs and mushers. After this unique tour, her friend and competitor Monique Bené gave him a couple of Alaskan dogs as a gift, with which he began his activities at the resort.

At present, he has 54 Siberian and Alaskan Huskie dogs, all of them cared and trained by one of the mushers, Jorge Vázques. While I was waiting for the ride to start, I was amused by taking photographs of the children playing with the dogs, as if they were old friends.

  • Alaskan and siberian husky dogs.

    Alaskan and siberian husky dogs.

  • Nordic breeds

    Nordic breeds

  • Loyal, strong and intelligent

    Loyal, strong and intelligent

  • Special for the children

    Special for the children

Direct Descendants from the Wolves

The team led by Jorge would drag the Canadian sled on which I was comfortably seated. It was starting to snow and, as we were getting deep into the lenga forest, Jorge told me about the history of these dogs.

The Nordic breeds are used to pulling the sleds and sleeping under the Artic skies.

The Siberian belongs to a polar working canine breed which descends directly form the Artic wolf. Hundreds of years ago, these wolves were raised and trained by the chukchis, an eskimo tribe from the Siberian steppe. Gold hunters bought a team of trained dogs from this tribe and thus introduced the breed in America.

Then can travel from 60 to 70km along frozen trails and bear temperatures ranging between minus 25 and minus 30º C.

Loyal, strong and intelligent, by 1925, they were the protagonists or true exploits when they transported serum to the victims of diphtheria in Alaska.

The dogs run across the lenga forest enveloped in a quiet kind of beauty. Jorge leads them with his bare whistle and all of them quickly abide by his command. He knows how to be respected and loved because he has raised them, trained them and sewn more than one of them after some fight. Arauca and Gama pull at the head of the team, followed by Rayo and Clarita, and Laos and Fénix at the back. As they reach the prairy, the dogs automatically stop for a rest and to pose for the picture. The silence is broken when another sled passes by and the dogs start barking. Jorge's team remains quiet, expecting a new command. We resumed our march.

It was not long until the tour came to an end and the sleet, which was growing more and more intense, would turn the forest into an even more fantastic scenery. Sheathed on the sled, sheltered from the cold, I would have gone on for a couple of hours more, recalling tales and magical stories in the snow. Now I understood the children's fascination.

Karina Jozami / Jorge González

See more points of interest in San Martín de los Andes

Useful Data

Level of Difficulty: low

Duration: 25 minutes

Timetables: In the winter season, from 9:30 am every half an hour until 5pm.

Recommendations: An amusing ride with the family. Special for the children. Not recommended for pregnant women. Rom the City de San Martín de los Andes, take National Route 234, bordering Lake Lácar, up to the junction with National Route 19, which after 5km gets to the base of Mount Chapelco.

Contact: Bosque de los Huskies
Cota 1600 - Cerro Chapelco (8370) San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén, Argentina Cel: +54 294-4552475
E-mail

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InterPatagonia - Touristic Information about San Martín de los Andes, Patagonia, Argentina: Tours and Activities
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