Snowshoeing on the Snows of Chapelco

Not only does Chapelco have excellent ski trails but it also offers interesting options to enjoy the mountain in winter.

Deep winter, the ski trails in Chapelco are teeming with snow and skiers are eager to make the most of their stay. But this time, we went to the winter resort to enjoy an activity other than skiing and snowboarding: snowshoeing. Nowadays, this activity is becoming more and more popular in various ski resorts, but Chapelco was the first resort to offer snowshoeing for visitors and, at present, this activity is chosen by many of them.

Although it was very cloudy in town, when we reached the base of the hill, the sun was shining as a hopeful sign for a wonderful day. We went to the huskies’ house at 1600 m.a.s.l. in order to meet our guide.

Marina was waiting for us, together with other tourists who would also join us. After trying the snowshoes on, and fastening them, we began the trip taking the same road used by sleds. But soon we took a small path leading into the lenga forest.

  • Just beautiful

    Just beautiful

  • We entered into the silent forest

    We entered into the silent forest

  • The lenga forest

    The lenga forest

  • Magic in the Air

    Magic in the Air

  • A contemplative experience

    A contemplative experience

Magic in the Air

The ski trails and the bustle of people on the hill were left behind as we entered into the silent forest. Everything was covered with snow and it was so bright that it seemed unreal, just beautiful. After a short hike, we stopped to listen to Marina explanation about how the snowshoes work: The straps attach the boot to a small plastic frame with crampons, while the heel remains free to be able to walk easily on flat grounds or slopes. “Walk normally, keep a distance so that you do not bump into each other”, she said. After this, we quickly controlled our snowshoes and continued our trip.

From time to time, we stopped to admire the landscape, while our guide told us about the natural richness of this place.

The lenga is a typical tree of this area. It grows on the mountain at a certain height and it is covered with a lichen known as “old man’s beard”. This lichen appears only in environments where the air is pure, and therefore, it is abundant in the forests of this mountain range. We also found a plant known as lihuen which clings to the tree making knots, and whose fruit, the llao llao, was a common food for the native comunities.

We continued up the slopes and across small bridges built over streams of water now covered with snow. Finally, we reached a mallín, a kind of marshland, usually flooded, that opens up in the forest and that, in this occasion, looked like a huge springy white carpet inviting us to lie down and watch the sky. This was the right spot to take "the picture”, and in the meantime, Marina prepared a toast: rose hip liquor and chocolates, both perfect to celebrate our short tour.

On our way back, I remembered what our guide had said before the tour started: “it is a contemplative experience”. It was indeed; and in a little more than one hour, we had witnessed and admired the natural beauty of the mountain.

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Karina Jozami / Jorge González

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Bosque de los Huskies
Cota 1600 - Cerro Chapelco (8370) San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén, Argentina
Tel: +54 2972-411881 Cel: +54 294-4935986

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Useful Data

Tour Kind: hiking.

Level of Difficulty: intermediate.

Timetables: There are 3 daily departures: at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. In platforma 1600, there are 4 daily departures: at 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Recommendations: Wear comfortable waterproof clothes, sun glasses and sun protection. It is not necessary to have any previous experience, but it is better to be in good physical conditions to enjoy this experience to the utmost.

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