LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 58
Pags. 50 - 53
By: Soledad Gil
Photos: Carolina Aldao
Nobody can believe their eyes. There hasn't been this amount of snow at the foot of the Cerro for years. It's wonderful. Everything is in place. Everything has a reason to be there. Instead of looking at each other in boredom, the owners of the shops shovel the snow away from their shop fronts every day.
The Catalina Reynal square, the big rectangle where small children are taught the basics of skiing, is back in action with a sign reading "Skis Only". The chair lifts return empty. And boots are worn from morning to night. Maria y el Lobo is one of the new features of this season. It is somewhat hidden away, just a few steps from the church, next to the telephone antenna.
It has been completely redecorated in bright pink and blue to contrast with the bright white outdoors. Emiliano D'Allessandro is in charge of the concise but perfectly adequate menu. There is also a wine bar with wines from the Los Cerros de San Juan bodega, and catering provided by Lucky Site. And there is a new, ultra modern mountain shelter at the exit of Aerosillas Militates that the Maria group is managing with Hernán Amorrortu.
There are more novelties on the Alta Patagonia side. Ernesto Schilling built a 140sq metre restaurant, which, if it is possible, improves upon the already fantastic views of the traditional Lynch, which is becoming the favourite of the non-skiers who arrive there by cable car or chair lift. Lía Petroccelli also
renovated another classic in the region, El Barrilete. But it is still exclusively for skiers.
At the base, with its great pastas and "parrilla" as always are El Rodeo and the food patio in Las Terrazas shopping mall at the exit to the sextuple chairlift. On the Robles side, Tage at the base, La Hoya beside the cable car, the Punta Princesa and the Plaza Oertle are all celebrating their 9th anniversary.
An action packed evening with ingredients of romanticism and adventure awaits you at Ricardo Sternberg's restaurant La Cueva. You can only reach it on snow-mobile, after a 20 minute journey along a well signposted snow path from the village.
It is a few metres from the Amancay slope, never opened by Robles. In daylight you can appreciate the splendid view, but at night it is a different story. There is no electric light of course, so by dusk it is transformed into a trendy hangout, all lit by torch-light and gas lamps, where they serve "smoked" cheese fondue prepared in the firewood oven carved into the rock. This year, its sixth consecutive season, it has a new and welcomed feature: heating! Like everything else there, it is an original system utilising a portable steam engine that was once used to chop down trees.
A word of advice: you must go to the 100, if only out of curiosity. You will discover a toilet that works with hot water (before the new heating system, the water was freezing!), and the decor is something special. To celebrate a successful ski week, book a night at Mallmann's restaurant, the Pire Hue.
That's if you are not already staying at this hotel, where you leave and return with your skis on, and can enjoy the delights of their in-out swimming pool. The decor of the restaurant is in harmony with the rest of the hotel, eclectic but very cosy. All the furniture, chosen by the owner Jose Noguerol, looks like it just arrived from an antique shop.
If you suddenly find that you cannot drag yourself away from a certain corner, a certain view, a certain table.. . it's not your fault... it has all been carefully planned to turn out that way. Even more so now that there is snow everywhere which, far from being monotonous, entertains, exercises and delights us.