SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES
Every year there is a schedule of special events that starts with the Opening Party of the Season at Chapelco and continues with the Giant Slalom (with the participation of important international sports personalities), the Reporters's Race, the White Party, the "Quito Astete" Memorial competition, the Inter-university Race and the already traditional "Chapelco Tetratlon".
Within the resort you can practice the following styles: Alpine skiing, snowboarding, back-country skiing, traverse skiing, hang-gliding, mountain bike, trekking, 4x4 excursions, swimming, excursions on dogsleds pulled by huskies, trips on snow-motorcycles, horse riding, golf, target practice shooting, etc.
With great expectations from participants, during the first week of September every year one of the most important combined sport competitions in Argentina takes place: the "Tetratlón Chapelco", in which athletes compete in four different disciplines: skiing, mountain biking, kayaking and trekking, over a difficult mountain circuit, always surrounded by a spectacular scenery of snow covered hills and the clear waters of Lake Lácar.
The starting point of this competition is the highest part of Mt Teta in Chapelco. From here competitors have to cover 8.5 kilometers, skiing along slopes, cross-country and even uphill at times.
From there on, they cycle 42 kilometers along an steep mountain road. This is the opportunity for the cycling specialists to catch up with the skiing specialists or to gain an advantage over the rest of the competitors. Afterwards, once in San Martín de los Andes, on the shores of Lake Lácar, participants will have to row 8 kilometers in their kayaks, all the way to Catritre beach and back.
Lastly, all the efforts of this competition will be focused on the running circuit, a 16-kilometer long cross-country stretch. The event finishes in the center of the city at the offices of "Nieves del Chapelco".
This race is divided into two categories: women and men, the women's category being subdivided into those over and under 30 years of age, and the men's category into under 30 years of age, from 30 to 40 years of age, veterans (up to 50) and the "Masters" category for those over 50.
It is also possible to compete in mixed-sex teams.
This great competition is a major challenge for competitors and an entertaining show for the spectators who support them throughout the race.
This winter resort not only offers the chance of enjoying the snow on skis or snowboards, but also a series of other activities conceived to enjoy the mountain to the full which are earning ever greater popularity. Circuits on dogsleds pulled by Siberian huskies along wooded trails, walking on snowshoes, the same kind that the pioneers of the region used to wear, and thrilling rides on snow-motorbikes are some of the options that the center offers every winter.
Terrain Park "Perimeter"
Cerro Chapelco permanently surprises one with its new entertainment options for those who love snow sports. During the 2003 season, the star was the Terrain Park "Perimeter".
Located 1,790 meters above sea level, next to the new Graeff refuge, it is notable for its bright coloring and the intrepid riders or skiers who are constantly challenging gravity in their jumps.
Ski jumps and other challenging activities here are classified at three different levels: intermediate, advanced and professional.
Due to its particular location, on the highest part of the mountain, all four modes may be practiced here: half-pipe, parallel slalom, fun park and big air. The Perimeter swarms with high-level adult and teenage snowboarders and skiers as well as all those adventure-lovers who come to watch and learn before trying it themselves.
In fact, the former Chapelco Snowboard Park Perimeter changed its name to Terrain Park Perimeter to indicate that it is no longer a place solely for snowboarders, but for all adventure-lovers, whether they be surfers or skiers.
It is usually open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., unless the weather or snow makes it impossible to guarantee optimal safety conditions. Protection helmets are a must for anyone under 18 when doing certain jumps and for everyone, regardless of age, at the time of acrobatics.
Cerro Chapelco has its own airport and different kinds of accommodations, ranging from inns, small hotels and cottages to four-star hotels and five-star resort complexes. There are numerous places and alternatives available to rent equipment from, excellent Patagonian gastronomy, regular transfers and everything that a skier or a snowboarder may need.
What is better than to feel yourself flying? Located at Cerro Chapelco base, this facility enables you to practice jumping and turning in the air before getting on the snowboard. It is an original activity, and definitely worth trying.
Before getting on the snowboard, you have the opportunity to practice snowboarding movements on a skate at the foot of the hill.
There are picturesque trails that wind through the snowy woods just waiting for you to ride them on a snow motorbike. Excursions leave from platform 1600. Night excursions are also available.
This is the newest winter sports activity in South America. It was the innovation during the summer season and it is sure to be the additional attraction of the winter season.
Excursions with Siberian Dogs
There is a Siberian husky breeding establishment open all year round. In winter, you and your family may enjoy a dogsled outing through the lenga woods. Excursions leave from platform 1600.
PARTIES AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES
Torch hiking at Chapelco. This takes place every Friday, weather conditions permitting.
Every Friday during the season, Chapelco welcomes tourists with the option of practicing night skiing on the artificially lit ski run 63. To celebrate the event, skiers may, afterwards, enjoy a dinner at the restaurant located at 1600 meters altitude, where a live show makes an end to a perfect day.
"Snow Scoot" Scooters
Snow lovers will enjoy, for the first time ever in South America, the wonderful sensation of gliding on a "Snow Scoot" at Chapelco. Fun and easy to use, it is a device combining a bicycle with snowboards and skis. Invented in France, it was officially introduced to the world at Japan Interski, in 1995.
This is a fun activity for those who look for something different. There are circuits along wooded trails led by guides, to visit an original "ice refuge". This activity does not require previous experience and may be practiced by people of any age.
Trekking through lenga woods
The Lenga woods at Chapelco winter resort, just 19 kilometers from the beautiful town of San Martín de los Andes, start at the base of the ski resort and extend up to 2.800 meters above sea level, leaving the top of the mountains bare.
Their enticing appearance, prompting one to wander through them in the snow, have caused snowboarders and skiers to get off the ski run in order to walk over the deep snow among the trees. However, not everybody can do it without proper equipment. That is why the chance to walk on snowshoes happens to be the most interesting option for the whole family to enjoy the magic of the woods at Chapelco.
Every day, at different times -- 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.--, at 1600 mt, as soon as you get off the ski-lift, and a few meters to your left you will see the Huskies' Cottage, where guides invite tourists to cross the Mallín through the lenga woods, getting to an igloo where they are invited to sample some hot drinks or a regional liquor.
The silence of the woods, the prints of hares on the snow, the spectacular scenery, it all makes for a special experience that is definitely "off the beaten track", and takes just over an hour.