San Martin Information
Inserted in the middle of the Andes Cordillera, in the southwest of Neuquen province, on the eastern shore of Lake Lácar, the town of San Martin de los Andes lies at 640 mts, 1.575 km away from Buenos Aires and only 45 km away from the Chilean border.
San Martin de los Andes is part of a natural habitat that consists on mountains covered with dense forests of Colihue, Pires, Oaks and Cypresses, crystalline streams in a natural basin that protects it from the wind on the shores of the majestic Lake Lácar.
Similar to Bariloche but with more European style seen in its architecture, restaurants and shops, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, San Martin de los Andes is the "jewel" of the “Seven Lakes Mountain Belt”. It offers the enchantment of snow in winter and adventure tourism all year long, together with an imposing contact with nature.
Like a sentry keeping watch on San Martín de los Andes, the 1,980-meter-high Mount Chapelco lodges one of the most attractive ski resorts in the Argentine Patagonia.
From the base of Cerro Chapelco you admire the turquoise gem of Lake Lacar far below. Located only 13 miles (21 km) from the town of San Martin de los Andes, it offers both big city nightlife as well as resort-style relaxation. Ground transfers to the ski resort are provided by most major hotels and hostels as part of your accommodation price (If you´re not staying at the base).
Cerro Chapelco has 31 slopes by 12 lifts, including a high-speed quad and a six-passenger gondola to access 140 hectares of terrain for any level of skier or snowboarder. The frame of the Lanín National Park, with its amazing forests and the homonymous volcano standing out from the mountain range turn this resort into one of the most attractive spots in the Argentinian Patagonia.
We recommend a trip to Chapelco for the less "expert only" craving skier, snowboarder or family that wants to enjoy a more overall vacation or cultural experience in Argentina
than just skiing or boarding. Chapelco is one of few resorts in South America with tree skiing. The steep backcountry bowls make for unforgettable runs with epic views of the Southern Andes. La Pala, a long bowl and chute system, which is considered out of bounds, is an extreme skiing or riding option. There are also a series of chutes and bowls on the coveted "south face".
While there is still great skiing and steep runs (even 45º runs) at Chapelco, we find it important to mention that the snow at Chapelco and in Patagonia is less reliable than in the Northern Andes resorts like Las Lenas and Valle Nevado. We recommend coming between mid July and mid September, the best two months for powder. Annual snow precipitation at the peak is 3 mts.
Terrain Park "Perimeter": Located at 1,790 mts on the highest part of the mountain, next to the new Graeff refuge, it is noteworthy for its bright coloring and the brave riders and skiers who are constantly challenging gravity.
Jumps, boxes and jibs are classified here at three different levels: intermediate, advanced and pro (not real pro jumps like in Northstar or Vail, but pretty good fun level of jumps and jibs).
It is usually open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., unless the weather or snow makes it impossible to guarantee the finest safety conditions.
Information Center – Lockers - Changing rooms and clothes check - Repair, maintenance and storage of equipment – Clothes - Souvenirs and film development stores - Medical center - Public phones and Internet access at the base and at the 1,600 mts high station - Parking lots – Nursery.
Children's club: A full range of services is offered for children from 3 months to 5 years old within three categories:
• Nursery: receives babies from 3 months to 1 year old
• Toddlers: children from 1-3 years old
• Snow Garden: children from 3-5 year old
• Getting there
To get to San Martin de los Andes from Buenos Aires there are daily flights June to September from Buenos Aires (AEP) to San Martin and it is a 3 hour flight. It´s included in your ski package if needed.
Getting from San Martín de los Andes, take National Route 234, bordering Lake Lácar, and then turn into National Route 19, and from there 5 more kilometers to get to the base of the mountain.
• Total # of Lifts: 12
• Lift Capacity: 12000 hr
• Peak Elevation: 2000 m
• Base Elevation: 1250 m
• Vertical Drop: 720 m
• Runs/Trails: Beginner: 21%, Intermediate: 17%, Advanced: 48%, Expert: 14%
• Annual Snowfall: 320 inches
• Backcountry skiing: 200 hectares.
• Maximum skiable length: 5.3 km.
• Average Winter Temperature: -4 a 11 C°
• Season: From mid June mid October, divided into low, medium and high season.
• Timetable: Lifts are open from 9am to 6pm.
Every year there is a schedule of extraordinary 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 until the already traditional "Chapelco Tetratlon" takes place.
Within the resort the following sports and activities are practiced: 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.
• Elastic Bed
Can anything be better than to feel yourself flying? Placed at Cerro Chapelco base, this facility lets you to practice jumping and turning in the air before trying them at the snowpark..
• Skateboarding Half Pipe
Before getting on the snowboard, you have the opportunity to skate this Half pipe at the base of the mountain. Remember to bring your own skateboard.
• Snow motorbike
There are pretty trails that wind through the snowy woods just waiting for you to ride them on a motorbike. Night excursions are available.
• Lake excursions and nautical sports
Besides, any one can enjoy activities such as lake excursions. For nautical sports enthusiasts, San Martin de los Andes has sailing, kayaking, windsurf and water skiing.
• Excursions with Siberian Dogs
There is a Siberian husky breeding establishment open during the whole year. In winter, you and your family may enjoy the new experience of a dogsled outing through the lenga woods. Excursions leave from platform 4 pm.
• Magical Fridays
Chapelco has Torch hikings. These take place every Friday, with good weather conditions.
Every Friday of the season, Chapelco receives tourists with the option of practicing night skiing. To celebrate the deed, skiers may, afterwards, enjoy dinner in a restaurant located at 1600 meters, ending your day with a live show.
This is great activity intended for those nature and hiking lovers: circuits along wooded trails led by guides, to visit an "ice refuge". This activity does not require previous experience and it can be practiced by people of any age.
The Lenga woods at Chapelco winter resort, just 19 km from the beautiful town of San Martin de los Andes, start at the base of the ski resort and extend up to 2.800 mts.
At the base of the mountain, underneath the Cable Car building, you will find Ski and Snowboard Rentals in a large, modern area that is specially equipped for fast and comfortable service. The Ski & Boots Storage is located in the same building and there are lockers in heated rooms. There are two clothing storages: one inside the Cable Car building and another one in Antulauquen.
Runs And Lifts
Cerro Chapelco has 31 slopes. The base and Slope 63 are perfect for beginners, but there is also amazing terrain for the expert. Freestyle fanatics and aficionados frequent the terrain park, located in a little canyon area to the left of El Palito. It is specially designed to carry out the practice of freestyle snowboarding and skiing and all varieties of competitions. Lifts can hold up to 12,000 skiers per hour. The Telecabin allows comfortable access to the platform located at 1,600 m (5,248 ft), Chapelco's second base for operations. There are also two-seater and four-seater chairs, Pomas and T-bar lifts.
The difficulty of its 31 runs is distributed as follows:
• 25% for beginners
• 25% for intermediate
• 30% for advanced skiers and 20% for experts only
Ski & Snowboard School
More than 100 professionally renowned instructors and 2 decades of growth put the Chapelco Ski School at the same level as the best schools in the world. They are totally qualified to teach different techniques: Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, carving, paragliding, monoskiing, all snowboard disciplines, and backcountry skiing.
Lessons can be taken privately or in group, according to the skier’s preferences and level, and they can be hired at the mount’s base or at our offices in San Martin de los Andes.
Furthermore, lessos for the physically or mentally disabled are also available. Likewise, the snowboarding school offers the highest training level.
Children may also learn how to ski at the Snow Kindergarten Daycare service is also available for children between 3 months and 3 years old.
• Private Lessons
Customized lessons enable those who wish to enhance technique and surpass new challenges, those who search for entertainment or beginners to experience a rapid progress in ski or snowboarding abilities.
General Conditions: (1) In group lessons, it is essential that all students have the same technical level. (2) Private lessons are dictated within a stipulated date and timetable, and they may only be changed with one or more days prior notice.
• Group Lessons for ADULTS
2-hour lessons. Timetables available in the morning, in the afternoon or all day. An ideal alternative to learn safely, having fun and making new friends.
• Group Lessons for MINORS
For children between 6 and 15 years old. In an ideal environment for learning. Junior Academy, from 10:30am thru 4:30pm. Lunch included.
General Conditions: (1) The minimum amount of students in group lessons is 4 per instructor. In the event that there are less students, the length of the lesson will be shortened and they will have priority in the lines. (2) Group lessons will not be changed by individual lessons. (3) Beginners' groups start on Sundays and Mondays. (4) Group snowboarding lessons for children under 8.
• For CHILDREN
• Snow Kindergarten (3 to 5-year-olds)
Customized for children between 3 and 5 years old, with the right combination of ski lessons,
recreation and care. Helmets are provided during lessons.
Timetable: 10:30am thru 1:00pm and 2:00pm thru 5:00pm.
• Day-care (3-month to 3-year-olds)
Qualified staff. The ideal place to take care of the youngest children (3 months to 3 years old).
Timetable: 9:30am thru 5:30pm.
General Conditions: (1) The Snow Kindergarten does not provide equipment. Children applying for the Snow Kindergarten must be between 3 and 5 years old and be fit to be in contact with the snow (which will be assessed by the staff in charge). If these conditions are not met, the children may only attend the Children Day-care facilities.