Trekking in snowshoes in Cerro Lopez, Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina
Winter time is pretty popular around here. All the seasons have their magic, but winter is what Bariloche was built around. The ski center on Cerro Catedral is the largest in all South America hosting up to 10,000 skiers in one day. This was the skiing mecca in its day. In the latest years, there hasn’t been the amount of snow it takes to cover the whole mountain and draw the crowds for skiing alone. The top part is almost always open, but the pull for skiing isn’t what it used to be. So the people in the tourist industry have started coming up with alternative snow options. A new company called Andesmita has come up with in my opinion, one of the funnest and most beautiful options yet, a snow shoeing excursion up to the peaks of Cerro Lopez called “Entre Raquetas y Condores” (there’s that ugly bird again!). The day starts early in a neighborhood called Colonia Suiza. From there the group will take a Defender up the 4×4 path to Refugio Extremo Encantado. There is the taking off point where you get your snow shoes, poles, and lessons. Then the trek starts, guided by the charismatic Juan Carlos, or Juanca for short. The trail isn’t super difficult, but there is the extra effort of walking in the snow shoes.
As you are climbing up, you begin to enjoy amazing views as you reach the peaks. At any moment, you can see Giant woodpeckers hammering away on the nearby trees or Condors soaring above in search of food. As you arrive to a very nice viewpoint, you sit down and enjoy a pack lunch of sandwiches and sweets. Then there is the option to continue to another peak, or just relax and enjoy the views.
Then, as you return to the refugio, there is the option to have more to eat in the refugio where they prepare a very nice Fondue.