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Bariloche, Argentina is famed in the summer for its many hiking trails, the famous Seven Lakes Route and its beautiful and epic scenery. But what about Patagonian winter, that unforgiving and unpredictable season? Skiing, of course, is a huge draw, with Bariloche turning into something of a South American Switzerland in the winter months. But if skiing isn’t your bag, what else is there to do? Let’s find out.
Love the snow but hate to ski? Or don’t know how, or just want a break from being on your feet? Well, sledding is the thing for you. Visitors can rent sleds from many points around Bariloche; whether in a hotel, ski shop or any of the adventure facilities in the region, they will be able to supply you with a sled and show you the best routes. This activity is an ideal one for families and doesn’t involve all the equipment necessary for skiing.
Snow, rain or shine, often there is no better place to be than atop a horse. And in Bariloche, taking a trip on horseback is one of the best ways to see the countryside and to connect with nature. Ride alongside lakes on the shore or through the snow-filled valleys crossing frozen creeks and streams in the woods; the landscape changes every couple of minutes. You can select rides based on your stamina and ability, and an experienced local guide who will show you the best routes and paths in the area will always accompany you.
Even though it is still a form of skiing, the cross-country variety is not quite the same. With skis and poles, you glide along in the snowy landscape, traversing the flat surfaces of the valley floor in between epic mountains and peaks. The Cross-Country Skiing Centre provides you with everything you need to get going, and this is a great option for people who want to get a workout without dealing with the perils of skiing, as this is much less demanding.
Hiking Mount Lopez is one of the best short hikes in the region. Taking about three hours in total, you will reach the Mount Lopez campsite through a picturesque trail that will bring you up to a height of 2,075 metres (6,808 feet) above sea level. From Mount Lopez, you can check out the three idyllic lodges in the area: López, Roca Negra, and Extremo Encantado. A 4×4 will take you through ancient mountain passes to start your ascent to the lodges in snowshoes, getting the real winter in Bariloche experience.
A cable car ride is the joy of the lazy man’s holiday. Travel the 2,100 metres (6,890 feet) from the base of the mountain to the higher cable car centre on Mount Otto and take in the panoramic views afforded to you on this breathtaking journey. Take the cable car on different days and at different times to experience the ever-shifting Patagonian atmospheres, and make sure to bring your camera, as the photo opportunities are one of a kind.
Nothing gets your blood pumping like adrenaline, so one of the best ways to stave off the cold during the winter in Bariloche is to up your blood pressure with some extreme adventure sports. Canopy zip-lining is one of the most fun and least taxing adventure sports out there – you just harness up, clip on and away you go! It’s also one of the best and most unique ways to experience the forests around Bariloche. It’s not every day that you get a literal bird’s-eye view of the landscape in this way.
Located 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) from the city in the Challhuaco Valley, Espacio Neumeyer is a year-round recreational facility, perfect for those potentially dull winter days. The refuge is the starting point for a number of activities, including hiking and snowshoeing. Prepare for snowball fights, snow angels and cups of hot chocolate on your return from a day of fun in the snow.