Read skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews on Chapelco that rank the ski resort and mountain town on a scale of one to five stars for attributes such as terrain, nightlife and family friendliness. See how Chapelco stacks up in the reviews, on and off the slopes, from skiing and family activities to the après scene. Read up on pros, cons and other comments in reviews left by fellow skiers and riders. Don't forget to submit your own Chapelco review! Scroll to the bottom of this page to let other travelers know about your skiing and resort experience. For more destination information, click Add to Compare to see a side-by-side comparison of Chapelco vs. other ski resorts (up to 10 total).
Reviews for Chapelco
A ski resort's overall star rating displayed here is not calculated based on a simple average but takes several factors, including the age of a review, into account.
All Mountain Terrain
I got a massive snow!!
Best trip in South America and one of the best ever.
I’ve been to USA, France and Italy, Chapelco it was very GOOD!!... Full Review
In my recent trip to Chapelco, I found the ski resort to be poorly run. Its management was misleading, even dishonest, when it came to describing the amount of snow and conditions at the mountain.
I decided to go to Chapelco to ski with my family (after visiting its website daily from June 29th to July 1st to check the amount of snow available, as it was the early season). The website spoke of a "GRAND OPENING" and posted pictures of a mountain full of snow, and only in much finer print did it mention that only 2 lifts were open, without being too specific about which runs were open. Once we arrived at the moutain, we immediately noticed that the pictures posted on the website were completely misleading and most likely taken during a previous season, as the amount of snow on the mountain was not even close to what the website showed and described. The mountain had little to no snow at all.
You could argue that the website has webcams, and that it has no obligation to post recent pictures. However the webcams are placed in such a way that they don't show the runs with patches of dirt on them. Yes, we were naive to assume that the pictures were recent, but if they wanted to be completely honest with its visitors, they would have put a disclaimer on the pictures stating that they were not recent.
They place pictures and state conditions in a way that is misleading. In my opinion it's just false advertising.
On our last day (June 6th), management decided to keep the mountain open, even under dangerous conditions, as there was little to no snow left (above freezing temperatures weren't helping), with huge patches of dirt every few feet. When we asked if we could be somehow compensated (eg: a discount on tickets for another season, or just something small...), they bluntly told us their policies don't allow for any re-imbursement or small little token of appreciation (not even a cup of hot chocolate), under any circumstance at all.
My opinion is that management's only goal is to have people go and pay, without any regard for their possible disapointment later, or even safety.
I heard from locals that the mountain is run by an Asian group that couldn't care less about good service or customer satisfaction / loyalty. Locals are extremely nice and warm, and they are supposedly very upset with the resort's management (apparently I'm not the only unhappy customer).
San Martin de los Andes is beautiful and I would love to come back. However, needless to say, I won't be going back to Cerro Chapelco to ski.
... Full Review
Chapelco is a family orientated mountain with some of the best tree skiing in South America. Its lengue forests provide a unique opportunity to ski non-alpine terrain in a continent where most of its slopes are above tree line. Chapelco also accesses some fantastic wide-open off-piste terrain from the top of its lifts. The resort has a very homey feel with some great restaurants tucked away on its slopes. Spectacular views of the massive Volcan Lanin and Lascar Lake make for a stunning backdrop. The resort and town are quaint and laid-back and small enough to be charming, but big enough to appease a wide variety of interests and abilities... Full Review
Wow, what a view...
My trip to Chapelco was thanks to my affiliation with the Federation Internationale du Ski. As one of their technical delegates I was sent to Chapelco for Argentina National Championship (FIS) races and South American Cup events. Thank you Tom Winters and Stefano Pirola for the opportunity. My transport from Bariloche was thanks to one of the father's of a racer frim Chapelco. We loaded up into his 4X4 and headed north with a caveat...is it ok that I don't haved a driving license? What did I care...it was his country. We took the "shortcut" up the Valle Encantado and over Paso Cordoba. CRAZY? No, just call it adventurous. Worth every time my head hit the window as we bounced up the heavily rutted snow covered road. There is an easier way. Glad we didn't take it. The views were STUNNING.
So, you arrive to San Martin de los Andes by desending past the access road to Chapelo and see this beautiful village settled into the mountains at the end of Lago Lacar. Aspen is not more beautiful. The Chateau Lake Louise is more grandiose but not more inviting. I am thinking somewhere along the lines of one of the Swiss resorts with a lake nearby...anyway absolutely beautiful. The town is very inviting. Plan to stroll the streets, dive into the shops, eat at as many different restaurants as possible during your stay.
Now for the resort review:
Chapelco sits deep in the Andes, a dirt and gravel access road leads to a smallish resort at the base of a huge escarpment. The base area is unpretentious. Just the way I like it. I was being hosted by Club Lacar, one of the ski clubs. My new friend Anibal took me to the top of the mountain right away. More stunning views. We skied a nice pitch about 35-40 degrees off the top and then pulled up at the start of the GS for recording elevations. Then we skied the narrow tree lined runs back to the quad. After a few more runs gathering a sense of the place we stopped at a mid-mountain restaurant. It was JAMMED, and smokey. Oh, I forgot I was in another country. In Oregon we have come to the admission that smoking while skiing just seems sinful...why mess up the effect of clear mountain air. I had to get over it.
Anway, the resort would be a great place to ski if you live nearby. I would be sure to have randonee or AT gear and plan to hike the Escarpment often to increase the variety of lines. When I was there it was bluebird each day but I can only imagine the grins you would get if it was knee deep powder.
Each day since I have been home I have gone back to view my photos. The Chilean volcano Lanin captures my imagination. Anibal hiked and skied it from about 3000 meters. The whole experience just reinforced my motive to develop my expatriot scheme and consider adding San Martin de los Andes as a potential hideout.
Give this place a lick, you will dream of going back.
RR... Full Review
We just came back from Chapelco last week and it was fantastic. We stayed in San Martin and all of the shuttle services to get to and from the mountain were very punctual. We took our kids with us and met another family of four there. Their kids took lessons and said the instructors were great. One of the kids didn't want to ski then they put him in school and he could not wait for the school the next day. Great place to take the family and enjoy some of the best skiing we have experienced.... Full Review
I used to visit Chapelco to ski because a good friend of mine was in charge of running the resort’s mountain restaurants. When he quit, I kept visiting Chapelco anyway because it offered a magical, intimate experience that I didn’t find at other Argentine resorts. It still does. The resort has expanded over the past decade, and our favorite refugio Pradera del Puma has sadly been expanded into a large restaurant, but the intimate quality of this resort remains, and the resort staff and local population are friendly and enthusiastic in spite of a boom in tourism and vacation homes around the area.
Chapelco is located just outside San Martín de los Andes in Argentina’s Lake District in the Neuquen Province. San Martin is a fairytale village with charming Swiss-style architecture and a zoning law that keeps buildings limited to three stories, unlike its urban-sprawl-in-the-forest neighbor Bariloche. The town sits on the shore of Lake Lácar in a truly picturesque setting, and the welcoming attitude and spirit of San Martín makes it a great destination for foreign skiers. Towering above the town is Mount Chapelco, where the ski resort is located. There is no lodging at the resort, so you must shuttle up and down the hill every day, by car, bus, taxi or thumb.
The ski resort sits in a thick virgen forest of lenga trees, a deciduous beech tree dripping with a curious yellow-green lichen called barba de viejo, or “old-man’s beard.” There are 35 runs and a modern lift system including a gondola, and a new high speed quad, plus a base center and a variety of restaurants serving surprisingly good food. Try the restaurants Rancho Manolo, the La Casa del Bosque, or the aforementioned Pradera (which has truly spectacular views).
In terms of snow, Chapelco receives solid coverage usually all the way to the base, and when it dumps Argentines head indoors and leave the mountain open to people like me who don’t mind horrible visibility for the chance to make turns in powder. Chapelco is smaller than Catedral in Bariloche, so you’ll learn the mountain within two days, but with half the terrain suitable for advanced skiers you won’t get bored if you spend 4 or 5 days here. There’s a lot of open-field terrain above the treeline, and my snowboarder friends like the resort’s natural gulleys.
The last time I visited Chapelco my friends brought their kids and they went nuts over Chapelco’s dog-sledding races. There was a sort of “mountain fair” happening that week, and on our last day we descended on skis on our last run into an outdoor party at the base where they were blasting music, and the resort staff was handing out cups of mulled wine from huge vats to skiers passing by. In addition to the fact that it was a powder day, it was seriously the best end-of-a-ski-trip day I’ve ever had.
... Full Review
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