SKI BUMS :: Gay & lesbian skiing and snowboarding club
We reserve the right to cancel, reschedule, or make changes in the trip itinerary as a result of weather or safety considerations or as otherwise deemed necessary or advisable. If your trip is cancelled or rescheduled due to weather, snow, or mountain conditions, or circumstances beyond our control, you will receive a full credit for a future trip. All trip credits may be applied to any trip in the SKI BUMS future. There is no expiration date.
SKI BUMS is not responsible for the cost of any additional expenses that you may incur as a result of trip rescheduling or cancellation (airline ticketing fees, etc.).
To use a credit for a future deposit or payment, please contact us directly.
Through May 15, you may cancel your spot at any time and receive a full refund. After May 15, the following cancellation fees apply:
For cancellations received from May 16 - June 1, $500 fee. For cancellations received from June 2 - June 31, $1500 fee. After July 1st, 2014: no refund.
In order to obtain our bulk group discounts, we must agree to a very strict cancellation policy. It's the nature of group travel. Think of your SKI BUMS booking as you would an airline reservation; even we find someone to take your place, the cancellation fees still apply.
If you buy travel insurance, you can still receive a refund for a cancelled SKI BUMS trip.
Buy travel insurance. We cannot stress this enough.
A travel insurer can provide a refund even when SKI BUMS cannot. In the circumstance that you need to cancel your trip because of work or health reasons, you should purchase travel insurance within 30 days of your initial trip deposit.
Even if you purchase travel insurance after this date, some coverage is much better than no coverage at all. Our cancellation policy is strict, and after cancellation fees kick in, a travel insurer may be your only chance for a full refund.
There are many travel insurers, and policies are very affordable. We especially recommend travelinsured.com, and suggest you add the sports package to cover skiing & snowboarding activity.
$3199 USD per person, for double occupancy (or $2999 if you pay in full at signup)
-- additional options -- $1600 supplement to upgrade to a single occupancy at both hotels
$300 supplement to upgrade to a single occupancy in Buenos Aires only
$150 discount for quad occupancy 2 BR suite in San Martin de los Andes
These are the dates for those who sign up today. Pricing and payment dates may change for those who sign up at a later date, if space remains. Late payments are subject to a 5% late-payment fee. It is up to you to submit your payments on time. You may always pay early.
You may pay with any major credit card, cash or check. We use PayPal to process online credit card payments. PayPal is the internet's most trusted online payment portal, and you do not need to be a PayPal member to submit a payment.
If you would ever like to use PayPal to send a manual payment (from a smartphone, for example), our account address is: payments (at) ski-bums.org.
Your trip includes a five day lift ticket for Chapelco.
Note: If you or your travel partner do not ski or snowboard -- we can remove the lift tickets from our package; contact us to make arrangements. (See "non-skiers," below.)
In Buenos Aires: We'll enjoy a delicious prepaid dinner at one of Buenos Aires's best steakhouses on Friday night; all other meals are up to you. The neighborhood where we're staying is overflowing with very cool cafes and eateries.
In San Martin de los Andes: Our hotel includes daily hot breakfasts in its delicious on-site restaurant; additionally, we'll dine here for three of our six evenings (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday). These meals are included. Other meals will be up to you.
Most of our lunches will be at on-mountain cafeterias and cafes; in general, we'll meet as a group each day for lunch. For our free evenings, you'll be free to sample some of the area's tasty restaurants; if you prefer to dine at the hotel restaurant, that's also an easy option.
Planning for food & drink:as you may know, the dollar will get you very far when eating and drinking in Argentina. The wines of Argentina are spectacular; expect to discover excellent, affordable vintages that don't make it out of the country. Beyond the nation's famous grass-fed beef, the Patagonian region has delicious regional specialities that are well worth trying . Although the country's cuisine is quite vegetarian-friendly, if you're a strict vegan, you may not make it much beyond insalada mixta and the delicious Patagonian lentil stew.
We are happy to arrange roommates for you. Typically, half of our participants ask us to match them up with a roommate. We'll ask a few easy questions and accommodate your preferences.
At Home in Buenos Aires, we've got standard hotel rooms for single or double occupancy. At Rio Hermoso, most rooms sleep 1 or 2 guests. We've also got one two bedroom suite, which sleeps up to 4 guests. You may select your room type when you sign up for the trip.
If you prefer your own room, you may select a single occupancy -- for Buenos Aires only, or for both properties. We collect the single occupancy supplement when you sign up (View "Pricing & Payment" below). Please note: there are a very small number of single occupancy slots available.
About half of our participants rent skis or snowboards -- in part to avoid traveling with extra bags. Rentals are not included in our trip price; you should budget about $200 USD for a 5-day rental. No advance reservations are needed; you can pick up rentals on our first morning at Chapelco. The rental shop here is well stocked with the same top-of-the-line brands that you'll find at North American ski resorts.
SKI BUMS designs our season for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, but we make specific recommendations for each trip. On ALL SKI BUMS trips, we begin by dividing into skill level groups so you can identify those who enjoy the same terrain that you do.
If this is your first and only trip to Argentina, we strongly encourage you to extend your trip. SKI BUMS trip leaders are happy to offer advice, but we cannot book additional nights for you, and we will not be on hand to offer travel assistance beyond the official dates of our itinerary.
BARILOCHE: If you're an avid skier or snowboarder who can handle more than five days without your legs hating you, you'd be wise to add additional days in Bariloche to ski / snowboard at Catedral. SKI BUMS has hosted two excellent trips here (view our photos), and when the weather cooperates, it offers some of the best skiing & riding in South America. Mid-August, after our Chapelco dates, is an ideal time to visit. The best hotels in Bariloche aren't located at the ski resort. We suggest Aldebaran, which we adored in 2013. Tell them hello from SKI BUMS! Learn more about Catedral >
Air transportation is not included. Read these recommendations closely before buying airfare. This trip requires international airfare to Buenos Aires, plus domestic airfare to San Carlos de Bariloche.
Ezeiza (EZE) is the international airport for Buenos Aires. Aeroparque (AEP) is the domestic airport for Buenos Aires. San Carlos de Bariloche (BRC) is the primary air hub for Patagonia; although there is a smaller airport that serves San Martin de los Andes, it often closes in the wintertime due to weather problems. Therefore, we are hosting ground transfers to and from Bariloche.
PLANNING YOUR AIR TRAVEL
HEAD'S UP: You'll want to be smart and cautious about buying your airfare, so you can coordinate with our ground transfers. If you'd like to purchase your international airfare first, then buy your domestic airfare later, note that some carriers will provide better value if you ticket yourself on a multi-city itinerary all at the same time. Caution: we do NOT recommend flying with Aerolineas Argentinas. They're highly unreliable. See recommended domestic flights below. RECOMMENDED FLIGHT ITINERARY Thursday August 6 / Friday August 7 Fly into where? EZE Arrive by when? Arrive by 10 AM on Friday Aug 7.
Sunday August 9 Fly out of where? AEP or EZE (AEP is much easier & closer to our hotel) Fly when? Schedule a morning flight that arrives in BRC by 2:30 PM. Recommended flight: LAN Argentina flight 4344, dep AEP 11:45 AM, arr BRC 2:10 PM Saturday August 15 Fly out of where? BRC Fly into where? AEP or EZE Fly when? If you're flying into AEP, schedule a flight that departs after noon, and lands there at least 4 hours before your return international flight from EZE, so you'll have time for a 60 minute commute between the two airports. Recommended flight: LAN Argentina flight 4343, dep BRC 1:35 PM, arr AEP 3:34 PM Saturday August 15 Fly out of where?EZE Fly when?See above. Give yourself a 4 hour layover window if you're flying from BRC to AEP. Give yourself a 3 hour layover window if you're flying from BRC directly to EZE.
IMPORTANT NOTES ON OUR PLANNING & ITINERARY Our hotel rooms will be available anytime after 3 PM on Thursday the 6th. But our group itinerary officially begins at our hotel at noon on Friday. Please land in Buenos Aires by 10 AM on Friday.
Most participants will fly from North America on overnight flights, departing Thursday August 6 and arriving in the early morning hours of Friday, August 7. To make sure you've got a place to rest, shower, etc, we've booked our hotel rooms for Thursday night as well. (Therefore, if you'd like to arrive in Buenos Aires a day before most of the group, you're welcome to do so -- your hotel room will be available anytime after 3 PM on Thursday the 6th.) Upon arrival, you'll simply check in under your own name, as you would with any hotel reservation.
As for our domestic flights, we do NOT recommend flying from Buenos Aires to San Martin de los Andes. The airport there closes often during winter snow storms. Therefore, we're hosting a ground transfer from Bariloche (see below).
Take note: If you follow the group itinerary, Saturday the 15th will be an long and epic travel day. For a more relaxing plan, you may want to consider extending your trip with additional days in Bariloche or Buenos Aires. See "Trip Extensions," below.
SKI BUMS is providing ground transfers for the 3+ hour ride from Bariloche's airport to our hotel. We'll be departing from the Bariloche airport on Sunday August 9th at 3:00 PM. On our departure day, we'll arrive back at BRC on Saturday the 15th at 11 AM.
If your flights are cancelled (or you don't plan them to coordinate with our transfers), Albus provides bus service between Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes. You'll need Spanish to book the ticket.
One of South America's most beautiful ski resorts, Chapelco overlooks the deep blue Lake Lacán, with the dramatic Volcan Lanin rising in the distance. Nestled deep in the Andes in the Lakes District of Patagonia, it's got gorgeous terrain both above and below the treeline, offering ample fun for skiers and riders of all skill levels.
Visitors from North America rave about the gorgeous forests and tree skiing here; tall beech trees hang with green lichen moss, creating an mysterious otherworldly feeling. Above the tree line, huge bowls and backcountry areas offer steep challenges, while the lower elevations boast wide open groomers when you want to keep things mellow. The lift infrastructure is solid; its twelve lifts include detachable high-speed chairs and a gondola. In many ways, skiing and riding here feels very similar to North America. Read a more in-depth discussion of the terrain at Chapelco >
If you've done your research, you know that Argentina boasts three ski resorts that draw international travelers: Las Leñas (near Mendoza) and Catedral (in Bariloche) are the other two. Each resort is well worth a plane ticket to South America; if you'd like an in-depth comparison from our expert trip leaders, send us a message!
This trip probably isn't the best choice for non-skiers / non-boarders, but if you or your travel partner do not ski or snowboard, there are a lot of other fun things to do here. If you don't mind having your own fun while everyone else is on the mountain during the day, contact us to remove lift tickets.
Who's coming on the trip? Find out by joining our special SKI BUMS Argentina Facebook Group.
Whether you're simply curious about signing up or you're already on board, everyone's welcome to join this Facebook group. Feel free to invite friends, too -- it's a cool way to begin learning names of the skiers and boarders who you'll meet when we're in Argentina!
Of course, weather is impossible to predict, but SKI BUMS plans our trips with an eye on weather history. Chapelco typically opens in late June / early July. Their snowiest period is in August, and the snow storms generally continue well into September. Chapelco averages about 350" per year, and North Americans compare the snow and patterns here to Summit County, Colorado. Much of Chapelco's terrain is south-facing, providing excellent snow preservation deep into the season.
(Remember, when it's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere.)
Upon arrival at Rio Hermoso hotel, we'll check in, relax, then enjoy a delicious dinner at their on-site restaurant. We've got the hotel all to ourselves.
The fun begins early Monday morning! Chapelco ski resort is about twenty minutes from our hotel, and we'll arrive with enough time to pick up equipment rentals and familiarize yourself with the resort. As with every SKI BUMS trip, we begin by dividing into skill level groups that help you identify the other skiers and snowboarders who enjoy the same terrain -- at the same pace -- as you do.
In general, you'll spend most of the day in a smallish group of four or five skiers or boarders -- but that's up to you. The BUMS are a social crowd, so it's always easy to mix it up. Each day, we meet as a group for lunches and après-ski. You and your group will set your own pace, and it's common to mix it up with a few different groups throughout the week. As the week progresses, some groups will opt for full days, while others might take a half-day off to relax. This is your vacation, so you're always free to break away and do your own thing.
Our rooms are guaranteed after 3 PM on Thursday the 6th. When you arrive, you'll simply check in at the hotel under your name. Most participants will arrive in the very early morning hours of Friday the 7th, and you'll be free to head directly to the hotel for some extra rest.
Our trip officially begins with a meet & greet lunch at noon on Friday August 7. In our hotel lobby, you'll meet the SKI BUMS trip leaders and the other participants -- and then we'll sit down for a relaxing lunch in the neighborhood.
We've hired private shuttles which will transport us each day between the mountain and our hotel; they'll also be providing ground transfers to and from the airport. Our schedule will afford a certain level of flexibility -- we'll name departure times each day based on the weather and the consensus of the group. (See "Itinerary," below)
Beyond this daily service, taxis are easy to arrange for side trips into town, and they're affordable -- especially if you share a van with other participants.
Patagonia, Argentina is one of the world's most ambitious and adventurous travel destinations, and SKI BUMS can't wait to return. After two unforgettable journeys to Bariloche, we're excited to introduce you to the spectacular Chapelco in San Martin de los Andes! Gay travel to Argentina is booming. When the nation adopted same-sex marriage and expanded LGBT civil rights, Buenos Aires quickly became one of the world's top gay travel hot spots. It's easy to see why; the culture is as friendly and beautiful as the Argentinians are. We'll begin with three days in the port city before journeying south to Patagonia.
After a short flight to San Carlos de Bariloche, we'll have a lovely hotel all to ourselves -- a perfect spot for five days of exciting skiing and riding in Chapelco. And if you like, you can add a visit to Catedral to see even more of the awe-inspiring Argentine Andes.
Sign up for this trip is now closed.
Thursday August 6 to Sunday, August 16, 2015
5 -- Monday through Friday (optional add on for extra days)
In Buenos Aires: Palermo Soho | In Patagonia: San Martin de los Andes
Recommended for intermediate, advanced and expert skiers and boarders
$3199 per person / $2999 if you pay in full
This trip has a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 20 participants. If we fail to meet our minimum number of registered participants by 45 days before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. In that event, those who have signed up for the trip will receive a full refund.
+ Three night stay in Buenos Aires, six night stay in San Martin de los Andes + Six breakfasts, one lunch and four dinners + Five day lift pass for Chapelco Ski Resort + Two ground transfers between Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes + Daily shuttle service between our hotel and the ski resort + Argentine wine tasting party + Trip organization, guidance and assistance from two SKI BUMS professional trip leaders
+ Air transportation + Taxi transportation to / from the airports in Buenos Aires + Ski and snowboard equipment rental + Some meals, alcoholic drinks + Reciprocity fee (Canada, Australia, USA), any visa fees (if applicable) + Travel insurance (very highly recommended)
Here a few quick steps to help you prepare for our trip!
STAY ACTIVE | If you'll have a few months between your last skiing / snowboarding trip and our August adventure, be sure to stay active so you can enjoy five back-to-back days on the mountain. PLAN FOR MULTIPLE CLIMATES | In August, it's generally springy in Buenos Aires while full-blown winter weather delivers snow and cold to Patagonia. Plan to pack accordingly. All our events are casual dress, but Buenos Aires does tend to be a pretty stylish place when it comes to restaurants and nightlife.
NEED NEW GEAR? | SKI BUMS members get excellent discounts at Backcountry.com. 30%-50% off! BRUSH UP ON TRAVEL SPANISH |Although those who work in hospitality (especially at our hotels) will speak fluent English, you'll enjoy yourself a lot more if you can order in restaurants, ask for the bathroom, request water and drinks, etc. en español. Duolingo is a whole lot of fun, and it's free.
DON'T RELY ON ENGLISH SITES | English language skiing and snowboarding sites are full of inaccurate data and snow reports for South American resorts. if you want to follow the snowfall in Chapelco, do it here and here.
SET UP YOUR CELL PHONE PLAN | Don't wait until the last minute to set up your international data, voice and SMS messaging. We do NOT recommend renting a SIM card upon arrival in-country. Learn more >
In Buenos Aires: the stylish boutique hotel Home will be your home-away-from-home while we savor the flavors of Buenos Aires. It's perfectly located in the hip and stylish Palermo Hollywood neighborhood, the best nexus for shopping, dining and people watching. Home is as cool as a cucumber, with mod mid-century vintage design and a sterling reputation that's earned it heaps of praise from publications like Conde Nast Traveler. It's often named the best boutique hotel in Buenos Aires. View Home's super cool website > In San Martin de los Andes, we'll be taking an entire property all for ourselves, the TripAdvisor award-winning Rio Hermosohotel. This charming boutique hotel hugs the bank of a winding river, where the afternoon sun pours through its huge windows, warming the rich wood interiors with rough-hewn stonework and bright splashes of color. As we've learned on trips to Argentina and Japan, having an entire hotel is an incredible privilege.
Our hotel is about twenty minutes away from the base of Chapelco ski resort. (View a map) As we experienced in 2013, the added serenity and beauty of the location makes the daily drive well worthwhile; we'll have private shuttles which will transport us each day of our stay (see "Getting Around," below).
+ Thursday, August 6: Fly to Buenos Aires -- most will arrive early Friday morning
+ Fri Aug 7 - Sat Aug 8: Two days to take in the sights of Buenos Aires
+ Sun Aug 9: Travel day; fly to BRC , then take 3 PM ground transfer to our hotel (approx 3 hours)
+ Mon Aug 10 - Fri Aug 14: Ski & ride Chapelco, enjoy San Martin de los Andes
+ Sat Aug 15: Transfer to BRC, fly back to Buenos Aires for overnight flights home
+ Sun Aug 16: Return home
During our two days in Buenos Aires, you'll be able to choose your own adventure. Plan to re-enact scenes from Evita at the famous Casa Rosada, and see where Eva Duarte Peron was buried alongside Argentina's most famous citizens at the Recoleta Cemetery. Explore the trendy and chic streets of Palermo Soho and the stylish eateries of Palermo Hollywood. Take a morning walk in La Boca, where brightly colored homes once housed Italian immigrant dock workers. This huge city has more than enough to explore, and we're happy to point you in the right direction.
The SKI BUMS approach toward city exploration isn't like your standard tour group -- no one's going to hold a flag aloft, saying "we're walking... we're walking"-- rather, we'll divide up into smaller groups, based on what sights you'd like to see, and trust that you're savvy enough to navigate one of the world's most popular tourist destinations without a lot of hand-holding. Of course, if you ever need assistance, our trip leaders are experts on Buenos Aires, fluent in Spanish, and very happy to help you explore this vibrant city. We'll distribute a suggested itinerary for sightseeing, along with helpful tips and suggestions to make sure you have fun, stay safe, and see the best that B.A. has to offer.
On Sunday, you'll hop a taxi to the airport for your domestic flight to Bariloche. Most people will fly from Aeroparque (AEP), which is only about 20 minutes from our hotel. See "Flight Scheduling" above for important time restrictions. At 3 PM, we'll board private shuttles for a scenic 3-hour drive from Bariloche's airport to our hotel in San Martin de los Andes. We'll be traveling through one of Argentina's most beautiful landscapes; if weather allows, we'll be sure to stop for a photo or two!
You must have a cell phone that will work while we are in-country. It will need to be able to receive domestic SMS text messages, even when you are not on Wifi.
Trip leaders send up-to-the-minute text message alerts with itinerary information, transportation pickup times, lunch locations, weather advisories, and more. Additionally, the other trip participants text one another to coordinate their plans on the mountain. You should set up an international plan that includes voice, data and SMS messaging.
Argentina requires travelers from the United States, Canada and Australia to pay a $160 USD reciprocity fee before departing from home. You'll need to visit their website, submit your payment, print up your proof of payment and bring the printed document with you to the airport (note: you may NOT present a digital copy... it must be printed on an actual piece of paper).
You should arrive in-country with all your skiing & snowboarding apparel. SKI BUMS requires our trip participants to wear helmets while skiing & riding. See our helpful guide, How to Dress for the Mountain, for suggestions. Buenos Aires & Chapelco both have great gear shops, but sizes and availability may be limited.. so pack wisely.
SKI BUMS detailed trip itineraries are distributed upon arrival, and they're designed to be viewed on any smart phone. More importantly, our trip leaders send up-to-the-minute alerts that you'll receive on your phone via SMS text messaging.
For this reason, you must have a cell phone that will work while we're in Argentina.