A picture of a skier in Bariloche.

When you think of the festival season, snow scattered slopes and sensational winter sports probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind.

However, the Fiesta d la Nieve – or National Snow Festival – has been firing up the action for over 40 years.

The fantastic event sees crowds of locals and tourists alike gather in the stunning city of Bariloche, Argentina, for the first weekend in August.

If you want to shake up your summer plans with a holiday in Argentina, then here are just a few things you should know about the National Snow Festival.

You won’t want to miss the opening

The National Snow Festival kicks off in spectacular fashion with the ‘torch drop’ on Mount Catedral.

At dusk on the first day of the celebrations, teams from ski schools gather on the mountaintop before descending down carrying burning torches.

Music accompanies them, with a dazzling firework display taking place once they reach the base. Make sure you arrive early, as you won’t want to miss out on this memorable event.

A beautiful picture of snowy mountainsides in Bariloche.

There’s nowhere better to ski

When it comes to the best destinations for skiing holidays to Argentina, you won’t find anywhere better.

Bariloche boasts some of the best skiing opportunities in the entire country, being both Argentina’s oldest ski resort and laying claim to its largest skiable surface.

The National Snow Festival invites skiers and snowboarders of all skill to sweep the slopes, with a wide array of activities and competitions.

However, if you don’t fancy getting stuck in with the winter sports, then there is still plenty here to keep you entertained.

The events and activities are truly unique

Fiesta de la Nieve has a diverse calendar of unique, family-friendly events, with some dating back to its humble beginnings in 1970.

One example is the ‘Race of Waiters’ where competitors walk the slopes of Bariloche’s downtown streets while trying to balance trays of glasses and bottles.

Other events that you won’t want to miss include the wool garment parade – where you can marvel at lovingly handcrafted products – as well as the ‘hacheros contest’ in the rural area of the Patagonia region.

This sees participants battling it out in a log cutting contest. This all takes place alongside cocktail contests, aerobatic displays, chocolate tastings and vibrant firework displays.

Of course, all these celebrations culminate in the election of the National Snow Queen.

Held at the city’s Civic Center, the young people of Bariloche gather together for the elections to crown a new monarch of the fiesta.

Lake of Nahuel Huapi and mountains near the city of Bariloche, Argentina.

You’ll get your music festival fix

No festival is complete without some live music, and the Fiesta de la Nieve is no exception.

Musical shows take place around the downtown streets during the event, adding a superb soundtrack to the snowy celebrations.

Past performers include the likes of Catupecu Machu, Los Auténticos Decadentes, Bersuit Vergarabat, Kapanga, and Soledad Pastorutti, among others.

They bring with them an eclectic mix of ska, rock, folk and an array of other genres. You may not be too familiar with the names on the musical line up, but they are guaranteed to get you up and dancing.  

It’s family friendly fun

A world away from the hectic, partygoing crowds of the British summer, the Fista de la Nieve is the ideal festival alternative for the entire family.

Colourful parades of floats, craft shows, and car racing events tantalise visitors of all ages, with sporting activities catering to professionals and amateurs alike.

Along with all this, you can take in the picture-perfect settings of Argentina’s Patagonia region.

Famed for its Swiss alpine architecture and charming chocolate shops, it invites you to explore its natural beauty with hiking and skiing excursions.

So, put away your sunglasses and sun cream and experience a winter wonderland in Bariloche this August.

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