Bariloche, in the Argentinian province of Rio Negro, is set to hold the third and final event in the inaugural season of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Snow Volleyball World Tour as it makes its first stop outside Europe.
After successful stages in Wagrain-Kleinarl in Austria, and Plan de Corones/Kronplatz in Italy, the latest addition to the volleyball family lands in another iconic venue for winter sports in Argentina’s Cerro Catedral, with play scheduled to get underway tomorrow.
The resort features the biggest ski area in South America and the entire Southern Hemisphere, hosting over half a million tourists per season.
Three courts have been prepared at its base standing at 1,030 metres above sea level, where teams from Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, Uruguay and the United States have entered.
Home medal hopes are high given that Argentina have won bronze in both the previous events on the tour, with London 2012 Olympian Virginia Zonta among their personnel.
The host country is also set to appear for the first time in the men’s event, with the likes of 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games medallists Mauro Zelayeta and Bautista Amieva leading the charge.
"We don’t forget that it is an important date of the FIVB World Tour, the first in history, so we will try to give our best," Bautista said.
However, it won’t be an easy ride for any of the teams due to the presence of many of the most recent snow volleyball gold medal winners.
Russia’s Olga Filina and Anna Romashova, after consecutive women’s titles in Austria and Italy, will try to make it three out of three with newcomer Marina Grechko replacing double-champion Olga Motrich.
In the men’s draw the American team that won in Kronplatz returns.
Troy Field and siblings Riley and Maddison McKibbin will this time be joined by a third and younger McKibbin brother, Jameson.
Snow volleyball teams are composed of three players, with the possibility of adding one substitute.
The hosts and Chile are both fielding two teams in the women’s field, where 10 other nations are competing.