Bolivia is the former home of the world’s highest ski area, Chacaltaya, some 5,200m up in the Andes mountains above capital La Paz.
Unfortunately the small permanent snow field on which the ski lift – infamous for being one of the world’s most difficult to ride, in part because of its high speed, rustic design, in part because of the affects of the high altitude – melted away.
This is clearly bad news for skiers and boarders helping to ski the world’s highest slopes, but worse news for the Bolivian population below who relied on the snowfields to power hydro electric systems and for drinking water. They blame global warming for the loss of snow fields.
There have been some reports that the old lift could be relocated to another snowfield higher up still, but so far this has not been confirmed as likely to happen.
Chacaltaya was open for approximately 70 years from 1939 to 2009. It opened after a road was built up from the capital, however the man in charge of the project died in an avalanche in 1945 which local superstitions blamed on offending the snow gods, which some say is why no other ski area has ever been built in the country.
As well as being the highest (a title now taken by a ski area in China) Chacaltaya was the most northerly South American ski area, the closest 'proper' ski area to the equator anywhere in the world and the oldest and fastest lift in South America.
Chacaltaya operated only at weekends in the Southern Hemisphere's 'warm season' – which is, uniquely, the Southern Hemisphere's summer and the same period as the Northern Hemisphere's winter because conditions are too hard, icy and dry in the Southern Hemisphere's winter. read more...
Bolivia: latest snow conditions round-up
Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Bolivia. Fresh snow is forecast at 1resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 0 are reporting good piste conditions.