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Ski Areas Re-Opening as Huge Snowfall Hits The Andes

A huge snowstorm is currently hitting ski areas in Argentina and Chile after several months of near drought conditions.

Several areas have reported more than 50cm (20 inches) of snowfall already with the upper-end of forecast snowfall totals potentially reaching 2 metres (nearly seven feet) of snowfall for some resorts, although it is more likely to end up nearer half that for most.

South American ski areas had been hoping for something of a bounce back in business this winter after 2020 was largely written off by the first wave of the pandemic. This winter saw areas able to open under pandemic operating procedures.

However the bigger problem has been drought conditions so ski areas have struggled to open more than a few kilometres/miles of slopes in most cases with snow depths typically less than 50cm/20”. Several centres closed over the past month whilst awaiting a snowfall.

South America’s largest ski area Catedral near Bariloche which has been struggling to open much terrain so far this season is enjoying a big snowfall.

Argentina’s La Hoya is one saying they’ll now be re-opening this coming weekend thanks to all the snow.  For now though more areas that were open are closed as the storm moves through for reasons including strong winds and avalanche danger.

International travel also continues to be off limits which led the resort of Portillo in Chile to announce it won’t now open for a second winter in a row.

The leading Argentinian resort of Las Lenas had hoped to open this winter after not doing so at all in 2020 but has had green mountainsides since June.  It is one of the big beneficiaries of the current snowstorm but it remains unclear whether it will open now it appears to have plenty of snow.

The usual ski season for most areas in South America has about a month left to run.

1 Comment
  1. Baz

    20th August 2021 11:21 am

    You’d have to wonder if there will ever be a return to “normal” again. This so called post covid era, and in the UK, post “freedom day” is not what it claims to be. Freedom Day in the UK for instance still has the requirement for testing to leave the country, testing before you come back to the country and testing once you arrive back in the country. Now while you could make a case for it being somewhat likely you may catch a cold on a plane, if you were for example driving to France and then on into EU, you would present no greater risk than you would if you stayed at home. Not to mention that almost everyone that needs vaccinated has now been so in the UK, and guess what, being vaccinated and existing in post “Freedom Day” times means absolutely nothing. You still need to comply with the new normal of “WHERE ARE YOUR PAPERS” culture. It is sad since this is going to mean a lot of tourist destinations are going to become ghost towns and ultimately die off. They will be unsustainable with the huge reduction this is going to bring in for international travel. And not enough people are making a dissenting noise about this. We now need to realise the best thing by far to do while the vaccines are preventing serious illness, is for EVERYONE to get out and live as normal and transmit the infection about as much as possible, this will deliver solid wild virus acquired immunity as we as the vaccination immune response. They (SAGE and Gov) need to get over themselves and let life turn back to normal.

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