The world’s most southerly ‘proper’ ski area Cerro Castor in Southern Argentina, says it will begin running its ski lifts and open downhill runs from this Saturday, 1st August.

Lifts will run from 10 am to 4.45 five days per week, with skiing only intended for people living in the region.

Cerro Castor was the first mountain resort in South America to re-open to local tourists, in mid-July, but initially has only been opening its base facilities including a restaurant, ice rink and cross-country ski trails to locals at weekends, not its downhill runs.

Argentina’s largest ski resort, Catedral near Bariloche, more than 2,000km (1250 miles) north of Cerro Castor opened its ski trails to people living in its locality in the Tierra del Fuego region last week.

Both areas are being very cautious with social-distancing and other measures designed to reduce the danger of pandemic spread in place.

A third Argentinian ski area, Cerro Bayo (pictured above and below), says it is ‘preparing to open’ but has not yet named the day. Decisions to reopen are regional in Argentina and depend on agreement with local authorities.

Another of the country’s major ski areas, Las Lenas, already announced early in the lockdown that it would not open this winter whatever happened.

Argentina has so far seen far fewer infections and deaths than its neighbouring ski nation of Chile, which remains in lockdown.

The Andes have had a very snowy winter to date with several ski areas including the currently closed Portillo reporting more than five metres (17 feet) of snow so far this winter.