April 7, 2016 – The high central Andean ski resorts just received their first dusting of snow and expectations are high for the 2016 ski season in Chile. La Direccion Meteorologia de Chile, the government agency responsible for weather forecasting, is expecting more snow to fall on the central Chilean ski resorts compared to 2015. Continue for details on their 2016 Chile snow report.
Arnaldo Zuniga, one of the leads at la Direccion Meteorologia de Chile is especially optimistic for early season storms. According to his interview this morning en the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, Zuniga says; “Compared to 2015, precipitation is considerably more favorable. From now until June, a greater quantity of snow should be seen.” This is great news for the ski areas to build a solid early season base and kick the season off with hopefully an earlier opening compared to last ski season.
2015 Chile Snow Report Review
2015 was an interesting winter season in South America with very high hopes for one of the deepest seasons on record thanks to a very strong El Nino forecast. May and June started out very dry around Portillo and the Three Valley ski resorts near Santiago. Media sources around the globe expressed their concerns for the fate of the 2015 ski season. However things quickly turned around on July 12th as one of the largest snow storms in years slammed the resorts and international passes with upwards of 7-10 feet of snow over the weekend.
Snow continued through August and we skied some of the best conditions we experienced in years, especially on our guided trips in mid-August around Arpa, El Colorado and La Parva. When Spring arrived in September, mother nature continued to bring cold snow storms to the Andes and backcountry ski touring was prime well into November. October skiing was one of the best on record.
What to Expect for Snow in Chile in 2016?
While this is a very positive pre-season update, we will just have to wait and see what happens over the next few months. Ski resorts in Chile can open as early as mid May on a very good year, especially El Colorado, traditionally the first ski resort to open in Chile each season. (In 2015 the southern resort of Corralco was first to open on the 2nd week of June).
Projected Opening Dates for El Colorado, La Parva, Valle Nevado, and Portillo
According to El Colorado’s commercial director, Jose Pablo Garcia, the resort will open as soon as they have enough snow, with a focus on tradition; being the first to kick off the season if all goes to plan. If the snow comes this could be as early as mid to late May.
The connected ski areas of La Parva and Valle Nevado are more conservative with their projected openings. Despite the positive snow hopes, June is currently their planned opening dates. Portillo, 2 hours from Santiago and north of the Three Valley’s plans to open as well in mid-June if conditions allow.
El Colorado: As soon as they have enough snow on their groomed trails.
La Parva: Beginning of June
Valle Nevado: 2nd week of June
Portillo: June 18, 2016
Learn more about each resort here