UPDATED: July 30, 2020
The start of the 2020 ski season in South America is here thanks to recent May, June and July snowstorms dropping powder in the Andes resorts of Chile and Argentina. In fact, some areas are reporting the deepest June since 2005. July is off to a big start as well due to several record snow storms. However this will be a season like no other as the COVID-19 pandemic stands in the way.
When Do Ski Resorts in South America Open?
As a rule of thumb, ski resorts in Chile and Argentina generally open in mid to late June. When autumn brings earlier snowfall, some resorts open as early as the end of May. On a good ski season, resorts remain open into late September to mid-October.
Will Ski Resorts in Chile and Argentina Open Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The big questions for 2020 are:
- Will the South America ski resorts open due to the current Coronavirus pandemic?
- If opened, will international tourist be able to travel and take advantage of the South American winter?
Let’s review what we know as of today.
12 Chilean ski resorts are a part of the Chile Ski Resort Association, ACESKI (Asociacion de Centros de Ski de Chile). The association of the 12 resorts (Portillo, La Parva, El Colorado/Farellones, Valle Nevado, Nevados de Chillán, Corralco, Volcán Osorno, Antuco, Antillanca, Cerro Mirador, Skinolimit) has developed protocols on how they can operate ski lifts, cafeterias, lift ticket sales, etc during the Coronavirus pandemic. This plan was presented to the Chilean government in May.
The plan includes operating with restricted access (at least 50% less than a normal ski season), 1 person per ski lift chair, proper distancing while in lift line, limits to number of skiers allowed in the resort cafeterias, and strict sanitation policies.
If allowed to open, the ski resorts have set potential opening dates for late August 2020. However on June 22, Portillo announced their ski season has been postponed indefinitely.
Corralco and Pucon ski resorts, located in southern Chile have been under additional pressure due to their location in national parks and reserves. Currently national parks and national reserves in Chile are closed.
Finally and probably most importantly for foreign residents; Chile’s borders are currently closed and there is no evidence the borders will open any time soon. With the government issued State of Emergency recently extended until at least September 14th, the ski season in Chile for international tourists is looking bleak.
Argentina Ski Resorts
For Argentina we have a much clearer picture. 3 Argentina ski resorts have announced they will not operate for the 2020 ski season; Las Lenas Los Puquios and La Hoya. See the post about Las Lenas decision here.
On the brighter side, Cerro Catedral in Bariloche was the 1st ski resort to open in South America. The resort opened for locals with resident ski passes on July 23rd. Several other destinations in Patagonia will open in August.
All borders along with international and domestic flights in Argentina are closed at least through September 1st. While these restrictions can and may be changed, at this point it is too early to tell.
2020 Opening / Closing Updates
We are updating for 2020 as information from the ski areas arrive. The opening dates depend on government regulations due to COVID-19 and of course snow and weather conditions. Bookmark this page to check for updates as the ski season approaches.
Opening Dates for Chile Ski Resorts
El Colorado: TBA
La Parva: TBA
Valle Nevado: TBA on the lifts, but the hotel openings have been pushed back to at least August 28th
Portillo: Postponed indefinitely
Nevados de Chillan: TBA
Arpa Catskiing: TBA. Aiming for a late season opening (later August/September)
Pucon: Will not open
Learn more about all the Chile ski resorts
Opening Dates for Argentina Ski Resorts
Las Lenas: Will not open
Caviahue: August 15th, local residents only
Chapelco: August 1st, local residents only
Cerro Bayo: August 1st, local residents only
Catedral Alta Patagonia (Bariloche): July 23rd opened to local residents with resident passes. Will operate Wednesdays-Sundays until further notice.
La Hoya: Will not open
Cerro Castor: August 1st opening to local residents of Tierra del Fuego
Discover more: Argentina ski resorts
Pro Travel Tips
Learn about the ski resorts in The Andes, including honest resort reviews, when to go, and how to make it happen in the popular and recently updated: