The 2021 ski season in South America will soon be here thanks to heavy snowstorms, starting in May, dropping dry powder in the Andes ski resorts of Chile and Argentina.
When Do Ski Resorts in South America Open and Close?
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 South American ski season, ski resorts do not close until late September to mid-October. On occasion the ski season in southern Chile can stretch well into November. In fact 2020, Antillanca ski resort near Osorno, Chile remained open on weekends until November 29th.
Will Ski Resorts in Chile and Argentina Open Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The big questions for 2021 are:
- Will the South America ski resorts open due to the ongoing 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, April 1, 2021:
- As of April 1, Chile has vaccinated nearly 7,000,000 of their adult population and expect to have most vaccinated by June
- 9 ski resorts in both Chile and Argentina operated successfully in 2020
2021 opening dates are being updated below as they are released by the resorts. Bookmark this page and check back often for updates.
If you are doing research on the 2020 season and how it was affected by COVID, we have included a detailed section at the end of this page.
Opening Dates for Chile Ski Resorts 2021
La Parva: June 2021 TBA
El Colorado: June 2021 TBA
Valle Nevado: June 2021 TBA
Portillo: June 2021 TBA
Nevados de Chillan: June 2021 TBA
Corralco: June 2021 TBA
Arpa Catskiing: July 2021 TBA
Pucon: June 2021 TBA
Antillanca: June 2021 TBA
Learn more about all the Chile ski resorts, including how to make a trip happen this year.
Opening Dates for Argentina Ski Resorts 2021
Las Lenas: June 2021 TBA
Caviahue: June 2021 TBA
Chapelco: June 2021 TBA
Cerro Bayo: June 2021 TBA
Catedral Alta Patagonia (Bariloche): June 2021 TBA
La Hoya: June 2021 TBA
Cerro Castor: June 2021 TBA
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:
Did South American Resorts Open in 2020 Due to Covid?
We’ve included details below from the 2020 season for those doing research for blogs and articles. If you find our info useful please consider linking back to our website. (Thank you Freeskier, Snow-Forecast, TGR, Backcountry Magazine and others for already doing so!)
Thanks in advance!
Chile Resorts 2020 COVID Report
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) developed protocols on how they could operate ski lifts, cafeterias, lift ticket sales, etc during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The plan included 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.
This plan was presented to the Chilean government in May 2020.
Of the 12 main ski resorts, over half were authorized (under strict sanitary protocol) to open by mid-August.
4 of these areas ended up choosing to open:
La Parva and El Colorado near Santiago. Corralco and Antillanca in the South.
Why didn’t Portillo, Nevados de Chillan or Valle Nevado open?
Unlike other smaller destinations, these 3 areas heavily depend on international guests. As the Chilean border remained closed to foreign travelers, they opted not to operate despite given the green light from the government in August.
In addition, other road blocks stood in the way:
- Opening weekdays only with restricted number of guests was not financially viable
- Day visitors only. Local visitors were not allowed to stay at the resort hotels, apartments, lodges etc
- There was a concern on how to educate day visitors on restrictions and rules in effect due to COVID-19
- Many resort employees live in communities that were still under strict lockdown. They were unable to travel to the resorts to work
- Finally, Nevados de Chillan claimed it could require close to a quarter million $USD and at least 15 days to have everything ready before opening.
La Parva, El Colorado, Corralco and Antillanca all operated successfully, without shutdowns or any known cases of the spread of COVID amongst employees or ski guests.
Argentina 2020 Resorts COVID Report
Argentina had one of the strictest lock downs of any country on the planet. All borders along with international and domestic flights in Argentina were closed in March. As of November, 2020, many restrictions still apply.
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.
Despite a few short term closures (1-3 days at a time) due to local government mandates, the season in Bariloche was a success. Additionally it was one of the best season’s for snow conditions in over a decade.
Several other destinations in Patagonia opened in early-mid August: