COVID-19 UPDATES: September 2020
The 2020 ski season in South America is here thanks to heavy May, June and July snowstorms dropping powder in the Andes resorts of Chile and Argentina. In fact, some areas reported the deepest June since 2005. July also saw 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.
On August 11th, the Chilean government announced that ski resorts in select communities of Chile can now operate under strict sanitary protocol, Monday-Friday.
La Parva Chile announced they will open to season pass holders on August 18th. The first Chilean resort to open!
El Colorado has been open to the Chilean ski team for training open to the public (season pass holders) on August 19.
Corralco resort in south Chile will start turning their lifts on August 29.
Nevados de Chillan and Valle Nevado have been given the green light to operate, however they will not open due to numerous challenges:
- Chillan claims it could require close to a quarter million $USD and at least 15 days to have everything ready before opening.
- Opening weekdays only with restricted number of guests is not financially viable
- Day visitors only. Local visitors are not allowed to stay at the resort hotels, apartments, lodges etc
- How to educate day visitors on restrictions and rules in effect due to COVID-19
- Uncertainty if guests will abide by set rules, risking the shutdown of the resort
- Many resort employees live in communities still under strict lockdown. They are unable to travel to the resorts to work
So while there is some good news here, it is still unlikely select resorts will open until further restrictions are lifted.
Protocols if the ski resorts open
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.
However on June 22, Portillo announced their ski season has been postponed indefinitely.
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
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 opened in early-mid August.
All borders along with international and domestic flights in Argentina are closed at least through September 1st.
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.
Opening Dates for Chile Ski Resorts 2020
La Parva: August 18th for season pass holders
El Colorado: August 19th for season pass holders
Valle Nevado: Will not open
Portillo: Will not open
Nevados de Chillan: Will not open
Corralco: August 29th. 30% maximum skier capacity.
Arpa Catskiing: Will not open
Pucon: Will not open
Antillanca: Will not open
Learn more about all the Chile ski resorts
Opening Dates for Argentina Ski Resorts 2020
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: