Just as the South American ski season is kicking off, a few resorts have been damaged throughout the last few days by a major storm. This system brought feet of snow at high elevations and a ludicrous amount of rain at low elevations.
The Nevados de Chillán ski center reportedly received 900 millimeters of rain (35.4 inches!) in a four-day period. Damage there has consisted of mudslides, fallen trees, and a temporary closure of the entire area. Despite this damage, repairs are already underway, the hotels and thermal hot springs have already reopened, and the resort plans to open for skiing in a week or two if weather permits.
Further north, Chile Ruta 60, the sole access road to the famous Portillo Ski Area, has been washed out. The resort itself has a 20-30 inch base depth from recent storms and is trying to open soon, but needs the road to reopen.
The pass is a major trade link connecting Chile and Argentina, so crews will likely try to restore access quickly. Interestingly, the Argentine side of the pass has already re-opened, but traffic is being stopped before the international border crossing.
⚠️Complejo Los Libertadores se mantiene CERRADO debido a que ruta internacional desde Guardia Vieja hasta la boca del túnel Cristo Redentor se encuentra con derrumbes y deslizamiento de tierra. Vialidad trabaja en la vía y en la evaluación de sectores afectados por lluvias. pic.twitter.com/vez6KswYXv
— CF Los Libertadores (@CFLosLibertador) June 26, 2023
Other areas have received less rainfall or been less affected. Valle Nevado, Cerro Catedral, Cerro Bayo, and Corralco ski resorts have all opened in the last few days, albeit with limited terrain while the continent awaits more snowfall. Let’s hope that these resorts can iron out their early season issues and fully open soon.