Unprecedented Snow at South American Ski Vacation Resorts

September 18, 2006 by  
Filed under features

This season an unbelievable amount of snow greets people on a ski vacation in South America. Both Chile and Argentina have received an unprecedented ten inches of snow a day in the past few weeks. Chilean resorts have been reporting excellent snow depths throughout the season, yet mainly at upper levels, as lower slopes are struggling in places. Riders from Termas de Chillan south to La Hoya in Esquel have seen epic amounts of snow fall this past week.

Vacation town Portillo in Chile is located near the border with Argentina, not far from Aconcagua and is listed among the top twenty ski resorts in the world by the Ski Cub of Great Britain. Ski Portillo opened for the ski vacation season on Saturday, June 17 with a solid 30-inch base. They were anticipating a good season, but the snow has surpassed all expectations. Ski Portillo received seven and a half feet of snow in the past week! The resort typically boasts of nearly 300 days of sunshine and an average of 25 feet of snowfall each season. It is not uncommon for visitors to ski and sunbathe on the same day as the temperature on an average rarely dips below 25 degrees F. Last year the snow reached a record 46 feet. This year the snowfall will certainly break that record. The resort is scheduled to close on October 7th but in all likelihood the season will be extended this year.

The Ski Portillo resort has newly introduced an additional lift, the local term for lift being Va et Vient (“Coming and Going”). This slingshot lift named Las Vizcachas was inaugurated this year and accesses the experts-only terrain in the Las Lomas ski area. The new slingshot lift is named after the local Vizcacha rabbit and is 470 meters long with a vertical drop of 220 meters. The lift is similar to Roca Jack and Condor and is located between the Las Lomas and Los Canarios lifts. With the addition of Las Vizcachas, Portillo now has thirteen ski lifts which service thirty five trails.

Valle Nevados and Termas de Chillan are reporting similar snowfall. Once again, it seems to be a phenomenal ski vacation season in South America.