South America Ski Resorts – Will They Open in 2020 Considering Covid 19?

Updated Sept 2nd 2020

Mother Nature has been absolutely dumping snow on most of the South American ski resorts and locals have been posting photos of the bountiful snow on social media, but sadly it's a case of look but don't touch at many of the ski areas. Covid 19 cases are soaring in South America, so for those of the South American ski resorts that are able to open for the 2020 season, it is under incredibly strict regulations.

For some of the ski resorts, it hasn't been financially viable to open. For example, Brazilians make up a huge proportion of the visitation at many of the ski resorts, and with 4 million Covid 19 cases so far and 122K deaths in Brazil, it seems unlikely that Brazilians will be going skiing or snowboarding this 2020 season.

All South America ski tours have been cancelled for the 2020 season.

Argentina Ski Resorts 2020

The Argentina ski resorts have been hard pressed to open during the 2020 season due to the Corona Virus, except on a small scale and just for the locals. With about 428,000 cases so far, Argentina has very tight regulations with respect to managing the virus.

Of particular note, the government has put a ban on all flights, both international and domestic, until at least September 1st. This obviously precludes international skiers and snowboarders from visiting the Argentina ski resorts until September. It also makes it difficult for the Argentines to travel the long distances to the ski resorts.

State of play so far:

  • Las Lenas has announced it will not open in the 2020 season.
  • La Hoya has announced that it will not open for the 2020 season due to Covid 19 and an avalanche damaged a major chair lift which would further preclude the ski resort from opening.
  • Cerro Catedral opened on July 21st for just the locals, although massive snowfalls and avalanche risk has been somewhat problematic for the ski resort to be open all the time.
  • Cerro Castor opened on August 1st, with only residents of Tierra de Fuego being able to access the ski resort.
  • Cerro Bayo opened on August 1st to local residents and just on weekends
  • Cerro Chapelco also opened for locals on August 1st
  • Caviahue is open for the locals.
  • The little Perito Merino is also open for locals.
  • Other Argentina ski resorts are still hoping for a miracle that they may be able to open for the 2020 season.

Chile Ski Resorts 2020

Most of the Chile ski resorts have been working hard with the aim of opening at some stage during the 2020 season. A dozen of the Chile ski resorts are part of an alliance, the Asociaciónde Centros de Ski de Chile, and are working together to develop protocols that would enable the resorts to open. This includes major restrictions on the numbers permitted each day on the slopes and in facility buildings. Plans have been submitted to government and are awaiting approval, but they may be waiting awhile. 

La Parva was the first Chilean ski resort to open for the 2020 season on August 18th, and just for season pass holders.

El Colorado opens on August 19th for locals, and initially this will just be for season pass holders in order to limit numbers.

Valle Nevado and Farellones along with Nevados de Chillan have been given permission to open under restrictions, but it's unclear as to whether they will open considering it may not be financially viable.

Portillo is offering 100% refund or credit for 2021 for those who want to book a package in the hope that Portillo opens. Portillo has announced that the resort will not open during the 2020 season.

Corralco opened on August 29th.

Ski Pucon is also not part of the alliance and has announced that they definitely won't be opening.