Grande Storm Kickstarts Ski Season

A heavy storm that dumped more than five and a half feet of snow on Portillo, and nearly three feet of new snow in other areas of the central Chilean Andes and parts of Argentina, has allowed several ski resorts to open after a delayed start to the season.

snow on Portillo

Valle Nevado opened today, July 15, thanks to 31 inches of snow that fell there. Valle Nevado operated most of its lifts along with several restaurants, and all equipment rental outlets and retail stores. The resort’s hotels are set to open Friday, July 17.

Resort officials at Valle Nevado said despite the delayed start to the season, they are “expecting excellent conditions for 2015 due to the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon that portends bountiful snow throughout the winter.” The resort is currently offering 40 percent off ski packages for the week of Aug. 21-28.

Portillo is scheduled to open on Saturday, July 18 as workers dig out from the storm. Officials there said that the dumping “added to the intense work of our snowmaking team since June, and gives us a great start to the season.” Portillo is offering all-inclusive packages during the month of July that includes seven nights lodging, seven-day lift tickets, four meals a day, group lessons, day care, and spa and pool privileges.

Meanwhile, El Colorado opened Monday, July 13, thanks to 24 inches of snow in that fell there in about 48 hours. The storm came just in time for the Quiksilver and Roxy Snow Jam that will be held there this weekend.

Further south in Argentina, Las Lenas received about 39 inches of snow earlier this week, and the resort plans to open July 20. Right now, officials said they are still completing a few capital upgrades including adding new snowmaking equipment and reservoir, expanding its rental equipment, and completing expansions and refurbishments to its Mountain Inn, Hotel Piscis, and the casino at Hotel Piscis.

Finally Cerro Caster, host resort of Interski 2015, also received nearly three feet of snow in the past week. The 2015 World Interski Instructor Congress is scheduled for Sept. 5-12.