Half way through this large April snow and rain storm hitting Chile and Argentina, some photos are starting to appear from a few Latin American ski resorts, namely Valle Nevado in Chile and Las Lenas across the border to the south in Argentina. When does it start snowing in South America you ask?
Despite the high freezing levels, currently around 10,100 feet above sea level (3,100 meters), the upper alpine sections and backcountry zones of Valle Nevado, La Parva, El Colorado, Portillo and Las Lenas are seeing a good amount of snow accumulation. Generally snow starts falling in Latin America in May, but has arrived early this year as predicted.
Four mountain passes between Chile and Argentina, including Los Libertadores which passes the Portillo ski resort, are currently closed due to blizzard conditions and poor road conditions at their highest points. A mix of rain, ice and snow around the resort base and hotel areas is expected to continue into Monday as temperatures fluctuate. This is an unusually large system for April.
As we reported last week, Chilean weather models are showing 2016 to see more snow than 2015’s El Nino at the local ski areas. So far we are off to a good start and this weekend should bring more precipitation to the high Andes, 2 months away from scheduled ski resort openings.
Stay tuned as this storm develops.