South America kicks off the winter season starting next week. While some ski resorts are still awaiting their first snow, others have received up to 20cm – a good base for things to come. This winter, South America is set to unveil four new ski lifts, including Chile's first gondola.
OnTheSnow has the opening dates and new developments for all ski resorts in Chile and Argentina.
El Colorado – opens July 9. The resort has had 20cm of snow so far.
La Parva – opening TBA. New for 2012, La Parva is opening a new triple chairlift – Fabres – together with five new ski runs (more than 5km), which will expand the ski area by 30 percent. Other additions include a new cross-country skiing track, more rental apartments and a new snowcat.
Nevados de Chillan – opens June 15.
Portillo – opens June 23. Portillo postponed the start of the season by a week, pushing it back from June 16 to 23 due to weather conditions. New for 2012: the gym has been remodelled and the new "Insider's Camp" for skiers takes place during Wine Fest.
Valle Nevado – opens June 23, but hotels won't be open until June 29. This winter the resort is opening the very first gondola in Chile. The gondola will feature 70 six-person cabins and will operate from the base of Valle Nevado's new day visitor parking lot and service center "Curva 17," lifting skiers to the mountain restaurant Bajo Zero in the center of the resort. The gondola is part of a 10-year, $150 million Master Development Plan that will eventually create a Mountain Village at the base of the resort. Other improvements include two new beginner's slopes, two new apartments, and a new activity - canopy rides with a 500ft descent.
Villarrica-Pucon – opens June 29.
Caviahue – opens June 15
Cerro Castor – opens June 22. This winter, the resort has extended the beginners' ski area with a new run and the installation of a magic carpet lift. Other improvements: renewal of rental equipment and new security nets on the mountain.
Catedral Alta Patagonia – opens June 23. New for 2012, Catedral has invested in three new snowcats, a new signaling system at the base of the lifts, and a new ticket office at the bottom of chairlift Princess 1.
Chapelco – opens June 23. The ski resort has a new snowpark with specialized instructor camps, new modules and shappers. Other improvements include magnetic ski passes and a smartphone app.
Las Lenas – opens June 20. The resort has invested in a new chairlift - the Minerva II - which is installed and ready to go.