South America seasons extended after non-stop snow

There’s been pow on tap in South America’s ski resorts throughout August and September. Portillo in Chile and Las Leñas in Argentina seem to have had it best, witnessing huge snow storms (up to four metres in one storm cycle), making Winter ’23 one of the deepest winters in recent memory. September snow has been steadily topping up bases and has led to ski areas to extend their seasons.

The season’s snow total in Portillo has passed 650cm. A 2.5m storm dump early August turned what was looking to be a pretty average season into a winner, and it just hasn’t stopped snowing since.

After a fresh metre of snow last week at Ski Portillo, the resort announced a season extension until 1 October.

Snow Forecast reports that Portillo, during this second week of September, on average sees 9cm of snow with 1.9 snow days. Safe to say this season will bump up those stats. With June being traditionally the snowiest month in Portillo, it’s sure as anything experiencing a bumper late season in Winter ’23.

And to prove it, the epic amount of snowfall has allowed for historic Ski Portillo inbounds terrain to reopen. Portillo has opened Española, a narrow double black chute that’s allegedly been closed since 2008. It’s no surprise, then, that Portillo will see winter through to October…

Snowiest of all has been Las Leñas. The Santa Rosa storms really brought in the goods, with the late-August storm that traversed the Andes dropping four metres on Las Leñas’ high slopes.

That makes snow depths 4.3m up top and 1.8m at base, with snow continuing to fall and temperatures subzero.

The southern hemisphere’s biggest ski area, Cerro Catedral near Bariloche, has also extended its season to 15 October.

Yes, it’s going to be a winter to remember in South America. And there’s still time to get out there…

Elsewhere in the southern hemisphere it’s been a rather different story, with low snowfall and heatwaves marking Australia’s winter; it’s been the second hottest August on record.

Falls Creek announced that it will be closing for the season on 20 September, while Hotham closed on 17 September and Thredbo on 16 September, which was planning to spin lifts until 1 October.

All the while, snow has fallen in the Rockies and Europe’s glacier resorts prepare to open for Winter 23/24, including Pitztaler on 23 October.