Chile powder off the menu as COVID-19 surge continues

Chile powder is off the menu this winter.

The news is sad for all our Chilean friends and the people there as the Health Ministry reports another 4,475 new cases there taking the total to 225,103 with 226 new deaths, taking that total to 3,841.

That now puts Chile in the World’s Top 10 for COVID-19 cases. With quarantine measures in place and calls to strengthen those measures the chances of the ski resorts opening anytime soon are lengthening.

snowbaord instructor at Valle Nevado
Aussie Ash Muller is sitting out this season at home in Lennox Head, after 13 seasons instructing at Valle Nevado © Owain Price

Valle Nevado already pushed out their potential opening to July 31, which may still prove optimistic. Credits for 2021 are being offered to existing clients.

Portillo had earlier pushed their target opening date out to July 18, but given the situation on the ground in Chile that is likely to change.

Going the slash high above Portillo © Owain Price

With predictable timing it has been snowing buckets along the south and central Andes as resorts big and small – Chile has some amazing small volcano ski areas like Osorno, Anitllanca and Corralco, apart from the World famous resorts outside Santiago. Chile powder is awesome when it’s on, which is often!

The major international client base for Chile is Brazil, where the federal government’s response to COVID-19 has been quite probably the World’s worst. President Jair Bolsonaro has for months downplayed the dangers – even claiming back in April Brazileans were so tough they swam in sewage so it wouldn’t affect them. Not fake news folks, he actually said it!

At least many state governors and mayors did the best they could to circumvent the federal governments failures.

But the people in Brazil are paying a high price with cases closing on one million, and nearly 50,000 deaths. That is only behind the USA for total cases and deaths – although since testing is limited the actual figures are believed to be considerably higher on both counts.

Lonquimay volcano is home to Corralco ski resort © Carmen Price

So who would be putting their hands up to fly anywhere near there anytime soon? Even if there were flights.

Seeing numbers like these it puts a few complaints about delays and restrictions at home in perspective.

This winter Aussie skiing is the go for Aussies, Kiwi sking for Kiwis. If and when they fire up Trans-Tasman flights hopefully we can get over there too.

Be thankful for living on islands, with governments and systems capable of dealing with a crisis of this magnitude.