Skiers arrested at Cerro Catedral as hundreds frolic free

Two lone skiers were arrested for hiking to ski at Cerro Catedral, Bariloche – as hundreds played in the snow at the base on Father’s Day.

If you thought lockdown downunder was a bit heavy handed at times spare a thought for your fellow ski enthusiasts in Bariloche, Argentina. Two skiers were hiking to ski on Sunday afternoon at Cerro Catedral – no lifts are open (talk was of a July 1st opening as we reported earlier), and the local resorts have had protocol plans ready for weeks, but the quarantine measures continue.

I could have been busted for laying down this lonely line there © Owain Price

Running and biking are OK, and other excercise near your house, but not skiing apparently as the two locals found out when local police resources – usually difficult to find when there’s a robbery, assault or something serious happens – were on the scene in a relative flash.

According to local media reports the two skiers were spotted by a couple of local police from the Cerro Catedral village police station. They called for back up. Yes, back up, you never know what a couple of skiers armed with skis might do, from the larger Melipal station halfway back into the city.

Not content with a fine, the two skiers were arrested when they returned to the carpark and taken into custody at the station and the duty magistrate informed.

Which makes it sound like, OK, maybe we are talking two lone delinquents defying isolation here.

But they were far from alone! Sunday was Fathers Day in Argentina, and there were hundreds of locals out in force playing in the snow at exactly the same time. The car park had plenty of cars. Buses full.

Yes, lots of people were there, making snowmen, toboganning, and doing all the usual stuff families do when mucking around in the snow. All without a problem. Or any police intervention.

Bariloche’s economy depends in huge measure on tourism, led by ski tourism in winter and is suffering greatly as a consequence of lockdown measures. Arresting a couple of skiers is hardly likely to improve the situation.

Defiant skiers are planning to continue skinning up and making the most of the current conditions as the heaviest June falls for a few seasons continue this week.

The whole Province of Rio Negro (equivalent to a state) has had 700 cases and 8 deaths from COVID-19 so far. Greater Buenos Aires has had over 40,000 cases. It’s 1600km away.

Hundreds of people came up for snowplay on Father’s Day with no arrests .. just the 2 lone skiers! © Snow Action