Nevados de Chillan eruption
© DMC Photography/Facebook
Skiers were shocked when a volcano erupted next to them in Chile
Avalanches, extreme cold, and fast-changing weather conditions are just a few of the natural dangers that skiers and snowboarders must be aware of and prepare themselves for when out exploring the mountains.

However, skiers in the Bío Bío region of Chile in South America on August 2 were struck by an unexpected threat - an erupting volcano. The Nevados de Chillán volcano began to billow smoke, ash and gases while a group from ski and snowboard guide company Powder Quest were on the neighbouring slopes.

Skier Jess McMillan caught the whole thing on film and posted the video on her Instagram feed, with the caption: "So crazy to see a #volcano #eruption @nevadosdechillan Very cool way to end an epic bluebird powder day @powderquest #ladiesfreeridecamp."

Experts from the website Volcano Discovery suggest the eruption started around 5:10pm on August 1 - the dense plume of ash from the crater, which is off-limits to skiers and snowboarders, rose to 3,600m and quickly dispersed. In total the activity only lasted a few minutes, but nonetheless caught those enjoying the sunny South American slopes off guard.

Jess said: "The volcano has been giving off gases all season, there's now a closed area surrounding it to keep skiers and snowboarders a safe distance away. The volcano has emitted gases twice since in the past three days - it makes no sound and there's no earthquake when it happens."

The eruption didn't seem to bother the groups of skiers and snowboarders out exploring the resort of Nevados de Chillán, which is nestled in one of the most volcanic regions in Chile and is part of the southern Andes, five hours and 45 minutes' drive from Santiago airport. Many posed for pictures, posting them on social media, with the natural phenomenon in the background.

This region, along with others in South America, is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders who are eager to make fresh tracks throughout the summer, before the European winter begins.

Jess said: "It is winter in South America and the Andes offer some of the best terrain in the world. It was really crazy to see a volcano erupt while skiing, but the local government is monitoring the activity so for now we are just enjoying the great snow."

People from the Chilean resort have reported that the volcano has been erupting like this on a regular basis since December 2015 and locals suspect more volcanic activity may be on its way in the coming months. Jess said that the group she's with has been told they are skiing in a yellow zone, meaning the volcanic activity is normal and there is currently no need for alarm or evacuation.