Valle Nevado
Valle Nevado
Remember the 2022-2023 ski season in North America? Of course you do. The endless powder days, Mammoth Mountain's absurd late-season campaign—it's pretty impossible to forget.

Now, South America is getting its own taste of what could become a mythically deep ski season.

PowderQuest, a guiding company that operates in South America, among other locales, reported yesterday that Ski Portillo, Chile, and Las Leñas, Argentina, had both delayed their official opening dates due to excessive snowfall causing road closures and high avalanche danger.

Thanks to the snowfall earlier this month, Portillo opened earlier than usual, offering skiing and riding on a weekends-only basis throughout June. They managed to open June 1st and June 2nd with stellar conditions, but the back-to-back storms prevented the rest of the pre-season dates.

Las Leñas early season plans were also sidelined. They intended to fire the lifts up today through Sunday for a pre-season launch. However, as the avalanche danger increased to extreme, they, too, had to push back their opening.

Nineteen feet (228 inches) of snow has fallen on Las Leñas' upper mountain so far this season. The ski area now plans to open on June 29th. At Portillo, the story's similar. They tentatively hope to reopen on June 26th and have received thirteen feet (156 inches) of snow since winter began.

Even more snow is expected over the next four days. Our friends at Powderchasers estimate that an additional 2-5 feet will fall across South America through the weekend.

"It's close to the best start we have ever seen in our 25 years guiding here," said PowderQuest's founder, David Owen. "With today's storm rolling in and the forecasted amounts of three to six feet, I'm pretty sure this will be breaking records for June at many ski areas in Chile and Argentina."

South America's ski season started strong in May when Patagonia saw record snowfall. Catedral Alta Patagonia, an Argentinian ski resort, took advantage of the powder and hosted a temporary pre-season opening from May 9th through May 11th, well in advance of its usual start date.

"Locals were calling it 'Magic May,'" said Owen. Then, June arrived, which, Owen explained, "has been non-stop for pretty much all ski areas down here."

Despite the delays at Las Leñas and Portillo, vibes are high. Owen, who's been in contact with his South American team, said, "Everyone is so pumped to have such an early start."

"Huge bases and deep powder is a dream for all of us. Hopefully it continues!" Owen added.