Finally! Chilean Ski Resorts to Open After El Niño Brings Weekend Snow

·Associate Travel Editor

A picture taken on Monday at Chile’s Laguna del Inca. (Photo: Ski Portillo)

There’s finally some good news in a disastrous year for skiers: El Niño appears to have fully arrived in South America, and it’s delivering enough snow for Chilean resorts to open this week after they’d been waiting since mid-June.

Chile’s Ski Portillo on Monday reported receiving 5 ½ feet of fresh snow over the past week, with more than half of that falling over the past two days.

“Based on the amount of snow we currently have and the positive weather forecasts for this weekend, Ski Portillo is anticipating we will open for the 2015 season on Saturday, July 18,” the resort reported on its website.

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The scene at Ski Portillo on Monday after heavy weekend snowfall. (Courtesy Ski Portillo/Facebook)

Meanwhile, Valle Nevado Ski Resort in Chile boasted photos on its Facebook page Monday reporting 31 inches of snow over the weekend. The full resort is set to open July 17, but Valle Nevado says it may have enough snow to open for day skiers by Wednesday.

A good looking snow fall at Ski Portillo. (Photo: Ski Portillo)

This could help salvage a tough year for skiing in which resorts in the western U.S. closed early after receiving less than half their normal snowfall.

A mild El Niño was reported in May by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, with predictions but no guarantee it would gain strength later, which it failed to do last year despite similar optimism. If this storm fulfills its promise, there’s a 70 percent chance of lasting through September and a 60 percent chance of lasting through December.

To follow the latest snow reports by ski resort, you can visit J2ski.com.

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