Does the snow in the Northern Hemisphere correlates with the Southern Hemisphere?

Does the snow in the Northern Hemisphere correlates with the Southern Hemisphere? Photo: Valle de Las Leñas in Mendoza, Argentina.

Does the snow in the Northern Hemisphere correlates with the Southern Hemisphere?

As the snow season is to start in South America, we who are born and bred there – (not necessarilly all living there anymore, but many of my friends are doing double seaason- in Chile or Argentina and then Aspen or Vail usually), always tend to think that the snow in the Northern Hemisphere is correlated with the snow in the Southern Hemisphere, mostly when the season is going to start down under.

Summer what Summer?

In Southamerica, specifically in Chile there is a saying: “Abril lluvias mil” that can be translated as: “in April we will have lots of rain”, but this has changed over the last 10 years or so.

There have been lots of Aprils without any rain in the cities, and no snow up in the mountains.
In the High Andes, due to the rocky formation of the mountains, you need a good month of natural snow to cover well all the mountain. Lately, all ski areas have been proactive and started installing snowmaking cannons and guns as Mother Nature is not reliable.

Valle Nevado picture on 14 June. Does the snow in the Northern Hemisphere correlates with the Southern Hemisphere?
Valle Nevado picture on 14 June. Does the snow in the Northern Hemisphere correlates with the Southern Hemisphere?

Chile had the driest start of the year from January to May so far in the last six decades. If there is no rain, there is no snow. There is a front coming now, not sure how much will leave at the high Andes and how much at the lower ones – Accuweather does not show too much in this respect.

Snow-Forecast is a bit more optimistic! I As per Snow-Forecast, Las Leñas has received 42 cm in the past week and is expecting 19 more cm in the next three days. Others that benefited are Puma Lodge with 59 cm, Nevados de Chillan with 56 cm, Corralco with 55 cm and Villarrica-Pucón with 47 cm. Antillanca also got 32 cm, Volcan Osorno 30 cm, Caviahue, in Argentina got 19 cm, Catedral 16 cm and Valle Nevado 16 cm.

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Due to a slow season Las Leñas and Portillo are closing their seasons one month early.

Las Leñas, Cenidor, a black short steep piste in Las Leñas connecting the two sectors of the mountain. .

This winter season in the Southern Hemisphere in Argentina & Chile has been weird. Unfortunately for some of the resorts of the High Andes, the season has not been good. This is the case for Las Leñas in Argentina and Portillo in Chile. Valle Nevado seems to have a better snow base – maybe due to its altitude, as today was having all lifts opened but one, and only 9 pistes and the boarder cross park are closed.

Las Leñas view from the Piramide shopping center - 6th September 2018.
Las Leñas view from the Piramide shopping center – 6th September 2018.

More in the south, Chapelco and Bariloche seemed to have got better luck and got snow.

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Focus on South American Ski Resorts:

Valle Nevado is now part of the IKON Pass. Photo: Valle Nevado Ski Resort.

South American Ski Resorts: High Andes: Valle Nevado, Portillo and Las Leñas – Chile and Argentina

The ski season is about to start in the Southern Hemisphere – In this post I’ll focus on the South American Ski Resorts in the High Andes. Located in Chile and Argentina, all the resorts are in the Andes Mountains, home of the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere – the Aconcagua.

Las Leñas, the biggest terrain ski area in South America - if we count it's off-piste. Host of the South American Ski and Snowboarding Extremes for many years, for a reason. Photo Las Leñas ski resort.
Las Leñas, the biggest terrain ski area in South America – if we count it’s off-piste. Host of the South American Ski and Snowboarding Extremes for many years, for a reason. Photo Las Leñas ski resort.South American Ski Resorts.

At the altitude of Buenos Aires and Santiago, going to the Andes, you have what is called the High Andes – high altitude resorts – what the Brits would called ‘snow sure resorts’ (even though there is nothing like that really in the world – I’ve had some seasons down under with no snow at all, but usually you do get a very good season). A snowstorm can last one week and bring 3 meters of powder snow.



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Snow here is very light and dry – amazing really, and the Andes mountains bring you very dramatic landscapes – think Dolomites, with rugged peaks, but no trees – this is above tree-line county.

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How to deal with high prone avalanche terrain. A talk with Coco Torres, formerly of Las Leñas, Argentina.

A Gaz-ex installation in a mountain - methods of containing high prone avalanche areas.

How to deal with high prone avalanche terrain – A talk with Coco Torres, former Mountain Manager in Las Leñas and now Operative Consultant for numerous ski resorts.

Jorge “Coco” Torres has left Las Leñas in the year 2010, having worked for several years as the Mountain Manager in charge of all the avalanches control operations, amongst all other mountain matters.

One of the maps of the off-piste of Las Leñas showcasing its couloirs, which are also coincide avalanche corridors. Las Leñas is a high prone avalanche area.
One of the maps of the off-piste of Las Leñas showcasing its couloirs, which are also coincide avalanche corridors. Las Leñas is a high prone avalanche area.

I’ve contacted him as I’ve always found fascinating how Las Leñas took control of their avalanches. Every time there was a storm at Las Leñas, which could last a whole week, we went on hearing bombing all day and all night. I know that Las Leñas is a high prone avalanche terrain.



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Skiing in Europe, I cannot say I have heard too many bombs at all, so this prompted me to start putting together a couple of stories that will come out on the next months, on how the avalanches are prevented or controlled in different countries of the world.

Coco told me that he left Las Leñas (Mendoza, Argentina) in the year 2010, and since then he has been working as a consultant in mountain projects and developments. He is going to tell me the process used in Las Leñas at least until he left the valley.

Continue reading “How to deal with high prone avalanche terrain. A talk with Coco Torres, formerly of Las Leñas, Argentina.”