Piste Patroller dies in Argentine Avalanche
19th July 2020
Last modified on May 14th, 2021
The resort of Cerro Catedral opened last week amid covid-19 restrictions. Another man was injured in the accident. It was the only resort open in South America and we have been following conditions. The resort remains closed.
UPDATE, Tuesday 28th July
The accident happened at 8.30 Monday as the men were making the slopes safe after heavy snow.
The resort was closed at the time
50-year old Mario Ruiz was the chief patrol officer for the resort and was highly experienced.
The patrol team was carrying out the Avalanche Trigger Intervention Plan, which includes detonations due to the large amount of accumulated snow.
The men were moving from one sector to another when there was an avalanche near the road known as Intermedia in the northern sector of the resort.
He was dug out and taken to a local hospital, the San Carlos Sanatorium, but died from his injuries several hours later.
An investigation is underway and the resort remains closed.
Saturday 25th July
It is the largest ski resort in South America and has received deep snowfall over the past two months, but the quarantine has kept things on strict lockdown across Argentina.
Now some lifts are finally open and the conditions are said to be good with blue sky and fresh snow.
“Good conditions, good snow and lots of sunshine,” said the resort.
The slopes are open for locals only.
Cerro Catedral hoped partially to open for a test run to locals only on Tuesday, July 21st and then offer up skiing to others.
However poor weather on Wednesday delayed things.
Here’s the view from a piste basher that was battling the snow and wind.
Cerro Catedral is the first South American ski resort to open in The Andes.
The slopes have been maintained and kept safe from avalanche during the enforced closure.
The lockdown in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, is being relaxed and children under the age of 16 can leave their homes for an hour every day, rather than just at weekends.
Argentina imposed a strict quarantine in March.
It was eased in May but when cases rose, many restrictions were reimposed.
It was a while ago now but our editor, James Cove, has been skiing in the Argentine resort.
He was planning a summer trip this year to South America but that is on hold and he’ll just have to survive on his memories for the time being.
The resort Cerro Castor has said it will open on August 1st as opening day to local residents of Tierra del Fuego.
Cerro Castor plans to run 4 lifts.
There has been good snow across the ski resorts in South America as we reported earlier on PlanetSKI; Big snowfalls in South America but ski resorts remain closed
Total snow depths now exceed 6m in places and are the biggest depths since 2005.
South America has more than two dozen ski areas.
4 have officially announced they will not operate this season amid the covid-19 pandemic:
Argentina: Las Lenas, La Hoya, and Los Puquios
Chile: Ski Pucon on the Villarrica Volcano
All remaining ski areas are currently watching and waiting.
Portillo in Chile has announced it still hopes to open, but the season remains postponed.
Many international race teams head to the slopes in South America for summer training but it is unlikely border restrictions will allow this year even if the resorts open.
Argentina and Chile borders remain closed to tourists and flights into Argentina will not resume until at least September 1st.