News and Events

Mt Hutt ‘all systems go’ for 40th season opening (13-Jun-13)
Immaculately groomed slopes and a genuinely warm welcome await avid skiers and snowboarders.....

Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area first to open in Australasia (10-Jun-13)
Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area today (June 8) celebrated in style as the first Australasian ski field to open for winter....

Coronet Peak first ski area in Australasia to open on Saturday (05-Jun-13)
Queenstown is officially open for winter as the 2013 season kicks off at Coronet Peak on Saturday (June 8).

Ski Areas Go Out With A Bang! (27-Sep-12)
Season extension and half price passes

World's Highest Ski Area No More (19-Apr-09)

Chacaltaya, Bolivia, April 19, 2009 - A report from Yale Environment 360 states

A report from Yale Environment 360 states that the Chacaltaya ski area in Bolivia, formerly the world’s highest, has stopped operating as the snow field on which it was located has melted away due to global warming.

“Chacaltaya, which means "cold road" in Aymara, was once Bolivia's only ski resort and the world's highest. Now it is a barren, russet moraine studded with clues of its past: a lonely chunk of ice sticking out like an elongated diving board and a dirty white signpost with the fading graphic of a cartoonish condor on skis.” says the report.

Chacaltaya was established 70 years ago in 1939 and operated a fast and "extremely difficult to ride" cable tow (it involves chucking a hook over a speeding cable).

The base is reached by a remarkable road, heroically built in the 1930s by the Bolivians up to the closest snow field to La Paz, their capital. The man in charge of construction died in an avalanche in 1945 - which the locals believe was an act of vengeance by the snow gods and is given as the reason why there's been no new ski areas in Bolivia since. 

Apart from being the world’s highest ski area it was famous for being the most northerly South American ski area, the closest 'proper' ski area to the equator anywhere in the world and the oldest and fastest lift in South America. 

The lifts of Mérida in Venezuela are in fact further north and closer to the equator but there are no actual dedicated ski lifts or ski runs there. 

Chacaltaya operated only at weekends in the Southern Hemisphere's 'warm season' - which is, uniquely, the Southern Hemisphere's summer and the same period as the Northern Hemisphere's winter because conditions are too hard, icy and dry in the Southern Hemisphere's winter.

The world’s highest ski area is now Jade Dragon Ski Mountain in Yunnan Province, China, which was first accessed by a new gondola only ten years ago in 1999. The gondola reaches 4516m and last year the resort introduced a surface tow at the top of the mountain creating a basic ski area above the gondola. It is not officially permitted to ski down the mountain from the gondola although this has been achieved by ski writer Jimmy Petterson when researching his book, Skiing Around The World.

Jade Dragon sells altitude sickness tablets and oxygen bags to visitors who need them.

As the main focus of the Yale report “Retreat of Andean Glaciers Foretells Global Water Woes” points out, the demise of the small ski area has a much more serious significance for Bolivia and in the longer term for many communities around the world, which also rely on glacier melt water for hydro electric power or simply for drinking water.
 
Fresh Peaks Site Map
Fresh Peaks is a proud member of 1% for the Planet. Click here to see what it is all about.