Volcanic Ash Postpones Bariloche Season Opening
SAM Magazine-Bariloche, Argentina, June 21, 2011-A volcano in Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain erupted on June 4 after being dormant for decades, sending a cloud of ash into the air and blanketing the ski resorts above Bariloche in several inches of ash. The volcano and its aftermath have postponed the start of the ski season until the coming weekend at the earliest.
Air traffic is slowly returning to normal, but tourism in Bariloche is well below typical levels. One hotel manager said visits were down 80 percent.
Winds blew the ash cloud eastward in the days and weeks after the eruption began, but they have shifted direction and are expected to keep ash over Chile and away from the Bariloche region. Experts say that the volcano will likely continue to plague air travel (and possibly skiers and riders) for several weeks as winds move the ash cloud about.
Cerro Catedral, the largest resort above Bariloche, is set to open as soon as it gets enough snow to cover the volcanic ash.
Several other South American resorts have delayed their openings as well-mostly due to lack of snow, not too much ash.