International (Europe/Japan/Southern Hemisphere) 2021 Chile Trip Report

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
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Granby, CO
G'day guys,
Hope all is well. I thought I'd at least start a (hopeful) Chile trip report for my upcoming trips to Nevados de Chillan in August/September. If the admins need to move this somewhere else, no problem. I figured this would also be a useful place to share updates about skiing in Chile and any important updates re: CVOID and current travel restrictions to Chile so that others may benefit. I'll give the caveat that these are just my thoughts/opinions (plus the opinions of my business partner on the ground in Chile) and this information may not be 100% accurate, so take it with a grain of salt, it's not gospel. Please undertake your own research before making any decisions about travel to South America......

I did start a Facebook page for my potential clients so typically I will just copy and paste here, any major updates I have already shared there. I'm happy to hear other people's thoughts and opinions and answer any questions you might have. Here's a couple of updates I shared recently...... The first is from April 22nd.

"Time for another Chile update...... Ironically I had just written a long update to my guides this afternoon, including an overview of what has been happening and then about an hour later, there has more new (positive) news.

Hopefully most of you were aware that Chile had re-opened their international borders (with restrictions) to foreign travelers back on November 23rd. Condition of entry were further updated on January 7th. By this stage you had to have negative PCR tests taken no more than 72 hours before departure and then undertake a few other formalities to enter Chile.

Nevados de Chillan was able to open up again for their summer season and the chairlifts were spinning for mountain biking. There were restrictions of course, as well as reduced capacity for the local hotels and restaurants. At least they were open as opposed to the non-event of their 2020 winter when the resort stayed closed for the whole season. Things were looking a lot more positive finally.

Unfortunately COVID cases start to rise sharply again in March and worryingly hospitals started to reach occupancy. 80% of Chile had to go into lockdown for almost a month, including the Pinto region where Nevados de Chillan is located. The international borders were closed again for 1 month, on April 5th.
This was somewhat of a surprise as Chile had been doing really well with their COVID vaccination program. They moved early to secure their doses (mostly Pfizer and Sinovax Coronavax from China, both 2-shot regimes) and had one of the highest vaccination rates (per 100 people) in the world. Over 40% of all people had received at least 1 does of the vaccine by April.

So what went wrong? Why have infection rates increased again? Well, testing has shown that the Sinovax vaccine has not performed well at all, compared to the Pfizer vaccine. With only 1 dose, the Sinovax vaccine only has a 16% efficacy rate at preventing infection and a 36% success rate at keeping people out of hospital. The infection rate has greatly increased in younger people (below 60) who have lessened the use of masks, social distancing etc with news of the impending vaccination programs. The spread of the more contagious Brazilian variant has added to the increase in infection rates and hospitalizations as well. I think this article describes in more detail what has been happening - https://www.reuters.com/.../chiles-covid-19-vaccine.../.

The good news is that the infection rate has started to come down in the last few days. Today it was announced (thank you for the update Francisco) that the Pinto region where Nevados de Chillan is located, will come out of lockdown on Monday, as will other regions where the infection rates are lower (haven't heard about Santiago yet). The international border was closed on April 5th for one month and is scheduled to re-open on May 5th.

So, overall, good news. The Chilean government is prioritizing people who took the Sinovax vaccine to get their second dose (the Pfizer vaccine has proven to be 80% effective against the virus after only 1 shot) and secure a more diverse range of vaccines. The government is aiming to have 80% of the population (19.5m people total population) fully vaccinated by June, thus allegedly achieving herd immunity. That would be great news for our programs starting in August.

I'll keep the updates coming as I have them. All the best team.

Matt"
 
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Mattadvproject

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
Industry Insider
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Posts
616
Location
Granby, CO
I posted this second update today (Tue 4th May)......

"Hola amigos, hope all is well. Quick update about Chile. I spoke with Francisco in Chile for about an hour today. Overall, things continue to move in the right direction. Unfortunately the government has not given an update on the reopening of the international border. It was supposed to reopen tomorrow after the 1 month closure, but it appears it will remain shut for the time being. Francisco feels that we won't see an announcement on that until after the voting for the new Chilean Constitutional Convention on the 15th/16th May, which is not far away.

Apparently the government has been working away behind the scenes and wants there to be some kind of COVID health passport in place when the borders are reopened, so that Chileans can leave/re-enter without difficulty. That would also help foreign visitors as well, most likely those that are fully-vaccinated. Major updates from the government are given on Mondays and Thursdays in Chile apparently, so we could know more on Thursday or next week.

So, it's a shame that was no word on the border reopening tomorrow, but the country does continue to move in the right direction for COVID infection rates. Pinto (the district where Nevados de Chillan is) moved up to stage 2 restrictions a couple of weeks ago and now there is hope that in a couple of weeks they will move to level 3. Now I can't tell you the intricacies of each level, but level 1 is total lockdown, level 2 is basically reopened from Monday through Friday with restrictions, level 3 is open all week with restrictions and level 4 is open but with some low level restrictions. Level 5 is no restrictions at all.

Chillan, the regional capital and home to the biggest hospitals with the all-important intensive care units for the surrounding populations was still at stage 1 lockdown, but tomorrow, they will move to stage 2. Francisco feels that Pinto region will move to stage 3 (open all week, with restrictions) in a week or two. That's really important for the ski resort obviously. Dining is limited to a maximum of 6 people per table with each table socially-distanced indoors during stage 3 restrictions, at stage 4, group size can be much bigger. I would hope that with continued vaccinations and decreasing serious infection rate, then Pinto could keep moving to level 4. Level 3 would still allow the resort to open all week and we could still dine out, although tables would be limited in size. I think that would still work for us though.

In terms of the vaccinations, then currently vaccinations are being given to adults aged 40 and above. Next Monday (10th) they move to 35 years and older and then the Monday (17th) after that, they will move to 30 and older. Quite the segmented system. The government has purchased in total 40m additional doses of the vaccine. All of this helps us a foreign visitors obviously in our quest to be allowed in and stay safer from infection hopefully.

Another very important piece of news is that it is no longer illegal for workers to reside on or near the mountain, during the pandemic. Allegedly last season, the ski area owner's association wanted to open the ski areas, but it was illegal during restrictions for employees to reside in or close to the resort, so they had no staff to be able to legally be able to stay on/near the mountain and run the amenities. People were supposed to be staying at or close to home. That rule is no longer enforced. So, staffing the resort in the wintertime should no longer be an issue. I think that's a really important change and should give them the ability to stay open, after all, the Chilean resorts have seen that other countries (the US for example) that have been able to have a successful ski season. I know they will want to do the same as missing all the revenue from their last winter, some nearly went bankrupt. I don't think they can afford to do that again.

That's it for now. Will chime in with more updates as I have them. Onwards and upwards!

- Matt"
 
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