Bolivia used to be home to the world’s highest ski resort.
The rope tow on Chacaltaya was built back in 1939. The mountain’s summit is based at 17,885 feet tall, or over 5421 meters for those who follow the metric system. For decades, it was a spot for many to ski due to it once having a massive glacier. The mountain also featured a lodge with a restaurant (the highest restaurant on the planet).
Multiple factors caused the ski resort to close: climate change that was intensified by deforestation (Bolivia features part of the Amazon Rain Forest) and pollution from nearby cities. The glacier receded to the point where lift-serviced skiing was impossible.
The last competition was held in 2001, the ski resort closed in 2006, and the glacier had completely receded by 2009. Climate change has melted more than 50% of Bolivia’s glaciers, and more are likely to disappear in the near future. Two brothers still live up there. They ran a restaurant, but it now appears that the eatery is closed for good as well due to roof damage.
Yesterday, YouTuber Connor Duncan posted a video tour of the remnants of Chacaltaya. After a brief introduction of the ski resort, the first section of the video covers a tour of the Potosi mine, while the section portion, which starts at 9:23, features a walk around the remnants of Chacaltaya’s skiing past.
It’s cool to see what it looks like today, especially with a small amount of snow on it. When there’s snow, you probably want to use your rock skis. I wish they showed a bit more of the ski lifts and slopes, but it’s still a cool video nonetheless.
The video from Connor is below.
Image/Video Credits: Connor Duncan