The World’s Highest Ski Resort Has Melted


The world's highest ski resort, Chacaltaya, 17,400 feet up in the Bolivian Andes, has melted. Over the last two decades, the glacier on which the resort was built shrunk by more than 80 percent—so much so that the 60-year-old main lodge is now stranded atop a rocky ridge and the only run left is a 600-foot schuss. 

Scientist Edson Ramirez, who has studied the glacier since 1991, had predicted its demise by 2015. The more rapid evaporation has led him to theorize that neighboring glaciers have picked up the pace as well.

Aside from missing tourist dollars and the need for artificial snow, a bigger problem now faces the region. Not only do two of the country's largest cities, La Paz and El Alto, rely on the Andean glaciers as a source of drinking water, but Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia also depend on hydropower, generated by Andean glacial runoff, for about half of their electricity. —Jess Holl

Related Stories: 

BBC News – Huge Bolivian Glacier Disappears

New York Times – Bolivia's Only Ski Resport Is Facing a Snowless Future

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