Resort-sponsored cat skiing operations are as common as high-speed quads these days– except high-speed quads usually access better terrain.
Ski Arpa is the antithesis to that notion. Started by ski industry legend Anthony “Toni” Sponar and run by his son Anton, Arpa is a one-of-a-kind experience for skiers and riders with a wild hair for adventure. From its summit elevation, skiers are treated to unobstructed views of 22,841′ Aconcagua before skiing down to the cat driver whose ready to serve up another hot lap. And while the snow can be extremely variable– when conditions are good– the area transforms into a backcountry skier’s paradise.
Beyond the conditions, the experience @SkiArpa captures the very essence of what many consider “adventure skiing.” The permitted area accesses 4,000+ acres of above tree-line terrain with a 3,000′ vertical drop back to their makeshift lodge, “Rancho Avalanches.”
“This Chile cat skiing operation has all the delights of great terrain and the backcountry that you’d expect from heli skiing in the Andes.” – Powderhounds.com
That area gets exponentially bigger when you add ski touring in Valle La Honda to the agenda. Either way, Ski Arpa is perfect for the skier/rider looking for something with a little more spice than their home hill’s side-country cat-skiing operation.
Vaya a Ski Arpa, Vaya la cumbre!
Just 108km from the Santiago airport, Ski Arpa can be reached a variety of ways. We recommend catching a bus or taxi to Los Andes/San Esteban from the Santiago airport. In the morning take the Ski Arpa shuttle (*reservation required) up the valley to Ski Arpa. If you’re planning on driving yourself, we strongly recommend a 4X4 vehicle with snow tires and/or chains if possible.
*Portillo extensions also available…
Lodging can be found in nearby Los Andes or San Esteban. We recommend staying in San Estaban unless your flight arrives late, in which case we suggest staying at the Santiago Airport. Before booking any accommodations, make sure to secure transportation to and from Ski Arpa beforehand.
Los Andes – Inca Hotel (*1 hour)
San Esteban – Hotel San Esteban (*1 hour)
Santiago Airport – Holiday Inn Santiago Airport (*2 hours, 15 minutes)
Santiago City – Hotel Loreto (*2 hours)
*Drive times to Ski Arpa
Book here: Ski Arpa Trip Planner
When To Go
Historically speaking, the majority of snowfall in the Andes occurs between the end of June and beginning of August. Good snow can also be found on the bookends of the ski season in Chile but more often than not– visitors should expect corn and/or variable conditions when skiing in mid-to-late August or September.
Ski Arpa Stats:
- Average Annual Snowfall – 200″
- Vertical Drop – 3,000+ Feet
- Skiable Terrain – 4,000+ Acres
- Cats – Two Pisten Bully Snowcats (*open air)
- Capacity – 22 riders per cat
- Guides – 2 guides per cat, 1 guide for every 6 skiers