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Ski Arpa Cat Skiing  

 

  

Ski Arpa is in the two valleys of "Valle el Arpa" and "Valle la Honda", with its terrain only accessible with Ski Arpa's 2 snowcats. At the summit you will see to the east "Cerro Aconcagua", the highest peak of the Americas, and on clear days, west to the Pacific. Ski Arpa is high alpine bowls and cat skiing with no trees.

  

This is South America's only snowcat-serviced ski resort, offering backcountry skiing & boarding adventure in Chile.

There is no accommodation right at Ski Arpa and most people stay in Los Andes. See our Hotels section for more info. For non skiers and snowboarders who are traveling with skiers or snowboarders, we are happy to offer normal hiking, horseback riding, and wine tours near the town of Los Andes. These activities can also be a great option for a day off of skiing or snowboarding if on a multi day trip and a chance to see more of Chile and its countryside.

The town of Los Andes is 73 KM north of Santiago and about 1 hour drive from Santiago. Ski Arpa is then 35 KM and about 1 hour drive from the town of Los Andes. The last 13 KM are not yet paved and of those, the last 5 KM are extremely rugged driving. Do NOT try to get up to Ski Arpa with a normal rental car, we recommend four wheel drive to ensure not getting stuck and a truck or jeep.

We highly recommend letting us at Southamericaski.com organize transfers to Los Andes and daily ones to Ski Arpa for you.

  

In normal weather, road conditions and traffic, Ski Arpa is about 1 hour drive from Casa San Regis or 1 hour and 15 minutes from the town of Los Andes, one way. However, it can easily take longer (up to 2 hours) depending on weather, road conditions and traffic one way. The last 13 km of the road is very narrow, in the mountains, bumpy and cleared by shoveling after snowfalls.

  

For more info on how to get to Los Andes and Ski Arpa, please visit our Getting there section.

The terrain in Valle El Arpa is entirely in the alpine (no trees), with huge bowls and steep sustained vertical up to 1000m (3000+ft). Depending on your group and where you want to ski, up to six runs can normally be squeezed into a day, with opportunities for short 20 minute hikes to reach lines that have only ever been skied a handful of times (some less). Most cat rides are roughly 25 minutes +- 10 minutes going up depending on the pick-up location and the snowcat.

  

To do your first ride up from the refugio at the base is generally 40 minutes to get up to the top.

  

The runs generally take 30 minutes to an hour depending on size of the group, ability level, how many photos want to be taken, how much time at the top and stopping points, difficulty of terrain being attempted, how many jumps want to be done, stability (sometimes people must  go 1 at a time), snow conditions etc.

With a fast group that has an advanced level and does not stop a lot, runs are generally 40 minutes skiing down. There are hikes to Alto Del Arpa to ski Las Cornices in the afternoons, which generally take about 1hour or slightly more from the drop off to the Refugio with a good group (including the hike).

  

Skiing at Valle El Arpa is an amazing experience provided by Toni Sponar, the owner and a pioneer of CAT skiing in the Andes, a true character. Due to the remote location and weather conditions, Ski Arpa will not be open every day of the season. However, when it is open and it’s good, you won’t be able to imagine anywhere better.  Condors often soar by the summit to investigate the skiers, and the occasional Guanaco can also be spotted during the ride back to the top. On clear days, you can often see west to the Pacific Ocean.

  

  

Toni Sponar

  

Ski Arpa Cat Skiing is owned and operated by Toni Sponar. Born in Austria in 1934, Sponar is in his late 60s but has the looks, attitude, enthusiasm and skiing ability of a twenty something. Two decades ago, he used the money he had saved working for more than 35 years as a ski instructor in Aspen, Colo., to buy 4,000 hectares of land in the Chilean Andes from families and farmers.

  

 
His dream was to run his own private ski resort, and to do what he loves on his own terms. Toni's lifetime of ski experience includes: ski instructing, ski guiding, ski area management and ski industry consulting. Toni will welcome you to his Valle with warm arms and in many tongues. He speaks German, English and Spanish.

  

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