• Overall Rating
Arpa Cat Skiing4.2 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
Wagner Custom Skis
 
Ski Arpa is high elevation snow cat skiing in the Andes
Ski Arpa is high elevation snow cat skiing in the Andes
The summit is 12,500 feet
The summit is 12,500 feet
The snow quality near the summit can be dry chalky powder
The snow quality near the summit can be dry chalky powder
Upscape travel will pick you up from your hotel in a 4wd
Upscape travel will pick you up from your hotel in a 4wd
The road up to Arpa is rough and steep so a 4wd is a must
The road up to Arpa is rough and steep so a 4wd is a must
The terrain is varied and interesting
The terrain is varied and interesting
Along the ridge-lines there are steep escarpments
Along the ridge-lines there are steep escarpments
There is the possibility of some short hikes to get into the goods
There is the possibility of some short hikes to get into the goods
We stayed at the Casa San Regis which is a lovely touch of authentic Chile
We stayed at the Casa San Regis which is a lovely touch of authentic Chile
The Casa San Regis is a historic hacienda rich in history
The Casa San Regis is a historic hacienda rich in history
The Los Andes valley is one of the regions grape growing areas
The Los Andes valley is one of the regions grape growing areas
Arpa runs 2 snowcats with max 14 people per cat
Arpa runs 2 snowcats with max 14 people per cat
There are some great steep chutes to challenge you
There are some great steep chutes to challenge you
And some definite "no fall zones"
And some definite
The day lodge is a great place to kick back with a beer at the end of the day
The day lodge is a great place to kick back with a beer at the end of the day
There is plenty of terrain to work with
There is plenty of terrain to work with
It is approximately 1,000 metres of vertical from top to bottom
It is approximately 1,000 metres of vertical from top to bottom
I skied that!
I skied that!
Cheers to another great day at Ski Arpa
Cheers to another great day at Ski Arpa
Ready for the drive off the mountain after 10,000+ feet of vertical smiles
Ready for the drive off the mountain after 10,000+ feet of vertical smiles

Arpa Cat Skiing

Ski Arpa Chile for a fabulously wild and magical adventure. Powder hounds should definitely put Arpa Cat Skiing Chile on the "must do" list for any ski vacation to South America. Ski Arpa provides steep and challenging runs of 900 metres of uninterrupted vertical - not something you'd usually expect from cat skiing. 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. The difference is that Arpa provides exceptional value for money. With Chile heli skiing, the same amount of vertical would cost four to six times as much.

Ski El Arpa (the harp) is the only formal Chile cat skiing operation as the South Americans haven’t fully caught onto the joys of the snowcat yet, but the secret is slowly leaking out.

Benefits of Cat Skiing Cat skiing offers an opportunity to get away from the congestion and crowds at the ski resorts. You don’t have to fight hundreds or thousands of Santiago locals to get the fresh lines. And cat skiing is better than ski touring. You can save your time and energy for doing what you love most – going down the hill! Also, with cat skiing the guided backcountry experience significantly improves the safety aspects.



Where is Arpa Cat Skiing Located?Arpa cat skiing operates in two valleys, “Valle el Arpa” and “Valle la Honda”, in the shadow of Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Andes. Ski Arpa is only 108km northeast of Santiago de Chile (about a 2:15 hour drive), 35km from the town of Los Andes, and not far from Portillo ski resort

The access road to Arpa is very rugged so a heavy duty 4WD is required to get there. It's easiest to get a tour operator (see below) to provide transport from Los Andes or Santiago. If you want to self-drive see our getting to Arpa page for more information. 

Arpa Chile AccommodationThere is no accommodation at Ski Arpa, but there are various lodging options in the town of Los Andes (about an hour away) or in the Aconcagua Valley. See our Arpa accommodation page for more information.

A great option to immerse yourself in the "real" Chile is at Casa San Regis, an old hacienda that has retained the charms of the old world and combined these with mod cons. The accommodation here is bed and breakfast style and the prices are a small fraction of what you'd pay for lodging at the ski resorts.

Ski Arpa Cat Skiing Package Options

Ski Arpa Day Trip from Santiago DETAILS
ARPA CAT SKIING - DAY TRIP FROM SANTIAGO
1 Full Day of Cat Skiing inc Transfers
From price based on group of 2. Price reduces per person depending on number of guests attending. Min 2 guests required to tour to operate.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
From price based on group of 2. Price reduces per person depending on number of guests attending. Min 2 guests required to tour to operate.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 582
Book & pay deposit by April 30, 2016 and get 5% discount off advertised prices
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are based in Santiago and are looking for a unique and exciting ski or snowboard adventure, then a day of snowcat skiing (10,000 - 15,000 vertical feet) at Ski Arpa could be just the ticket! The full day tour (12 hours) includes return transport ex Santiago. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • 1 full day of snowcat skiing (10,000 - 15,000 feet vert)
  • Return transport from Santiago
  • Guiding by certified guides
  • Use of avalanche beacon
  • Boxed lunch
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: South America | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Ski Arpa Portillo Express DETAILS
ARPA CAT SKIING - PORTILLO EXTENSION
1 Night Lodging | 1 Day Cat Skiing
From price based on twin/double-share room (group of 2) staying at Inca Hotel. Min 2 guests required to tour to operate.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
From price based on twin/double-share room (group of 2) staying at Inca Hotel. Min 2 guests required to tour to operate.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 769
Book & pay deposit by April 30, 2016 and get 5% discount off advertised prices
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The ultimate way to finish a week at Portillo and maximise your ski time in Chile. Stay an extra night en-route to Santiago Airport and ski 10,000 - 15,000 vertical feet of freshies with Arpa Cat Skiing. More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • 1 night twin-share accommodation (3 levels to chose from)
  • Breakfast (dinner with some packages)
  • 1 full day of snowcat skiing & boxed lunch
  • Transport from Portillo to Ski Arpa & to SA Airport
  • Use of avalanche beacon
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: South America | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Ultimate Ski Arpa Experience DETAILS
MULTI-DAY SNOWCAT SKIING TOUR
2 Nights Lodging | 2 Days Cat Skiing
From price based on twin/double-share room (group of 2) staying at Inca Hotel.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
From price based on twin/double-share room (group of 2) staying at Inca Hotel.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,423
Book & pay deposit by April 30, 2016 and get 5% discount off advertised prices
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
A multi-day tour includes 10,000 - 15,000 feet of vertical cat skiing, accommodation in nearby Los Andes, some meals (depending on your choice of lodging) and transfers to/from Santiago as well as to/from El Arpa from your Los Andes lodging More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Inclusions
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast (some packages include lunch & dinner)
  • 2 full days of snowcat skiing (10,000 - 15,000 feet vert/day)
  • Daily transfers to/from Arpa/Los Andes
  • Use of avalanche beacon
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Location: South America | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
1Total Results: 3Total Pages: 1
Ski Arpa Chile Cat Skiing Terrain The cat ski terrain is spread over 4,000 plus acres (1,619 hectares) between elevations of 2,700 and 3,740 metres. The terrain is treeless with huge powder bowls, steep slopes and chutes, and is most suited to advanced and expert riders. Many of the runs are double black diamond and there are even some optional lines that could be rated as suicidal. The highlight of the terrain is that the steep pitch continues all the way down to the day lodge. There are no major traverses or cruisy run-outs. Ski Arpa terrain is guaranteed to challenge your thighs as well as your lungs! 

Arpa Chile has two snowcats and can accommodate up to 25 riders, so you don’t have to share the terrain and powder with many others. 




Ski Arpa Facts & Statistics Ski Arpa is South America’s only fully snowcat-serviced ski resort, well-known for deep powder and panoramic views of the Andes Mountains including the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, Aconcagua.

Season dates: Mid-June through mid-October, exact dates depend on snow conditions

Location: Andes Mountains; 108km (67 miles) north of Santiago, near the town of Los Andes Terrain: 4,000 acres / 2,000 hectares

Base facilities: Mountain shelter, with a café and restrooms

Elevation: 2,690 meters (8,825 feet) at base; 3,740 meters (12,500 feet) at summit

Vertical descent:
1,050 meters (3,445 feet)

Number of trails:
Ski Arpa is comprised entirely of backcountry terrain, and skiers choose their own line. Valle El Arpa has four expansive bowls, steep headwalls, chutes, and wide-open runs. Valle La Honda is a wide-open bowl with approximately 3,000 acres of intermediate to expert terrain. Ski Arpa is entirely above tree line.

Trail classification: Approximately 20% Intermediate, 40% Advanced and 40% Expert.

Snowcats: Ski Arpa has two Pisten Bully snowcats, each with a maximum capacity of 14 people.

Annual snowfall: Averages 5 to 7 meters (15 to 20 feet).

Prices: Full day programs include three to four rides (weather dependent) of approximately 3000+ vertical feet each with a Ski Arpa mountain guide.

Reviews

A Chile Must-Do

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
17/10/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
You don’t go to Arpa cat skiing with the expectation of being pampered. Nor do you go with the anticipation of using your beloved snorkel. You go with the prospect of a great adventure and skiing or snowboarding your butt off!

The sensational terrain is the highlight of Arpa, with steep fall-line runs that will potentially destroy your thighs. Most of the terrain is well suited to advanced riders, but for experts there are great rock bands that provide a variety of lines, some of which could be categorised as triple blacks. Another great thing about Arpa cat skiing is that it provides extraordinary value for money.

Cons: it is either tricky or costly to get to Arpa; the operation is heavily weather-dependent and the road may be closed for a couple of days after a heavy snowfall; safety briefings are absent and safety strategies are not obvious to guests; the snowcats are very no-frills and one is a stand-up affair so there’s no chance to rest the legs if they’re weary; and Arpa only has an average snowfall of 5 metres per season. Like elsewhere in Chile (especially where there is treeless terrain), the quality of the snow can be incredibly variable, but at least you know that there are no crowds to track out the snow.

Staying in accommodation in the Los Andes area provides a great opportunity to get away from the ski resorts and experience some of the real culture of Chile. An Arpa cat skiing experience is definitely worth adding to your Chile ski holiday.

Unique

Adi
05/10/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
The most significant reason to book a trip to Arpa is that the experience is unique. Open top snow-cat rides to the tree-less peaks. Hiking up guanaco trails to get to the last run. Even the drive into Arpa is in itself a novel experience.

The guides are experienced and professional. They'll analyze the group and take you to appropriate terrain. On the day we went there were a couple skiers who had NEVER skied off piste before. I certainly wouldn't recommend Arpa as anyone's first off piste experience, but I was impressed that they could accomodate such relative beginners.

The snow itself wasn't fantastic when we went, it hadn't snowed recently. But the guides obviously know the terrain well, they found us some good snow, even if it wasn't deep powder.

I would definitely return.

Arpa

Thomas Fong
21/04/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    70+
We spent five days at Ski Arpa (booked through POWDER HOUNDS) for snow cat skiing in the shadows of Mt Aconcagua, highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. We skied with the owner legendary Tony Sponar who shares the same name and background as my Australian sking icon and friend, the late Tony Sponar.

Our accommodation was at the historic Chilean Hacienda Casa San Regis and our hosts Alex & Marcella were most hospitable. Enjoyed the authentic Chilean cuisine which was great value with inclusive Chilean wine at dinner.

Unfortunately we visited in a poor season with substandard snow.

A Highlight of Our Trip

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
19/02/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Australia
Powderhounds Review of Arpa Portillo extension
Whilst Arpa cat skiing is unlikely to deliver the deep snow you would find in North America, it offers huge vertical on untracked creamy snow.

The terrain is quite steep and has some great features with a variety of cliffs and chutes.

After a great week of warming up at Portillo, Arpa provides the perfect way to end the trip on a high note.

We stayed at the Casa San Regis and thoroughly enjoyed this place. Great hosts, lovely historical property and superb food.

Ski Arpa

Dave Johnson
21/05/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • RiderType
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Ski Arpa is a magical place. It is a truly wild experience. Climbing out of the Aconcagua Vally, Arpa is accessed by a very adventurous 4 X 4 mining road. If this does not get your juices flowing the terrain at Arpa certainly will. The area is absolutely massive and offers magnificent views of Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Americas, as well as the Pacific Ocean.

Run by the legendary Toni Sponar, Arpa is a ski and snowboarders paradise. 1000 meter runs with tons of nooks and crannies. There is absolutely limitless touring potential as well.

If you are visiting Chile to ski or snowboard make it a point to visit Arpa!

An authentic Chilean experience

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
12/08/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Australia
If you are an advanced skier, El Arpa is a must do if you visit Chile. The runs are a leg burning 1000m of vertical on average and with only 1 snowcat operating the terrain, the freshies last for weeks.

We stayed at the Casa San Regis in Los Andes which is perfectly situated for day trips to Arpa. This place provides you with a real Chilean experience.

Be sure to book in advance as the capacity is limited to just 12 people a day.