Back country skiing is an unforgettable adventure, any way you look at it. Back country skiing at El Arpa, Chile is even more amazing than you might imagine. No trekking long distances carrying heavy gear, and no worries about the potential for long lift lines; unbelievable amounts of snow, and unbelievable vertical are all features of this fantastic trip. Let's take a closer look at this incredible opportunity to ski some of the world's best back country.
About El Arpa
Located in the shadow of Aconcagua Mountain, which is the highest in either North or South America, El Arpa's ski season starts around the middle of June and continues into at least the middle of October. As all of El Arpa's terrain is strictly natural and there are no prepared runs or pistes, and as there is no snow making, the season here usually begins just a little later than other ski areas in this region.
Situated between 9,000 and 12,500 feet above sea level (2700-3740 meters), El Arpa receives as much as five meters of snow each season, and offers over four thousand stunning acres of rideable terrain. It is conveniently located just 108 kilometers from Santiago, which is ideal for a fantastic day trip. One caveat - El Arpa is closed immediately after heavy snowfall due to avalanche risk. Be sure to call in advance if you hope to ski after a storm.
Skiing and Snowboarding El Arpa
There are two separate valleys at El Arpa - the first is Valle la Honda, and the second is Valle el Arpa. The resort is equipped with two Pisten Bully Snowcats that can carry eleven riders apiece; they carry skiers and equipment to the tops of the mountains, then the real fun begins.
Before making your descent, you'll be able to take in breathtaking views of Cerro Aconcagua to the east, and to the west, you'll see the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Here, you're truly on top of the world. Enjoy the silence for a moment, then, drop into some of the best snow the entire planet has to offer. The sensation you'll feel as you glide down 3,000 feet of vertical is absolutely incomparable; best of all, you can ride again and again.
El Arpa offers a number of special packages including full and multi day packages, or, for even more adventure, private cat trips. Reservations are mandatory. Plan early, since this cat ski adventure is in high demand.