The North Face Chilean Freeskiing Championship will be held for a second year in a row at Ski Arpa Cat Skiing, nestled high up in the snow-frosted Andes mountains. From August 22-26, freeride skiers from around the world will rip and hurdle their way through virgin snow as they compete for US$10,000 in prize money and the chance to improve their worldwide ranking.
Located just under 70 miles (112 km) from Santiago, Ski Arpa is the premiere snowcat ski resort in South America. This is a place where no ski lifts go. Instead, riders load into snowcats – trucks armed with rubber treads that enable them to trek through rough, snowy terrain – and plow their way to between 9,000 and 12,000 feet (2,700 – 3,740 m) high into the Andes. Under the stony gaze of the monolithic Mt. Aconcagua, the western hemisphere’s highest mountain, riders blaze their own trail as they careen down 3,000 feet (1,000 m) of pristine snow, all the while performing some pretty heady tricks.
As Freeride World Tour (FWT) Event Director Bryan Barlow explained, Ski Arpa is not just an ordinary day on the slopes. “This event and location brings all of the best qualities in big mountain skiing, traveling, and competing together to create an unrivaled adventure experience. This competition truly shows that a top level freeride event can be held in a backcountry setting.”
The event is an indication of Chile’s increasing presence on the international ski scene. Santiago Fernandéz, spokesman for The North Face South America summed it up: “The Freeride World Tour once again positions Chile as one of the countries with the best natural snow conditions in the world,” he said. “This championship in Chile represents the strong bond that exists between TNF and the local community of skiers.”
The North Face team will be comprised of Griffin Post, Jacqui Edgerly and Drew Tabke from the U.S. and Cristóbal “Poplar” Díaz and sister Soledad Díaz from Chile.
For more information about Ski Arpa or to make a reservation, click here.