New Zealand Backcountry Avalanche Course

Be safe in the backcountry on your skis, snow board and while mountaineering and alpine climbing. Learn about avalanches and how to be safe in avalanche terrain

About our backcountry avalanche courses in New Zealand

Avalanches happen during winter and summer, storm or no storm. They happen to climbers, mountaineers, skiers and snow boarders of all experience levels. Alpinism and Ski run an avalanche course that focuses on the back country where most enthusiasts venture. It is very practically based with an appropriate sprinkling of theoretical input for understanding.

Where and for whom we run avalanche courses in NZ

We use the backcountry terrain around Wanaka and Queenstown for these courses. These areas are varied and accessible by our 4WD vehicles. Our avalanche courses are for recreational skiers, snow boarders, mountaineers, ice climbing enthusiasts and any alpinists going into uncontrolled snow covered terrain as well as professionals needing avalanche knowledge to stay safe while working in avalanche prone areas.

How we run our back country avalanche courses

This comprehensive avalanche course is comprised of field days in the terrain behind Treble Cone, Cardrona and the Remarkables. Theory sessions are at the Alpinism and Ski base in Wanaka and cover:

  • mountain weather
  • snow physics
  • snow pack assessment
  • snow pack stability assessment
  • hazard evaluation and forecasting
  • avalanche search and rescue techniques and equipment.

Field days will cover:

  • equipment for the backcountry - in particular avalanche rescue equipment
  • avalanche search and rescue techniques with transceivers and probing
  • safe travel in the snow covered backcountry
  • observing terrain and snow distribution
  • snow pack structure
  • snow and its mechanics - test profiles: where, how, why?
  • evaluating the field data and rating snow pack stability while still in the field
  • managing snow pack, terrain and people
  • remote avalanche forecasting for the backcountry from base observations and recordings


    Price in NZ $ and per person:

    1 person $ 3110
    2 or more $ 1710 each

    Price includes GST (New Zealand's goods and service tax of 15 %)

    Length of course: 3 days
    Season: September / October
    Transport: 4WD access to ski field base
    Price Includes: 3 days guide/instructor fees, accommodation at the Alpinism and Ski base (2 nights) with dinner (2), lunch (3) and breakfast (2) local transport, one day back country lift access pass @ Treble Cone
    Price doesn't include: Personal equipment, clothing, rental gear.

Again from late Sept. Enquire about guides availability

All instruction courses in NZ with Gary Dickson, IFMGA/NZMGA mountain guide, are now in collaboration with

Alpine Guides (Aoraki) Ltd.

Bookings will go through their office and will be subject to their booking conditions. Trips with Gary will be run as per AGL's concession and safety management system requirements.

Pre-trip information and discussions are available from us anytime. Please e-mail or simply call.

If you are in Switzerland during winter, check this info

Avalanches happen in Summer too! get knowledge and skills with an avalanche course.


Some Avalanche Course Images

Click on thumbnail to bring up larger image and slide show
avalanche course tools avalanche knowledge gained on a course test the snow on an avalanche course
avalanche course avalanche in summer avalanche in winter

Guiding Qualifications

Alpinism & Ski guides are NZMGA and/or IFMGA qualified mountain guides.

To become an internationally fully qualified mountain guide takes approximately five years of training and assessment. Kiwi guides are trained and assessed through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA) which is overseen by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA).

alpine mountain guide

some more avalanche photos on our blog

Alpinism & Ski Ltd, Wanaka, New Zealand :: Ph 027 229 5534 :: e-mail: info@alpinismski.co.nz