Backcountry Avalanche Course

The 4 day Backcountry Avalanche Course is New Zealand's best introduction to avalanche safety skills and back country travel. The course is for recreational snowboarders and skiers who want to stay safe touring in uncontrolled terrain.

We moved the Backcountry Course to the Mount Cook/Mackenzie Region in 2014. This central South Island location offers some the best heliski and the most reliable slack-country terrain in NZ.

Learn the Skills in Big Mountain Terrain

The course takes place in the serious big mountains of Aoraki Mount Cook and Mackenzie. You cover theory and practical snow and avalanche safety technique before heading deep into the mountains for a heliski run/tour.

Syllabus includes:

Certification for professional training

On completion you receive certification ratified by the NZ Mountain Safety Council. This can be used as a prerequisite for future professional snow industry training courses.

Alpine Guides' Backcountry Course has serious advantages:

  • The only course providing access to big-mountain heliski terrain terrain

  • Professional, current mountain and ski guides, with year-round international experience

  • The course venue is mountain terrain, offering a diverse snow pack, allowing for greater learning opportunities

  • We provide a relaxed learning environment without the pressures of formal assessment

  • Weather backup day

Private Courses - available on demand

Individuals, or groups of 2 or more can book a private course. This allows us to tailor the content of the course to meet your specific requirements. See the detailed information for more details.

Instruction topics include:

  • Terrain and snowpack interpretation

  • Search & Rescue: avalanche dynamics, survival strategies

  • Equipment: how to ascend with the latest in split boards or ski touring bindings

  • Weather systems: mountain weather interpretation

Experience required:

  • High level of aerobic fitness

  • Strong-intermediate (or better) skier/snowboarders

  • Some knowledge of weather systems and avalanche beacons is useful, but not necessary