AGL Skill



4 days


1 : 4

Equipment List

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$2,550 NZD


Intro to Alpine Touring

This course is for experienced ski and split-board tourers who want to raise their game and enter the realm of  touring in glaciated terrain. You can join a scheduled course or organise a private trip for you and your crew.

The 4-day hut-based trip is run from one of the premium glaciated venues in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park - at Plateau Hut or Tasman Saddle.

You'll learn the skills to travel across glaciated terrain, gain route-finding experience and practice crevasse rescue methods. Whiteout navigation and avalanche safety are high on the agenda. We fly you in and out of the mountains to maximise touring time.

What You Will Learn:

You'll learn the skills to travel across glaciated terrain, gain route-finding experience and practice crevasse rescue methods. Whiteout navigation and avalanche safety are high on the agenda. We fly you in and out of the mountains to maximise touring time.

Our expert IFMGA/NZMGA guides will take you into this serious terrain instructing in safe technique and technical skills along the way. Safety in the mountains is our primary concern, and snow conditions at the time will ultimately dictate which lines are possible.

Topics covered may include:

  • Glacier travel and crevasse rescue

  • Uphill skinning technique

  • Downhill backcountry skiing/riding

  • Route finding & terrain analysis

  • White-out Navigation

  • Intro to avalanche hazard evaluation

  • Mountain weather and forecasting

  • Emergency shelters

  • Alpine hut management


What's included:

  • Guide and National Park fees

  • Fights in and out of the mountains

  • Alpine Guides Technical Manual

  • All meals from lunch day 1 to lunch day 4

  • Hut / local accommodation

  • A range of technical equipment

Experience Required

You must at least be a strong intermediate to advanced skier or boarder, with a good level of aerobic fitness. You need experience skiing/riding with a backpack as you will carry a pack of around 10 kg on your back.


  • High level of aerobic fitness

  • Strong-intermediate to advanced skier (ski/ride black runs in control - with confidence)

  • Basic touring/skiing ability

  • Experience skiing with a backpack is useful

Intro to Alpine Touring Details

+ Minimum bookings on scheduled courses

A minimum of 2 participants is required on scheduled courses.

In the unusual situation with only one person booked, rather than cancel a trip we can run the same program for NZ$4,100. The course content is unaffected.

Alternatively you have the option to cancel for a full refund, or transfer to another date without penalty. This supersedes our standard cancellation policy.

We will keep you informed if other bookings have not been made inside a month of departure

+ Course Organisation/Schedule

When dealing with a dynamic mountain environment we do not believe it is not realistic to plan fixed day-to-day schedules. Instead we work around prevailing weather and snow conditions to provide the best use of your time as possible. There is no typical day on an intro to Alpine Touring trip, each course is unique, and every day will a new adventure.

On the first morning you will meet your teammates and guide at our base in Mt Cook. You will learn about the current snow conditions and discuss plans for the course.

After an equipment check, you fly in at the first possible opportunity. Expect to be in the mountains for up to 3 nights of the trip.

The first few days typically involve easier lines, letting your guide assess your technique, and allowing for some instruction.

Days begin at around 07:00, or earlier. The day's activities will have you out for around 8 hours. Your guide will attempt to maximise all fine weather and good conditions. On any poor weather days expect to cover theory and use instruction venues closer to the hut.

We aim to have you back in Mount Cook village by mid-afternoon on the final day.

+ Mountain Venue

Alpine touring is based out of a remote mountain hut, usually at the head of the Tasman Glacier or Grand Plateau. To optimise time available the trip will fly in and out.

Depending on weather and conditions, we reserve the right to modify the trip and use other venues. This can include Pioneer Hut at the head of the Fox Glacier or Centennial Hut at the head of the Franz Josef Glacier.

Read more about mountain hut living conditions.

+ Weather Contingency

A 1-day weather contingency is built in to the trip. Please try to allow some flexibility with your travel plans.

IWhen you arrive to start the course, if we face a particularly bad weather forecast, we can take the option of rolling the start date of your course back by one day. This will allow us to take best advantage of your available time.

There may be situations where weather can prevent access into the high mountains for a day or two, but is good enough to access backcountry terrain of a local skis areas, such as Ohau. In this situation we can begin the trip while waiting for an opportunity to get you into your mountain hut touring venue.

+ Ski Touring and Snowboard Hire

You should hire your ski touring or backcountry snowboard rig prior to arrival. We have a handful of sets of aging gear - for emergency hire only!


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+ Why take a course at Aoraki Mount Cook?

Because Alpine Guides is based in Mount Cook National Park, you will not be driven for hours to and from your starting point. We are right amongst the action.

The course price includes aircraft access and exit flights to maximise your time in the mountains.

+ Equipment and Clothing

Please let us know what gear you need to rent - including any equipment supplied free of charge.

Our gear lists cater for all eventualities. Sometimes you may not require everything on the equipment list your guide will help you sort though your kit at the start of your trip. Weather and mountain conditions when your trip starts will help determine what is needed.

Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The gear list is designed to work around these possibilities.

Read more about seasonality, weather, temperatures and snow conditions here.