Intro to Alpine Touring Details

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 based from one of the premium glaciated venues in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park; 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.

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.

Our guides’ intimate knowledge of the area is unsurpassed. Being full-time in Mount Cook, Alpine Guides’ logistical support is unbeatable.

Experience Required

You must be at least 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

Instruction topics

Hut rope tricks on a weather day.

The safe enjoyment of the winter mountain environment depends to a large measure upon sound judgment, safe technique, and using the right equipment correctly. This is where our expert NZMGA/IFMGA guides are unsurpassed in the field.

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

Prices and Inclusions

Price is based on a 4-day option. All rates are per-person and in New Zealand Dollars.

Scheduled Course Price:
$2550 per person

Course Dates | Winter 2019

Private Course Pricing

  • Guiding and National Park fees

  • Flight in and out of the mountains

  • Alpine Guides Technical Manual

  • All meals (including snacks and energy bars)

  • Hut/ local accommodation

  • A range of technical equipment

  • Local accommodation for any nights necessary during the course (and the final night)

    Not Included:
  • Accomodation and meals outside trip dates

Minimum Numbers 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

Reporting Details

Unless otherwise agreed, all trips begin at 08:30 and finish at 17:00 on the final day. Please report to Alpine Guides office in Mt Cook Village

Also, see transport options to Mount Cook Village .

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.

Itinerary / Organisation

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.

Weather Contingency

A 1-day weather contingency is built in to the trip. Please try to allow some flexibility with your travel plans. If when you arrive to start the course 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 Gear 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!


Equipment and Clothing

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

Choosing your clothing | Seasonal Variation

Our gear lists cater for all eventualities. Sometimes you may not require everything on the equipment list. Weather and conditions when your trip starts will help determine what is needed.

Always pack for cold conditions. A 4-season sleeping bag, down jacket, and heavy grade thermal layers are required.

Temperatures, weather, and snow conditions will vary. The program is designed to work around these changes.

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

Make a Booking Now

Book online here using a credit card or by bank deposit.

  • For private bookings, please ensure you have talked to us about guide availability.

  • We require a deposit of NZ$1,000 and completed booking form for each person.