4 day Alpine & Avalanche course June 29, 2024

This is a 4 -Day introductory alpine skills & avalanche course.

climber in an alpine skills course in Arthurs Pass
4-Day alpine skills & avalanche course

***This is our most popular beginner alpine skills course.  Prior experience is not necessary, and we have all the gear and equipment available for you to use.***


The 4-day alpine & avalanche is an introductory course that combines our 2-day mountaineering course and our 2-day avalanche awareness course. The course is based out of our lodge in Arthur’s Pass Village.  You don’t need any prior skills or experience to attend this course.  On completion, you will have the foundation winter skills to hike or climb in the mountains safely.



Youth Price $699** (16-17 years, accompanied by an adult)

Ask about our Family Friendly courses for ages less than 16 years.

* This is the early bird booking price, standard rates available on the course calendar.

**Conditions apply for youth pricing structure. See FAQ’s page.



This course is delivered in the Craigieburn Range and/or Arthur’s Pass area. The course starts in Darfield (30 mins from Christchurch) at 7:30 am. We access the snow at Broken River or Mt Cheeseman ski fields on the first day and drive to our lodge in  Arthurs Pass at the end of each day. The exact locations for days 2-4  will be decided by the group and your instructor during the course, depending on local weather and snow conditions.

The course finishes at 4 pm in Arthurs Pass or Castle Hill village  (approx 1.5-2hrs from Christchurch airport).


Accommodation (included)

The Lodge in Arthurs Pass Village


This course is based out of our lodge in Arthur’s Pass Village. The lodge has bunk beds set up across 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 20 people. It has a kitchen stocked with utensils, cookware, a fridge, and ovens. You will also be treated to power, bathroom facilities, hot showers and heating. All you need to bring is your sleeping bag, pillow and food.


**Your accommodation is included**



Gear & Equipment

All you will need for this course are waterproof boots and normal outdoor clothing. We will supply all the mountaineering and avalanche equipment for you if you don’t have your own.  You can find a packing list at the bottom of this page.



Food is not provided on this course. We recommend packing plenty of snacks and lunch that do not require cooking. The lodge has a full kitchen & fridge that you are welcome to use.


Free Transport

Outdoor education New Zealand mountain courses
OENZ 4×4


If you’re staying in a hotel

Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if you’re travelling from out of town to attend one of our courses.


Meeting locations (catch a ride with us)

If you have your own car but want a lift, we’re happy to meet you at one of the following locations:

Yaldhurst McDonalds 7:00 am (see on google maps)

*Darfield Bakery 7:30 am (see on google maps)

Castle Hill Village 8:30 am (see on google maps)

*Our preferred meeting location is Darfield Bakery.

OENZ Van for mountaineering courses
OENZ 12 seat Van



Travelling From out of town?

We recommend that you arrive in Christchurch the day before your course. We have a few hotel & hostel suggestions on our FAQ’s page. Please avoid booking accommodation north or east of the City Centre.  At the end of the course, we are more than happy to drop you back at your accommodation or directly to the airport.  The earliest time we can have you back at the airport is 6 pm.



This alpine skills & avalanche course includes


Mountaineering course
Flat foot crampon training


Alpine Skills (days 1-2)


Using crampons

  • Front pointing
  • Flat foot technique
  • Mixed technique
  • Downclimbing


Ice axe

  • Selecting an axe
  • Holding an ice axe
  • step cutting


Movement skills (footwork)

  • Edging

    Near the summit of Mt Cockayne.
  • Pigeon-holing
  • Plunging


Emergency shelters

  • Emergency snow holing
  • Portable shelters


Self Arresting

  • Self-belay/plunge technique
  • Stopping a slide


Trip planning and route selection

  • Planning and developing a route for day 2
  • Applying safe travel techniques.


Avalanche Skills (days 3 & 4)

Avalanche course
Avalanche training- probing


Weather & avalanche forecasts

  • Introduction to the NZ Backcountry Avalanche Advisory
  • Mountain Weather in NZ


Avalanche transceivers

  • Pre-trip checks
  • Wearing a transceiver
  • Coarse search techniques
  • Fine search techniques
  • Pin-point search techniques


Probing & digging

  • Spiral Probing  technique

    Avalanche digging
    Avalanche rescue digging
  • Snow Shoveling techniques
  • Team digging


Safe terrain travel 

  • Identifying avalanche terrain
  • Identifying terrain traps
  • Introduction to safe travel techniques


Rescue scenario’s

  • Buddy rescue
  • Small-party rescue scenarios





Course outline
Packing list



See what our clients have to say


“Fantastic team at OENZ. Excellent fun and learning with a great group of like minded people. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and the skills will inevitably allow greater access to our beautiful country. Highly recommend.” – Rob Kidd, Dunedin.

“Good knowledgeable trainer, easy to approach and & ask questions. Very much enjoyed!” – Alice Cambal, Hokitika.

“The course had a great atmosphere, I felt safe to challenge myself. We covered heaps of skills with time time to get out and try them out! -Leeanne, Auckland

“Thanks guys, I really enjoyed the course and your patient & knowledgeable instructors.” Miles, Christchurch.




Phone: +64 3 329 9076                                Email: [email protected]

*Minimum people needed to run a course

Contact us at
+64 3 329 9076

Other Course Dates

Please contact us for more dates!