4-Day Backcountry Avalanche Training August 21, 2023
Four-day backcountry avalanche course.
Our comprehensive 4-day backcountry avalanche course for all of our snow enthusiasts, that builds on our very popular 2-day introductory avalanche awareness course. It’s time to get your head into the snow and figure out what’s actually sitting under your feet. Learn how to identify what your avalanche problem is, whether is changing for good or bad, and figure out how big could the avalanche be if we trigger it. Then with all of that information, we decide the best choice of route and testing for the skier, climber, boarder, and/or snowmobiler in the group. Check out our course overview for more of the goods on what we’ll be covering.
A 1 or 2-day Avalanche Awareness Course is a prerequisite for our Back Country Avalanche Training course.
If you have no experience then we recommend attending our 2-day Avalanche Awareness course or (for the climbers/mountaineers) our 4-day alpine and avalanche awareness course to set you up with the right foundation for our BAA training.
If you have completed Avalanche Awareness training with another provider then jump onboard to our BAT course.
Backcountry Avalanche Course Location
This avalanche course is delivered in Arthurs Pass National Park from Temple Basin lodge (see map). Being right up on the mountain means we can open the door to snow and training with ease. It also means that if we get to experience our course through a storm cycle we can jump out and see what’s happening in real-time, No postponements are necessary!
Temple Basin Lodge
On the 2nd day, we walk up to Temple Basin alpine lodge situated high above Arthurs pass village. The lodge is very comfortable with power, flush toilets, a drying room, heaters, bunk rooms, and a large common room and bar.
**Your accommodation is included**
This is a catered avalanche course, the team up at Temple Basin lodge will look after the catering. You can expect a cooked breakfast, dinner, and dessert, all prepared by the onsite chef. A small shop and bar are also available to purchase refreshments and snacks.
GEAR & EQUIPMENT
All you will need for this course is 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 and course outline at the bottom of this page.
Our courses are delivered on foot but you are welcome to bring your skis and/or boards with you to the course. We don’t schedule time into the day for freeriding but there may be an opportunity at the end of the day to get up the slopes. A lift pass is not included in the cost of the course and can be purchased separately at the skifield.
If you’re staying in a hotel
Free transport is available from any Christchurch accommodation if you’re traveling from out of town to attend one of our courses.
Meeting locations (catch a ride with us)
If you have your own car and want a lift, we can 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.
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.
Backcountry Avalanche Course includes
Weather & Avalanche forecasts
- A dive into interpreting the recording of Avalanche information.
- Mountain Weather in NZ
- Pre-trip checks
- Search techniques
- Flagging for multiple victim burial
Probing & digging
- Spiral Probing technique
- Snow Shoveling techniques
- Team digging
- Managing victims on extraction
Safe terrain travel
- Identifying avalanche terrain
- Identifying terrain traps
- Safe travel techniques
- Buddy rescue
- Small party rescue scenarios
- Multiple burial scenarios
- Choosing the best place to undertake field tests
- Choosing the right test for the avalanche problem ie. ECT, CT DT Penetration tests
- Understanding formal observations on the avalanche advisory
- A guide to healing times for avalanche problems
Snow Formation & Metamorphism
- Forces and stresses
- Identifying layers
- Snow crystal identification
- Snow crystal metamorphism
- Identify weak/strong layers
- Determine the thickness of potential slab avalanches
- Identifying fracture character and shear quality
- Identifying deteriorating/improving conditions
- Heuristic Traps
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ON MY COURSE?
We believe that small groups are better for this type of training. So we have a maximum client to instructor ratio of just six clients to one instructor. If there are eight clients, you will have one guide and one assistant guide.
DOES THIS AVALANCHE COURSE HAVE MINIMUM NUMBERS?
Yes, the minimum number for the course to proceed at the advertised price is two clients. We won’t cancel your course if we don’t meet the minimum numbers, though; instead, we will offer you the following options:
a.) A shorter private course with 1-1 tuition – e.g. with one person we can cover the course content much faster, so far fewer days are needed.
b.) You will be offered to continue with the course as planned and cover the extra cost.
c.) We can transfer you to another date when the course is running again.
Note: In the unlikely event that the course length is shortened due to insufficient numbers. We will provide accommodation for you in Arthurs Pass Village for the full duration of your original booking. i.e. any extra time following the course being shortened.
Backcountry avalanche course downloads
SEE WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY
“Got a great deal out of the course in terms of both theory and practice.”
“Communication before and during the course were excellent. Facilities were great. Plenty of chances to practice skills.”