2-day Avalanche Awareness Course
This is a 2-day introductory avalanche awareness course that focuses on identifying avalanche terrain and understanding what causes avalanches. Understanding the NZ Backcountry Avalanche Advisory is a vital skill that you will learn in this course. This is a practical field-based course with some theory to increase your understanding. This course is approved by the (MSC) Mountain Safety Council. You will gain an MSC certificate in Avalanche Awareness upon completion of this course.
Please note: This course is delivered as a walking course. The skills and information are applicable to backcountry skiing, boarding, alpine hiking and mountaineering. All alpine and avalanche gear is provided.
This course is delivered in the Craigieburn Range, close to Castle Hill village. The course starts in Darfield (30 mins from Christchurch) at 7:30 am. Return transport is available from Christchurch.
The practical components of the course are delivered in the Craigieburn Range. We access the snow via Broken River or Mt Cheeseman ski field and drive to our lodge in Arthurs Pass Village at the end of the day. The group and your instructor will decide the exact location for the second day during the trip planning session 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).
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, fridge, 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 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.
Food is not provided on this course. We recommend packing plenty of snacks and lunches that do not require cooking. The lodge has a full kitchen & fridge that you are welcome to use. Alternatively, the local pub in Arthurs Pass serves basic meals and refreshments.
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.
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.
WHEN IS THE NEXT COURSE?
Alpine courses run from June to October. Visit our Course Calendar for scheduled course dates. Custom courses can be created on alternative dates by request.
THIS AVALANCHE AWARENESS COURSE INCLUDES
Weather & avalanche forecasts
- Introduction to the NZ BackcountryAvalanche Advisory
- Mountain Weather in NZ
- Pre-trip checks
- Wearing a transceiver
- Coarse search techniques
- Fine search techniques
- Pin-point search techniques
Probing & digging
- Spiral Probing technique
- Snow Shoveling techniques
- Team digging
Safe terrain travel
- Identifying avalanche terrain
- Identifying terrain traps
- Introduction to safe travel techniques
- Buddy rescue
- Small party rescue scenarios
SEE WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY
“Gideon [the instructor] was passionate about the information he was passing on to us and that reflected in the theory teaching and practical…. We were always kept safe and the technical knowledge we gained will keep us informed for a long time. I have taken away a lot away from this course.”
“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.”