Quick Fire Snow Skills

Avalanche Awareness Course

Learn from one of our professional guides for an evening and full day's educational session on all things avalanche-related on this New Zealand Mountain Safety Council accredited course.

This short course is for those wanting to know the basics of understanding weather, snowpack assessment, avalanche equipment and rescue techniques. An absolute must for all keen backcountry skiers.

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Difficulty Level Low ?
Fitness Level Low ?
Duration 1.5 days
Elevation 1,500M / 4,921FT
Large view

Assessing the snowpack - Camilla Rutherford

Large view

Your gateway to the backcountry - Steve Moffat

Large view

Learn practical skills that you can take into the backcountry - James Hamilton

Large view

An evening of concentrated classroom learning before we test our new found knowledge - Suze Kelly

From Jul 03 to Jul 04, 2020
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand (1:2 Ratio)
$425 NZD $
From Jul 17 to Jul 18, 2020
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand (1:2 Ratio)
$425 NZD $
From Jul 31 to Aug 01, 2020
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand (1:2 Ratio)
$425 NZD $
From Aug 14 to Aug 15, 2020
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand (1:2 Ratio)
$425 NZD $
  • Overview

    • A Mountain Safety Council (MSC) Accredited Course
    • Your first step to a life in the backcountry
    • Short time commitment of a day and a half


    Use this opportunity to learn the basics on how to get around the mountains safely in avalanche terrain from a professional guide. Even though this is just the first step on the pathway to you developing avalanche awareness, you will reap huge benefits from doing this short course. It may even save your life.

    You get to spend one evening learning the theory followed by a full day in the field focusing on the practical. You’ll be exposed to heaps of knowledge from one of our professional guides who holds a huge wealth of experience for you to draw upon. No-one should go into the mountains in winter having not done this course.

    This intro course is the same pathway our guides started out with so it will be perfect for you too.

  • Why AC?

    With our headquarters based at Lake Wanaka we have the distinct advantage of short travel times to the venue with the best weather and conditions at the time. We have the option of the Westland, Aoraki Mount Cook, Aspiring and Remarkables mountain regions in addition to crags around Wanaka and alpine rock at the Remarkables. This enables us to get you into the most appropriate location much faster and gives more choice of venue.

    Our courses have been designed by Guy Cotter who has been climbing for over 35 years. Additional to his extensive record in New Zealand, his career has includes over 40 high altitude expeditions and polar journeys, including several ascents of Mt Everest and other 8,000m peaks.

    As an IFMGA Guide since 1991, Guy Cotter recognises the need for people to learn about ‘climbing’, and not just being taught the technical skills in isolation. This is not an easy task and cannot be achieved without experienced and highly skilled guides with good instructional skills. The guides at Adventure Consultants are recognised as amongst the best in the industry with the ability to help you get the most from your time with us.

    The main points of difference on an Adventure Consultants Course are:

    • More time to gain experience while practicing skills
    • Focus on remote mountainous areas
    • Highly experienced expedition guides instructing
  • MSC Accreditations

    Adventure Consultants offers courses to attain either the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) Backcountry Avalanche Certificate or Avalanche Awareness Certificate.

    MSC Avalanche Awareness Certificate: An introductory avalanche awareness qualification providing essential information for skiers and snowboarders to help make decisions about personal safety while in avalanche terrain. Our courses which offer this certificate are:

    • Avalanche Awareness Course - Detailed here; a 1.5-day course to offer you the most essential information in a rapid timeframe.
    • Backcountry Skiing Course - Incorporating backcountry skiing skills and techniques alongside fundamental avalanche training.


    MSC Backcountry Avalanche Certificate:
    An advanced avalanche awareness course providing skills and knowledge necessary to travel and make sound safety decisions while in more complex avalanche terrain. Our courses which offer this certificate are:

    • Backcountry Avalanche Course - 4-days of theory & practical training to extend your avalanche knowledge and skills to the next level.
    • Glacier Ski Touring Course - A complete backcountry skiing and avalanche awareness course in the high glacial regions of the NZ mountains.
  • Course Availability & Pricing

    Dates 2020

    AAC 1: July 3–4
    AAC 2: July 17–18
    AAC 3: August 31–September 1
    AAC 4: August 14–15

    If these scheduled courses don't suit your availability, you can also choose your own dates on a private Avalanche Awareness Course. Please contact our office for details.


    Pricing 2020

    1:4 Ratio: NZ$425 per person

  • Payment Conditions

    Inclusions

    The price of your trip includes the following:

    • Guide fees
    • Use of group equipment (transceivers, probes, shovels, etc.)
    • MSC Avalanche Awareness Certificate
    • Ground transport to a local ski field
    • 'A Climber’s Guide to NZ Mountaineering Techniques' by Guy Cotter and Mark Sedon
    • 'Avalanche Awareness in the New Zealand Backcountry' by Penny Goddard
    • MSC Avalanche Resource Kit
    • Department of Conservation concession fees (37125-GUI)
    • 15% New Zealand Goods and Services Tax


    Please note that any required skifield lift passes are not included in the course fee and must be purchased separately.

    Registration, Deposit & Balance Payments

    In order to confirm a guide and your trip, we require a completed Registration Form and a deposit of NZ$200.

    The balance of payment is then due 60 days prior to the start date.

    Payment Options

    All payments should be made by bank transfer to the following bank and account:

    Bank: Bank of New Zealand
    For the Account of: Adventure Consultants Limited
    Account Number: 02 0673 0043443 00
    Account Type: NZ Dollars

    We can also accept your deposit and balance payment by credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Amex) plus a 3% credit card payment fee.

    Cancellation & Refund Policy

    Once you have paid your deposit, your course is confirmed, subject to payment of the balance of fees owing 60 days prior to your trip commencement date. A course member may then cancel their participation on the following basis:

    • Up to 60 days prior to the departure date a NZ$100 fee applies.
    • Inside 60 days of the departure date, we reserve the right to retain 50% of the full fee.
    • Inside 30 days of the departure date, we reserve the right to retain 75% of the full fee.
    • Inside 15 days of the departure date forfeits 100% of the full fee.


    Trip Cancellation Insurance

    We highly recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance via your travel agent. Trip cancellation insurance is usually packaged together with your travel insurance and covers you for loss of deposits should you not be able to make the trip for personal reasons.

  • Course Notes

    Avalanche Awareness Course Notes 2020 CoverThe Course Notes provide detailed information and background for Adventure Consultants' Avalanche Awareness Courses.

    You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:

    Avalanche Awareness Course Notes 2020

    Our Guides

    NZMGA IFMGA LogoThe instructors on our New Zealand courses are all NZMGA/IFMGA qualified guides with many years experience, not only in pursuing their own climbing careers, but also in learning how to pass these skills on in an environment which is conducive to accelerated learning.

    Our focus is to pass on knowledge that will assist your development towards becoming a competent climber. Many courses focus primarily on techniques that are taught as skills in isolation yet we recognise that you need to learn those skills in context while you are actually climbing the mountain so you know where and when to utilise each technique learned.

    Success with the highest margin of care is always a hallmark of our approach; promoting the realisation that even extreme pursuits such as high altitude mountaineering can be undertaken safely.

    A founding principle at Adventure Consultants is to recognise the necessity of positive communication within the group to foster an open and friendly approach to communicating and reinforcing learning processes.

    Adventure Consultants employs only IFMGA or NZMGA qualified guides, the most advanced training and certification program internationally. In order to gain these qualifications guides must undergo rigorous training and assessment on climbing skills, instructional skills, avalanche training and assessment, wilderness first aid, rescue training and much more. The qualification takes around five years to attain and ensures you are getting a world-class professional service.

    Head Office Support Team

    Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the AC staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.

    Em Weatherall climbing cropEmberly Wetherall, Client Liaison

    Emberly has been with Adventure Consultants since March 2016 in the role of Client Liaison and Retail Buyer. She brings a positive attitude and 'can do' approach to her role.

     

     
    AC Team 2016 Landscape

    Your Health

    Our registration form requests that you advise us of any medical problems you may have and if you are on any medication. Any information you supply will be treated as confidential.

    Difficulty Rating

    Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.

     

    Accommodation

    Wanaka enjoys a wide range of accommodation options, from backpackers, youth hostels, motels and hotels to luxury lodges. Accommodation on this course is not included, allowing you the freedom to choose from the many excellent local establishments. We are happy to assist with accommodation advice and arrangements.

    Clothing & Equipment

    Upon sign up, you will be provided with an equipment checklist and your guide will go through this with you at the start of the course. The checklist will vary subject to seasonal weather and route conditions.

    Adventure Consultants can help with all your equipment needs prior to your trip departing and have a dedicated equipment coordinator who can answer any questions you may have. Whilst you need to provide your own touring gear, we carry a good range of modern rental equipment. We have snowshoes available for rent for snowboarders or, better yet, we can help you rent a splitboard and climbing skins. For skiers, we can help you rent specialised touring skis, boots and climbing skins. If you will be renting equipment from us please advise your requirements in advance to ensure correct sizing and availability. All group equipment will be organised by your guide, including transceivers, shovel and probe, although we offer discounted package pricing on new equipment for course attendees.

    Our extensive retail catalogue and gear store also provide the added service of purchasing your clothing and equipment needs directly from us. We regularly outfit climbers from head to toe to help them prepare for their course, ascent or trek! We also have a range of products available at our headquarters for any last minute purchases on the day of departure.

    We can offer secure storage at our office for your luggage and valuables during the trip.

    Communication & Messages

    Our guides are in radio/cell/satellite phone communication with our operations base and Department of Conservation headquarters throughout the trip. This assists us with schedule and weather forecast updates and safety back up. Urgent messages can be relayed via our office to the field if required. Each course carries a locator beacon for additional security.

    Travel

    We commence this trip from our base in Wanaka. The nearest airport is located in Queenstown, approximately one hour's drive away. Air New Zealand and Jetstar airlines provide daily services to Queenstown from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. There are also direct international flights from most major Australian cities.

    A shuttle service operates several times daily between Queenstown and Wanaka (from $35 each way), see https://www.ritchies.co.nz/wanaka. We are happy to assist with your transfer arrangements.

    Bus services also operate daily between Christchurch and Wanaka (approximately 6 hours' travel time).

    During the course, we will arrange ground transport to and from a local ski field for our practical training day and this transport is included in your course fee.

  • Curriculum

    Following are the skills covered during the weekend, however, factors such as weather and climbing conditions may at times dictate that not all topics are covered in full:

    • Weather assessment
    • Snowpack assessment
    • Avalanche equipment
    • Rescue techniques

    This course is designed to teach you foundation skills in understanding weather, snowpack, avalanche equipment and rescue.

    It kicks off with a three-hour Friday evening session (6-9pm) right here at our AC office in Wanaka. We’ll go over avalanche theory and prepare our equipment ready for the next day.

    In the morning, we’ll head up to one of the local ski fields to spend our day developing practical skills such as terrain analysis, introduction to snow pits, how to travel in avalanche terrain and avalanche rescue fundamentals. On completion of the course, participants receive the Mountain Safety Council Avalanche Awareness Certificate.

    The course begins at 6.00pm at our office, at 20 Brownston Street, Wanaka

  • Add Ons

    Wanaka and Queenstown have some of the most relaxing and beautiful accommodation in New Zealand. Let your friendly liaison know if you would like to discover some of the potential options that they have to offer.

    IMG 00170Take a private transfer between Queenstown Airport and Wanaka in a Jaguar F-Pace S.

    Available any time of the day or week, the service is personalised and includes an airport meet and greet at the gate.

    A Frankton shopping stop can be included in this service, as can a brief Wanaka orientation tour upon arrival.

    Each transfer can be tailor-made to meet your needs and transport can be included for up to 4 passengers.

    Please see Wanaka Chauffeured for more information.

    (Photo: Wanaka Chauffeured)

    Wild Wire - Top Pick!

    Experience a via ferrata (iron rung) climb on soaring waterfall whilst in Wanaka! Wild Wire is a truly great guided day out climbing a private via ferrata at Twin Falls in the Matukituki Valley. A safe and fun active activity for all ages.

    Scenic Flights

    In Wanaka we are surrounded by a myriad of lakes and mountain ranges as well as South Westland and Fiordland National Park, with the world famous Milford Sound. Seeing such sights from above by helicopter or plane is a must whilst visiting the South Island. Talk to our office about booking a flight.

    Bike and Boat Tour

    Enjoy a fun and adventurous half day boat and bike tour which combines a scenic lake cruise on the pristine Lake Wanaka with a mountain bike tour skirting the lakeshore with our friends at Wanaka Bike Guides.

    Wanaka Wine Tours

    Discover the scenery, history, food and wine of Wanaka and Central Otago with Wanaka Wine Tours. Catering to all, from complete wine novices to dedicated wine connoisseurs, their explorations of the local vineyards are a delight to the senses!

    Bungy Jumping / Canyon Swing

    Bungy… the quintessential New Zealand activity that speaks for itself. And Canyon Swing! Let us organise this for you after your trip with us and take the hassle out of it. Talk to our staff about it today!

    Fiordland Helicopter Flight, Cruise or Remote Scuba Dive

    Take an incredible scenic helicopter flight through Fiordland National Park, a listed World Heritage Area, where you will land on a private boat in the very remote Dusky Sound. Enjoy a cruise of the Sounds and if you're feeling adventurous then don your dive gear and head underwater for a phenomenal dive in the unique underwater world that Fiordland has to offer. Feast on an amazing lunch of fresh seafood, before heading back to civilisation. Truly an experience not to be forgotten.

    Multi-Pitch Ice Climbing

    After your trip/course you could add-on a multi-pitch single day 1:1 ice climbing ascent with your guide. Depending on your skill level, there is a range of excellent options within a couple of hours walk. or a short helicopter flight near Queenstown. Contact us to learn more.

    Have a camera man join your trip and document the entire thing! Choose from a variety of options for different budgets. You could have a full-colour book and short film, or a full documentary for television. Your trip is the trip of a lifetime; why not keep it to show your friends and family. Contact us or see our specialty Film and Photo Services page for more information.

    Let us take the hassle out of buying new gear. We can sort all of your equipment requirements for you from head to toe with specific personal purchases that will leave you with all of the best gear on the mountain. Contact us or see our specialty Gear Store page for more information.

    Your friends or family may wish to join you on your holiday but don't like the idea of heading into the backcountry for skiing or ice climbing. Let us know if this is the situation and we will be able to put together an itinerary that keeps them busy while you are up high. There are so many wonderful things to do, so have a chat with us and we will put together the perfect program.

  • Travel Insurance

    Finding the right travel and rescue insurance for your trekking and mountaineering adventures can be tricky! Rest assured when you book with the expedition specialists here at Adventure Consultants we'll help by sending through advice on what you'll need, including:

    • Travel insurance including trip interruption and cancellation cover
    • Medical Evacuation and Rescue Insurance


    For further information check out our Travel and Rescue Insurance page or contact us.

  • FAQs

    • Contact Us

      The following Frequently Asked Questions answers serve as a helpful guideline for the Adventure Consultants New Zealand Guided Ascents and Courses. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!

      info@adventure.co.nz
      US: +1 866 757 8722 (Freephone from North America)
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

    • Choosing a Provider

      How long have Adventure Consultants been in operation?
      Adventure Consultants commenced operations in 1990 and has been guiding internationally ever since. You can read the full story of the company on the AC History page. The New Zealand guiding operation for Adventure Consultants under CEO Guy Cotter’s leadership was established after 1996 and quickly propelled AC to become New Zealand’s largest guiding operation within a few years.

      A few outfitters claim to have the same level of experience and prestige as Adventure Consultants. In this league, what makes you the first choice for your climbers?
      As a New Zealand company leading clients to the summit of Mount Everest, we are renowned for our expertise at high altitude and the expansive logistics that are necessary to be able to be extraordinarily successful guiding in such extreme environments. This ‘top down’ approach is applied to all our planning and processes and we are proud to apply this service and level of detail to each and every trip we operate. We maintain such high standards by focussing on quality and by attracting the best guiding and headquarters administration staff in the business.

    • Travel

      Do I need to arrive the day before the course starts? And when should I book my flight to leave?
      The trip starts at 6pm on Day 1 but you are welcome to arrive several days early or stay for extra nights at the end. We are happy to assist with accommodation bookings and/or travel advice.

      When should I book my ticket?
      We generally ask you to wait until 60 days prior to your course start date to ensure it has met the minimum numbers and will operate. If you see a good deal and want to book your travel arrangements early then please ensure you can make changes to your tickets or you run the risk of losing them if we do have to cancel the course.

      Can I get a cheap ticket online?
      The problem with these tickets is that you usually end up having to pay quite a lot more if you have to make any changes to your ticket. Therefore, we highly recommend using a travel agent.

      Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
      Our coutse starts at 6pm on Day 1 at the Adventure Consultants head office on 20 Brownston Street in Wanaka, which is on the corner of Russell and Brownston Streets.

      What if I am arriving early or departing late?
      Adventure Consultants can make reservations for you and can often make recommendations for local attractions you can enjoy while waiting for your trip to begin. Please let our office know your specific plans.

    • Clothing & Equipment

      Do you have a recommended list of clothing we should bring?
      Yes, once your booking form and deposit have been received, we will send you out a specific gear and equipment checklist along with additional equipment notes, which will provide a description, example and recommendations for each item required.

      Do I really need all the equipment on the equipment list?
      Yes, all of the items on the list (except those marked optional) are necessary for mountaineering in New Zealand. Due to the variable weather and conditions in the New Zealand Mountains some of the listed items may or may not be utilised on your trip and your guide will discuss this with you during your gear check on arrival.

      How much weight will we carry?
      You will need to be able to carry a day pack with warm clothes, water, snacks, sun block, camera and whatever else you need for the day plus a share of group equipment. Generally, it will be a medium weight of approximately 5 to 10kgs (10 to 20lbs). 

    • Guide & Team Members

      How many guides will be assigned to our group?
      You will find the trip ratio in the 'Course Notes' section above. Generally, our group scheduled courses are guided at a maximum ratio of 1:4, whereas guided ascents are at a 1:1 ratio. Depending on your experience and objectives Private Instruction Courses operate at a ratio of between 1:1 and 1:4, and Ascents Weeks at 1:1 or 1:2.

      Who goes on your trips?
      Our climbers and ski tourers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, countries and skill levels. We provide courses, expeditions, treks and guided ascents for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts, from those seeking skill development to those looking for assistance in reaching the world's highest mountains. We love what we do and we look forward to assisting you with whatever mountain adventure you’re dreaming up.

    • Health & Fitness

      How do I know this is the right trip for me?
      We offer trips to suit all levels of ability and ambition, from your first mountain experience to extreme ascents and everything in between. To help you navigate the choices available, our trips are graded by both the level of physical exertion and the level of skill required, allowing you to find your perfect expedition match. These ratings are displayed in the icons at the top of each expedition page, with a further explanation available by clicking on the accompanying question mark. A full run-down of the categories can be found on our Difficulty Ratings page and our team is more than happy to discuss your experience to find the right trip for you.

    • Insurance

      What insurance do I need to get?
      We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation insurance and travel insurance to protect yourself in case of injury, mishap or cancellation prior to/or whilst on our trips. The New Zealand Alpine Club offers insurance options for Australian and New Zealand residents, and your client liaison will send you more details on this option.

      While our number one focus is on safety and our track record supports this, the mountains do have hazards and there is always the potential for mishap.

      Who do you recommend for insurance?
      Coverage varies based on your nationality and the trip that you are taking with us. When you have booked on for a trip with us we will send you information on various insurance options which will serve as a good starting point for obtaining the best coverage available for yourself.

      What is trip cancellation insurance?
      Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all of our trips and courses. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip, then we will refund your fees paid. However, if you have to cancel your trip at the last minute trip cancellation insurance will cover your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred in the lead up to your trip.

    • Fees & Payments

      Can I pay by credit card?
      Yes we have a secure online credit card payment service using Payment Express. A 3% credit card payment service fee is added to all transactions. We also accept payment by bank wire transfer and please seem further details in the 'Payment Conditions' sections above.

      What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
      Each trip page on the website has a downloadable pdf document with exactly what is and what is not included in the trip. Please see the 'Payment Conditions' and 'Course Notes' sections above. International airfares are not included in the trip price however, we recommend excellent travel agents should you require help with arranging your international airfare.

      Why are you sometimes more expensive than other operators?
      We are proud to be leaders in the industry offering a variety of courses, trips, treks, and expeditions worldwide. We base our prices on the high level of operation and services we provide throughout the entire trip experience with us. Some of the things that set us apart are our internationally qualified guides, many of whom are world renowned. Our partnerships with proven dependable local operators, our small group sizes which provide for safe client-to-guide ratios, high-quality equipment, and extensive pre-trip support, plus all those extra services along the way that help to make your experience with us extraordinary.

      How do I sign up for a trip?
      The best way to reserve your space on a trip is to contact our office or complete our online booking form (click 'Book Now' below). Your deposit can be submitted by bank transfer (please see 'Payment Details' in the 'Payment Conditions' section above) or via our secure online payment system.

      info@adventure.co.nz
      US: +1 866 757 8722 (Freephone from North America)
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

    • Employment

      I want to become a mountain guide, where do I start?
      Those with limited experience generally start by taking an alpine climbing course and then go out and climb for a few years. You generally should have at least 5 years of climbing and/or teaching/guiding experience. You need avalanche and medical training and then you can apply to do an NZ Mountain Guides Course or the equivalent in your country, aligned with the IFMGA.

      Please see Adventure Consultants Mountain Guide Scholarships on our Career Opportunities page and check the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association for more information.

Book Now

skis sm

Everything was very smooth throughout the whole process... Thanks again for a great trip!
Backcountry Ski Touring 2018

Hamish Street
Australia
DSC08358

Very professional and flexible with our changing requirements.
Alpine Adventure 2018

Michael Gooch
Australia


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