The Course Notes provide detailed information and background for the Adventure Consultants Backcountry Skiing Courses.
You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:
Backcountry Skiing Course Notes
The course will run with a minimum number of 3 people and a maximum of 8. The guiding ratio is 1:4.
Adventure Consultants is a member of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association Professional and experienced mountain guides run the course. Adventure Consultants have a commitment to ensure the highest standard of instruction and guiding practices and we only employ guides who share in our philosophy. Our guides will offer you the best possible learning experience, and a safe and enjoyable time. An open Adventure Consultants' mountain guides are qualified IFMGA / UIAGM Mountain and Ski Guides and helpful approach is encouraged within the group to help communicate and reinforce the learning process.
Our guides are all NZMGA and / or IFMGA internationally qualified. They have been trained and assessed through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, and operate to the high standards and guidelines set out by the association.
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.
Emberly 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.
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.
Level of Experience Required
The course is directed toward fit and motivated people who have a background in resort based skiing or snowboarding and wish to extend their skills into the backcountry.
Preparing for Your Trip
To make the most of your skiing experience we encourage you to work on your fitness and skiing/snowboarding prior to the trip. You need to be a strong intermediate skier or snowboarder to get the most out of the course. Your guide places special focus on fitness levels and will regulate the pace accordingly.
We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation and travel insurance to protect yourself in case of injury or mishap prior to/or whilst on our trips.
Whilst our focus is on safety and our track record supports this, the mountains do have hazards and there is always the potential for mishap. If you were injured whilst on the trip the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will pay rescue costs, however you may not be eligible for bulk compensation payments. You are responsible for any medical or evacuation costs beyond the cover provided by ACC.
We place emphasis on providing nutritious meals and a good supply of snack food throughout the trip. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us at the time of registration. For special diets such as vegan and gluten/dairy free we will call you to discuss your needs and how this will work in the group cooking situation.
Adventure Consultants will provide food awhile the course is running which is from 8.30am on Day 1 until 5.00pm on Day 5 (Day 7 on the 7 day course). All food outside this time will be at your expense.
Wanaka has a range of accommodation from backpackers, youth hostels, motels, and hotels to luxury lodges. We are happy to assist with your accommodation arrangements.
Adventure Consultants will provide your accommodation while the course is running which is from 8.30am on Day 1 until 5.00pm on the last day of your trip. When in the mountains you will stay in mountain huts with shared bunkrooms and basic facilities. There are no single rooms available and unlike European huts you need to provide your own sleeping bag. Some mountain nights may be spent in tents or bivvies where you will be more exposed to the elements but the final decision on this will be made by the guides after weighing up all the factors. For more information on New Zealand's mountain accommodation see our Alpine Huts page.
For overnights in Fox Glacier and Aoraki Mount Cook villages you will be accommodated in dormitory style Alpine Club huts and in Wanaka in dormitory style backpackers with shared bathroom facilities. You may decide to upgrade to single accommodations in Wanaka at your own expense, should you require.
Clothing & Equipment
Climbing in winter in the New Zealand mountains requires good personal gear due to the potential cold weather conditions. Our focus is on having the essential clothing and equipment, whilst keeping pack weights as light as possible for your comfort and ease of travel.
Upon receipt of your deposit and registration form we will send out a comprehensive equipment list. We carry a good range of modern rental equipment. If you will be renting equipment from us please advise your requirements in advance to ensure correct sizing and availability. If you intend on buying any equipment items, we are happy to advise on recommended brands and models, and of key importance - their suitability to the type of activity. We offer our clients discounted prices on a selection of climbing equipment and clothing, and can arrange for the equipment to be available upon your arrival.
Your guide will go through an equipment checklist with you prior to the trip. All group equipment will be organised by your Guide. We have snowshoes available for rent for snowboarders or we can help you rent a split board and climbing skins. For skiers we can help you specialised touring skis, boots and climbing skins.
You can also read the following equipment notes which are designed to help you when making decisions about which equipment best suits your personal needs.
We commence the Backcountry Skiing Course from our base in Wanaka. Air New Zealand and Qantas/Jetstar provide daily services for flights from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington to Queenstown. There are also direct international flights from Australian cities to Queenstown.
Alpine Connexions operate a shuttle service several times daily between Queenstown and Wanaka (approximately one hour driving time and at a cost from $35 each way).
Bus services operate daily between Christchurch and Wanaka (approximately 6 hours travel time).
Weather is an integral facet of any mountain range and getting to understand and work with this major environmental factor is what will distinguish you from the others. The New Zealand weather can be fierce but also benign. A climber who learns to optimise their opportunities here will have the skills to climb in any other mountain environment on earth.
Our backcountry skiing and snowboarding season runs from August through to December. Our experience with New Zealand weather shows that August has more stable weather conditions, and in October the glaciers are ‘nice and full’ (less crevasses) with longer days and warmer weather. Daylight hours are approximately 9 in winter. Temperatures will drop to as low as –10° Celsius and could rise too as high as 15° Celsius.
On your course it is probable that some adverse weather may affect our touring plans however we will attempt to anticipate what best moves to make for the positive outcome of the course. If adverse weather affects our access into the high mountains we can utilise the excellent back country skiing terrain accessible around Wanaka with day trips until it improves.
Adventure Consultants reserves the right to cancel, or alter the course at any time if the glaciers are not in condition due to climatic influences, or if the mountain conditions are perceived by Adventure Consultants as being too hazardous. However we will, to the best of our ability, endeavour to find alternative suitable touring venues in order for the course to take place.