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 2021
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.
Suze Kelly, General Manager
Suze has been coordinating the office at AC headquarters since 1996 and was our Everest Base Camp Manager in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Much of the quality of our expeditions and the way we go about things here at AC is owed to the attention to detail which Suze applies in her role. Suze has skied and climbed in New Zealand all her life, including ascents of Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook and internationally she has climbed Island Peak, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Lhotse, Everest and Vinson.
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. See our Fitness Training Programs for information on how we can help you prepare for your course.
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 while the course is running which is from 8.30am on Day 1 until 5.00pm on Day 4. 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. When in the mountains, you will stay in our unique Geo Dome Camp with shared bunkrooms and basic facilities. There are no single rooms available and you will need to provide your own sleeping bag.
For overnights in Wanaka, you will stay 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. Your guide will go through an equipment checklist with you prior to the trip. All group equipment will be organised by your guide.
We carry a good range of modern rental equipment; we have snowshoes available for rent for snowboarders or we can help you rent a splitboard and climbing skins. For skiers, we can help you find 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. 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.
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 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).
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 October. 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°C and could rise too as high as 15°C.
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 mountains, we can utilise the excellent backcountry 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 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.