Rip it up in the big mountains!

Backcountry Skiing Course

Specifically geared to teach you skills for safe glacier travel and how to approach ‘big mountain’ skiing, you will become well versed in reading glacier terrain and how to navigate your way safely through it.

We helicopter into a high alpine hut in our national parks where you will get to ski some of our highest and biggest glaciers while on the course. This course is big on learning and big on experience while skiing big terrain!

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Difficulty Level Low ?
Fitness Level Medium ?
Duration 5 or 7 days
Elevation 2,000M / 6,562FT
Large view

Courses are located at either Aoraki Mount Cook or Westland National Parks - Camilla Rutherford Photography

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Learning continues back at the hut with rope rescue techniques and snow safety lectures - Camilla Rutherford Photography

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Avalanche rescue practice - Camilla Rutherford Photography

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Snow safety and avalanche awareness - Camilla Rutherford Photography

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The course is designed to teach a range of backcountry touring skills - Camilla Rutherford Photography

From Jul 30 to Aug 03, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,350 NZD $
From Aug 06 to Aug 10, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,350 NZD $
From Aug 20 to Aug 24, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,350 NZD $
From Aug 27 to Aug 31, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,350 NZD $
From Sep 03 to Sep 07, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,350 NZD $
From Sep 10 to Sep 16, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,850 NZD $
From Sep 17 to Sep 23, 2018
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
$2,850 NZD $
  • Overview

    • Now including NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) Avalanche Awareness and Backcountry Avalanche Qualification
    • Learn how to make sound decisions in avalanche terrain while rippin it up in the big mountains!


    This course is designed to provide you with up-to-date techniques and safety skills for travelling in New Zealand's high mountains. It is directed at fit and motivated people who have a background in resort-based skiing and snowboarding and wish to extend their skills into touring the glaciated backcountry.

    We provide you with up-to-date techniques and safety skills and, at the end of the course you will have the skills to plan and explore backcountry skiing and/or snowboarding terrain almost anywhere in the world, along with a MSC Avalanche certification.

    Qualification Included!

    5 Day Course - MSC Avalanche Awareness
    An introductory avalanche awareness course - providing essential introductory information for skiers and snowboarders to help make decisions about personal safety, while in avalanche terrain.

    7 Day Course - MSC Backcountry Avalanche
    An advanced avalanche awareness course - providing further skills and knowledge necessary to travel and make sound safety decisions, while in more complex avalanche terrain.

  • 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, Mt 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 four ascents of Mt Everest and four other 8000m 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
  • Payment Conditions

    Inclusions

    The price of your trip includes the following:

    • Guide and permit fees
    • All trip related meals and energy foods
    • Hut fees
    • Group technical equipment
    • Avalanche rescue equipment
    • Handbooks - 'A Climber's Guide to NZ Mountaineering Techniques' by Guy Cotter and Mark Sedon and 'Avalanche Awareness in the New Zealand Backcountry' by Penny Goddard
    • MSC Avalanche Course Certificate
    • Helicopter/Plane access flight and landing fees (see below)
    • 15% NZ Goods and Services Tax


    Aircraft Access

    We utilise helicopters or ski planes depending on availability and the region we operate in to access the backcountry alpine huts. The helicopter or ski-plane flight into the alpine region is included in the course fee.

    Registration, Deposit & Balance Payments

    In order to confirm a guide and your trip, we require a completed Registration Form and a deposit of NZ$1000.

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

    Please note: In order to reserve a guide we recommend that you book well in advance.

    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, Amex plus a 3% credit card payment fee.

    Cancellation & Refund Policy

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

    • Up to 60 days prior to the departure date a NZ$500 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.

    Minimum Numbers

    If we are unable to meet minimum numbers on the course (3 people) then we will offer you a shorter program for private guiding, with an access flight only.

  • Course Notes

    Backcountry Skiing CourseThe 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

    Team Membership

    The course will run with a minimum number of 3 people and a maximum of 8. The guiding ratio is 1:4.

    Our Guides

    NZMGA IFMGA LogoAdventure 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.

    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.

    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.

    Insurance

    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.

    Food

    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.

    Accommodation

    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.

    Transport

    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

    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.

  • Curriculum

    We operate the course in one of the following locations; Westland National Park or Mt Cook National Park, depending on where conditions are best. Each has its own huge selection of glaciers, bowls and peaks to explore while learning skills.

    We will be based from one of the local mountain huts after accessing the glaciers by helicopter or ski plane. This allows us to start skiing the minute we get up each morning.

    • Rope handling skills applicable to Backcountry Skiing
    • Crevasse Rescue
    • Avalanche Awareness and Rescue
    • Route finding
    • Ski and/or Snowboard touring techniques
    • Trip planning and navigation


    Factors such as weather and snow conditions may at times dictate that not all topics are covered in full.

    We will spend as much time in the mountains as possible actually skiing and riding, whilst developing skills. Initially we will develop and reinforce skills in a contained environment and move onto more challenging terrain during the course if conditions permit.

    The emphasis of the course will be on route finding and avalanche awareness techniques and will involve fairly long days where your guides will progressively introduce a wider range of skills and techniques.

    Weather plays a major factor in any mountain experience and the New Zealand’s Southern Alps get their share. We intend to run the course according to schedule however as we at the whim of the weather we often have to adjust our program accordingly. This in itself is an important lesson for the group in versatility and objective selection based on the present and forecasted conditions.

    The course begins at 8.30 am on day one at the Adventure Consultants Office in Wanaka. If you are renting your ski touring equipment, please plan to pick up your equipment from local rental outlets the night before or early in the morning. This will enable us to leave Wanaka ASAP on the Monday morning to get to the mountains. Following the Monday morning introductions, your guide will present the course syllabus outlining how the week will operate.

    Equipment pertinent to the course will be discussed and you can get all the advice you need concerning equipment from the guides. We will ensure that you rental equipment fits and final purchases can be made.

    We then drive to our chosen destination (between 1-3 hours), load up the helicopter or plane and fly into the mountains. Leaving our gear in the hut, we’re off for a ski / board!

    Each day, depending on conditions, you will be touring around the glaciers while doing workshops on different aspects of backcountry skiing and snowboarding techniques. A few turns are high on the list, as well as a little time to take in your surroundings.

    At the end of the course we will make our way to a lower elevation and fly back to our vehicle (weather permitting) with an approximate 5pm finish on the Friday.

    The following is a sample itinerary for the 5-day course option, based on a prior course operated in Westland National Park:

    Day   
    1 We meet at the Adventure Consultants office in Wanaka, have a meet and greet session and discuss the plan for the week including the latest weather forecasting. We sort our gear and drive Fox Glacier township, where we fly into Centennial Hut high on the Franz Josef Glacier. After some initial transceiver training, we spend the last of the afternoon skiing the bowls of the Chamberlin Snowfield. It’s back to the hut for dinner and a weather talk by our guide.
    2 It’s up early and we tour around to Graham Saddle where we get to ski off the Main Divide! This involves stunning turns down the upper Rudolf Glacier. It’s not all about the turns though as our guide takes us through looking at layers in the snowpack by digging a snow pit. Things are looking stable so we get to ski some steeper lines as we tour back towards Centennial Hut. Back at the hut, it’s a hungry team that devours their dinner with a continued talk on avalanche awareness and what we noted out in the field.
    3 Another fine day dawns so another full days touring is planned. We skin over to Penck Ridge at the beginning of the Fritz Range. We ski the long and powder filled Melchior Glacier. At the toe of the glacier, we break into teams to go through snow anchor building, using our skis and boards and run through a different crevasse rescue techniques. Then we tour back up through the canyonlands type country of the Agassiz Glacier before heading back to our cosy base of Centennial hut. A superb day out.
    4 High cloud is building today with a deteriorating forecast. It’s time to get out of here! It’s big packs on and out across the mighty Davis Snowfield towards Von Bulow Peaks. For those with the energy levels, climb the peak and ski off and then all down off the pass dropping into the Fox Glacier and the long epic ski down to the door of Chancellor Hut! This historic hut is positioned near the bottom of the snow line right beside the tumbling ice of the Fox Glacier.
    5 We wake to the sound of keas bouncing on the hut roof. This early morning wake-up gives us time for a couple of laps on the slopes above the hut. Our helicopter picks up and whisks us back to Fox Glacier township where we can freshen up and drive back in Wanaka by early evening.
  • 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.

    Top pick! Wildwire

    Experience a via ferrata (iron rung) climb on soaring waterfall whilst in Wanaka! Wildwire 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.

    Bungy Jumping

    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.

    Skydive Wanaka

    If you’ve ever wondered about hurtling towards the earth at 200kmph then now is the time to ‘dive in’. Wanaka boasts the most amazing scenery (on the planet, we reckon) to jump over and it’s even more spectacular when viewed from above in winter covered in snow.

    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 near Queenstown.

    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

    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.

    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.

  • FAQ

    • 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 call or e-mail if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!

      Phone our New Zealand head office on +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America.

      Email us directly at info@adventure.co.nz or submit an online enquiry form here.

    • Choosing a Provider

      How long have Adventure Consultants been in operation?
      Adventure Consultants commenced operations in 1990 and has been guiding internationally ever since. The full story of the company thus spans over 25 years and can be read in depth 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 with that of 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.

    • Food, Accommodation & Facilities

      What showers and washing (clothes) will be available on the course/ascent?
      In the high alpine environment and at our Wye Creek Ice Climbing Base Camp and First Tracks Wanaka Alpine Heli Camp, there are no showers or clothes washing facilities. The alpine huts and AC Base Camps have a small supply of fresh water for a basic wash cloth refresher and/or wet-wipes can be handy for a tidy up during your hut or stay at Wye Creek.

      Would you let us know what food will be available?
      During your trip or course, we will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and ample hot and cold drinks to keep you well-nourished and hydrated. We cater for a variety of diets and with the convenience of flying in and out of the mountains; we are able to provide a good variety of fresh goods, protein sources and produce.

      What is the food like?
      All of our NZ guides are proficient cooks who aim to prepare high-quality popular dishes that are filling and nutritious. Please indicate any special dietary requirements on your application form, so that we can take this into consideration when planning.

      What are the NZ Mountain huts like? Can I have my own room?
      NZ offers some fantastic huts in amazing locations and most often these provide dormitory style bunk rooms and communal kitchens. Toilets are 'long drops' and many are famous for their views! Expect to share the huts with other like-minded climbers. Read more on our New Zealand Alpine Huts page.

      What is the Wye Creek Expedition Camp and First Tracks Alpine Heli Camp like?
      These are innovative camps that incorporate two large expedition style tents - one for cooking and relaxing and the other for sleeping. The camps provide a cosy atmosphere to enjoy your morning and evening meals and to relax after a big day of climbing, heli-hiking or ski touring. A separate sleeping tent contains bunks and mattresses for a comfortable night’s sleep.

    • Travel

      Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts? And when should I book my flight to leave?
      With an early start on day one (9:00am in summer and 8:30am in winter), we do ask that you arrive at least one day prior to your trip start. This will allow you to get settled in and organized for your week, and also provides some leeway in case of delays or lost baggage. This also means that you start your trip well rested and ready to get into the mountains. You are welcome to arrive several days early or stay for extra nights at the end, and we are happy to assist with accommodation bookings and/or travel advice.

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

      If you are joining us for a 1:1 course or ascent, or with a group of friends then you are welcome to book your tickets as soon as you wish.

      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 NZ trips start at the Adventure Consultants head office which is located on 20 Brownston Street in Wanaka, which is on the corner of Russell and Brownston Streets. Our summer trips/courses start at 9:00am and winter trips and courses start at 8:30am. We can easily arrange for your guide to come pick you up from your accommodation and your Client Liaison will be happy to assist with booking airport transfers.

      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. You can also find this information on our website under the Trip Notes section of the relevant trip.

      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 above 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 warm do we need our sleeping bags to be?
      A sleeping bag rated up to 3 season or better (approx -5 degrees Celsius and containing anything from 550gms – 750gms down fill) is ideal for New Zealand summer mountaineering conditions. For winter courses and ascents bring a bag rated as 4 season or 700g+ down fill (approx. -5 to -10 degrees Celsius).

      We suggest buying a sleeping bag big enough to allow you to wear some clothes in if it is especially cold. Sleeping in a warm hat can greatly improve a bag's warmth.

      What first aid supplies will be available on the trip?
      All our guides carry a full first aid kit to deal with any medical emergency on the trip. You need to bring any medications you regularly use (don’t forget to tell us about them) plus some extra. Also, bring a small first aid kit including a blister kit and mild pain relief medication.

    • Guide & Team Members

      How many guides will be assigned to our group?
      You will find the trip ratio on the AC website on the specific page of your course or ascent and detailed in the Trip Notes. 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.

      How much weight will we carry?
      Once we arrive at our alpine hut base we will be able to leave most of our gear at the hut and only carry what is required for each day. This is all course/ascent dependent, but 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 climbing equipment. Generally, it will be a medium weight of approximately 5 to 10kgs (10 to 20 pounds). You need to be prepared to carry a full pack of about 20kg for trips and/or courses that finish with a walk out of the mountains, and for advanced trips and/or courses such as our Alpine Expedition Course, where hut to hut traverses may be possible as well as overnights outside of the alpine huts.

      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

      What kind of physical condition should I be in for my trip or course?
      We encourage you to work on your fitness prior to your course/ascent. When training, it is recommended you carry a pack for long periods on hills and uneven terrain. Over time, increase the pack weight until you are comfortable with 15-20kgs. Gym training, swimming, running and cycling also add to your base fitness and are a great addition to a pack training program.

      Arriving fit and prepared for your trip is an essential key to a successful and enjoyable time. Here at Adventure Consultants, we have partnered with the experts at Uphill Athlete to create scientifically sound training plans designed by two professional coaches and leading mountaineers. Together we provide a range of training programs designed specifically for mountaineering, as well as one on one online coaching options. Check out our programs at Training Peaks or see our Fitness Training page page for more information.

    • Communication & Electronic Devices

      Will there be any access to a satellite phone? If yes then what would be the charges for usage?
      Yes, our guides take satellite phones on our NZ ascents/courses and you are welcome to use these at a cost of US$4 per minute. In some huts and camps, you will be able to get cell phone coverage, but please do not depend on this.

      I want to contact my friend or relative, who is on one of your trips, how can I reach them?
      The best place to reach a loved one is through our office, as we can pass on messages when the guide calls in with updates.

      Will there be any power source for charging batteries, etc. available throughout the course/ascent? What voltage requirements?
      We highly recommend fully charging your phones and cameras before heading into the New Zealand Mountains. Once at the huts and camps, there are no charging facilities. We recommend that you bring a camera that uses standard batteries and it’s a good idea to bring some spare batteries as a backup.

    • Weather Forecasts

      Which weather reporting service do you use?
      On the days leading up to your trip, your guide will be looking closely at the weather and we utilise a variety of websites as well as being lucky enough to receive updates from landowners, the Department of Conservation and others already in the mountains. Once in the mountains, your guide will contact our office on a regular basis via satphone to receive weather updates and any changes to the perceived weather pattern for the week.

    • 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.

      What is included in the cost of my trip? Does it include airfare?
      Each specific trip page on the website has a section and a downloadable pdf Trip Notes document with exactly what is and what is not included in the trip. 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 call our offices or complete our online booking form. Return this with the trip deposit either through a bank wire transfer (information is in our trip notes downloaded from the specific trip page) or by using our secure credit card payment page. Phone our New Zealand head office on +643 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America.

    • Photography

      I love the photographs in your brochure and on your website, are they for sale?
      Yes, our images are available for licensing or purchase.

    • 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 a NZ Mountain Guides Course or the equivalent in your country, aligned with the IFMGA. Check the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association web pages for a complete description.

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"I enjoyed the course immensely, it was challenging but rewarding. Thanks for everything."
Backcountry Skiing Course, 2016

Dean Willoughby
Australia
Suze Kelly dude skiing

Very professional but balanced by a relaxed "Kiwi" style that made the trip very enjoyable.
Backcountry Ski Course 2017

Glenn Vile
NZ
Suze kelly dude skiing 2

AC just stuck out as a professional organisation - a really nice and helpful group of people that work around the weather to help you gain the most of the course.
Backcountry Ski Course 2017

Dale Larner
Australia