NZ AVALANCHE AWARENESS COURSE
5 NIGHTS | 4 DAYS ON SNOW
September 26, 2016 to October 01, 2016
$2449 PER PERSON
Riding in un-patrolled backcountry terrain offers the best untracked powder you can find, but it does come with an increased factor of risk. On this camp we spend 4 days in the field touring and Heliskiing with qualified IFMGA/NZMGA backcountry guides and will focus on how to reduce these risks while still having a great time and scoring those epic turns we all live for. At the end of the course you will have an understanding of snow safety and avalanche hazard. You will also receive certification ratified and accepted by the NZ Mountain Safety Council. Through a combination of practical tutorials with guides, backcountry touring and Heli access riding this course aims to show you how to select safe terrain, use backcountry equipment, interpret weather, plan a trip, manage a group and most importantly how to have a great day out in the backcountry.
Our Backcountry Avalanche Course focuses on the assessment of avalanche hazard and safe travel in backcountry terrain. Your guides take you step-by-step through the avalanche hazard evaluation process. You will also spend plenty of time touring, riding and heli-skiing in some of the best backcountry terrain in the world.
The course will immerse you in an intensive backcountry experience under the instruction of some of New Zealand’s leading mountain and heliski guides.
You will learn how certified IFMGA/NZMGA mountain and ski guides evaluate the terrain, weather, and snowpack, making your personal adventures safer. Learnings include:
- Introduce you to some of the latest equipment for safe backcountry touring
- Help to hone mandatory rescue skills
- Show you the techniques we use to evaluate snow stability for safe backcountry travel
- Weather permitting, by linking in with our heliski operation you will enjoy a heliski run and access into Methven Heli’s premium terrain.
The day-to-day program will vary according to snow conditions and prevailing weather. By maintaining a flexible approach, the guides will make the best use of each day – working around the weather and snow conditions to provide the best teaching environment. We reserve the right to modify each course to suit weather, conditions, and group dynamics. This means the format for each course will be unique, in terms of the number of days based in the mountains, and at other training venues.
Our Mint guide will also be with you for the duration of the tour for nightly visits to the relaxed country pubs and bars around Methven as well as being on snow to assist you. All breakfasts and dinners are prepared by our host at Mt Taylor Lodge and you’ll never go hungry. The lodge serves up the best of Kiwi cuisine from the local area.
+ 5 nights twin share accommodation Mt Taylor Lodge, Methven
+ Cooked breakfasts daily
+ Private airport transfer
+ 4 day Backcountry Avalanche Course run by qualified IFMGA/NZMGA guides
+ All transport to ski fields and helipads required for course
+ Helicopter access to backcountry terrain (weather permitting)
+ Free use of a range of technical backcountry equipment
+ Access to waxing and tuning room at Mt Taylor Lodge
+ NZ Mountain Mountain Safety Council certificate of completion
+ Hosting by Mint crew member
Day 1 – Arrival Day
We will organise a transfer from Christchurch Airport to Mt Taylor Lodge in Methven. Relax and meet the crew in the laid back and scenic lodge before getting stuck into our first home cooked Kiwi dinner prepared by guru culinary lodge manager Nick.
Day 2 – Introduction & Field Day
We will take the 2 minute walk down to the Heli Ski office at 08:30. We will use our morning to review the course outline, equipment briefing and hold an introductory workshop. Once completed we will travel to a ski area for fieldwork such as avalanche rescue techniques and introduction to terrain analysis. We then return to Methven for evening lecture before dinner and some drinks at the Lodge.
Day 3 – Field Day
We will start the day with a short morning lecture before travelling to a local ski area where we will go through terrain analysis, snowpack interpretation and an introduction to stability tests. These activities are hands on and you will learn how to conduct these tests with your guides.
Day 4 & 5 – Backcountry Touring Days
These 2 days will be spent out in the backcountry where we will be going on extended tours around the mountains to put what you’ve learned into a real life scenario. Our tours will be a combination of slack-country touring and heli accessed touring with a heliski run included. Methven is home to some mind-blowing backcountry terrain and you are likely to score some of the best turns of your life out here!
Day 6 – Departure Day
Enjoy your last cooked breakfast and hot coffee at the lodge, exchange contact details with the new friends you’ve planned backcountry tours with and say goodbye to beautiful Methven. We will transfer you back to Christchurch airport for your return flight.
Monday 19th September – Saturday 24th September
Some backcountry skiing/riding experience is preferred, but not essential.
Minimum ability level:
- Strong intermediate skier/snowboarder
- Prepared to ski/ride in alpine terrain with a small backpack
- A working knowledge of weather systems and avalanche beacons is also useful, but not necessary.
Our low instructor/participant ratio allows us to accommodate a range of experience levels.
At the end of the course you will have an understanding of snow safety and avalanche hazard. You will also receive certification ratified and accepted by the NZ Mountain Safety Council. This can be used as a prerequisite for possible future professional snow-industry training courses.
The topics covered on your course include:
- Snowpack interpretation; layers, stability tests, variation over time and area
- Search & Rescue; avalanche dynamics, survival strategies, transceivers, probing, recovery, case studies
- Terrain interpretation; route finding to avoid avalanche hazard
- Weather systems; mountain weather interpretation, observations
- Equipment: what to take, the latest gear and its application
- Touring technique
- Backcountry trip planning and preparation.
The Backcountry Course includes the syllabus for the NZ Mountain Safety Council Recreational Avalanche Course. On completion we will provide you with a NZ Mountain Safety Council certificate of completion.
Whilst our course is aimed at the recreational back country traveller, it can be used as a prerequisite for possible future professional snow-industry training courses.
This certification can be gained elsewhere – but the Backcountry Course has serious advantages:
- Helicopter access to big mountain terrain
- Our staff are professional mountain and ski guides current in mountain knowledge, with year-round international experience
- The course venue includes mountain terrain, offering a diverse snow pack, allowing for greater learning opportunities
- We provide a relaxed learning environment without the pressures of formal assessment.
$500 deposit required to secure booking with balance payable 30 days prior to departure. All bookings are subject to Mint Tours terms and conditions and are subject to availability at time of booking.