Backcountry skiing and snowboarding is an exhilarating way to enjoy the beauty of the New Zealand winter. Before you head out into the hills though, you've got to be prepared. Check the snow conditions, the avalanche risk and the weather.
NZ used to have a large problem with people getting caught out in avalanches. Since the implementation of avalanche forecasters, availability of training in avalanche awareness and technology aiding rescue the issue has largely been resolved. But this still requires people to know the risks and how to avoid them when venturing out into the backcountry.
In the event of an avalanche the difference between the life and death of a buried victim is minutes. You cannot afford to waste any time trying to figure out your gear! You need to be well practiced and efficient with the functions of your gear and your search and rescue system.
Employ strategies for identifying and managing fatigue. Ensure this is considered as part of any pre-trip planning and pay this element the due respect it deserves during your trip. Allow time for adequate breaks to rest and take on food/water. Most importantly ensure the culture surrounding your trip allows for topics such as fatigue management to be part of your conversations and communication.
You can find more about alpine and avalanche safety skills in our Resources section.
Use avalanche.net.nz to check the backcountry avalanche advisory and share your own observations with others.
Jump onto our free online avalanche course that introduces you to the basics of avalanche types, factors and how to reduce the risk in avalanche terrain.
This video series is designed to be a short beginners guide about avalanche risk, and some basic techniques. Watch the full series here.
MetService New Zealand - Get the mountain forecast
Attend a Backcountry Avalanche Course - Visit our courses page