Backcountry terrain is neither patrolled nor controlled by professionals, so if you’re planning on going ‘out back’ or beyond the ski area boundary, it’s important to be well trained in avalanche safety and search and rescue techniques at all times of the year. This is equally important for alpine trampers and hunters who may be in avalanche prone regions.
The New Zealand's Avalanche Advisory (NZAA) is provided for anyone planning on travelling in the New Zealand backcountry alpine areas.
Please note that avalanche forecasts are supplied by the Mountain Safety Council (MSC) and are intended as an advisory only. NZAA and MSC recommend checking the mountain weather forecast provided by MetService as part of your trip planning.
Within seconds of an avalanche being triggered, multiple tonnes of snow can travel down a slope at over 100km an hour. This immense force of nature is extremely dangerous so it is vital for you know how to mitigate the risks in avalanche prone areas.
12.5% of mountaineering fatalities are the result of an avalanche.– There and Back, 2016
Check out this video of an avalanche to see the power and danger they possess:
Here is the story of a survivor
NZ avalanches are a potential risk at any time of year.
Must Do – before you leave home:
Must Do – when in alpine terrain:
MSC worked with Epic TV to produce a five part avalanche safety series. Watch the whole series HERE. The video series is designed to be a short beginners guide about avalanche risk, and some basic techniques. Please note: This video series is NOT designed to be a complete training course – we strongly recommend you get training and learn from the experts. Please visit the courses page for more details
www.avalanche.net.nz is fantastic for getting the most recent information on avalanche risk levels at popular mountains around the country. If you are heading into the backcountry and alpine terrain, check here first. And remember, avalanches happen in summer too.
Avalanche transceivers are an essential item to take in avalanche prone areas. - Read about them here.
Whether you ski, board, tramp or climb – we have specific information you need for your favourite activity – find them here.
Get some of our helpful books and flyers
We have free pamphlets, books and equipment to help you find out more information about avalanche safety in New Zealand from our online store and resources page (pre-searching avalanche).
Find a course provider in your area to help you learn the essential skills to help you up in the snow courses page.
Check out when our next conference is and what papers have come out of it.
The New Zealand Avalanche Advisory (NZAA)
MetService weather forecasts