Wanaka Mountain Guides

Glacier Ski and Splitboard Touring Course

The Glacier Ski Course teaches the skills for ski and splitboard tourers to safely explore the remote glaciers and peaks of the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. Helicopter into a base at a high alpine hut for days of fresh terrain to explore and receive instruction in avalanche awareness, glacier travel and rescue, and touring. All whilst skiing or riding awesome terrain amongst NZ’s biggest and most magnificent peaks.


Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Tasman Saddle Hut in Winter

The Glacier Ski and Splitboard Touring Course is based out of huts on the eastern glaciers of the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park but depending on conditions it is also possible to base the course in the huts of Westland National Parks from an expedition-style tent camp in the Murchison Glacier.

The exact venue can be chosen based on the weather and all options provide a range of terrain and ski touring and mountaineering objectives to explore and practice the skills and decision-making to keep you safe on your own future glacier adventures.

Glacier Ski Course Itinerary

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Glacier Ski Tour

The guide will pick guests up from their accommodation in Wānaka at 8:30 on the first day. After checking gear, it is a 2.5 hour drive to Mount Cook Village from where it is possible to fly into the mountains.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Glacier Ski Course

Trips are based from high alpine huts from where it is possible to explore the névés with day packs. On the last day, the tour will ski down the Tasman / Haupapa Glacier for a helicopter transfer back to the village. It may be possible to undertake a side trip to explore the Bonney and Darwin glaciers. From the huts on the west side of the divide, we ski down to the historic Chancellor hut for the helicopter ride back down.

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Glacier Ski Course

The itinerary is flexible and subject to weather. Course topics will be covered whilst exploring the névés, cols, and summits with day packs. If the weather dictates that the course is unable to spend the entire time in the high mountains, day or overnight trips will be carried out from Mount Cook Village or nearby ski fields to continue the learning. 

Glacier Ski and Splitboard Touring Course Syllabus

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Ski Touring

Ski or splitboard travel provides the opportunity for travelling far and efficiently to maximise the terrain covered and the objectives achieved. Most importantly looking for and finding good and safe snow to ski and ride.

Course topics can be tailored to an individual or group’s needs and aspirations. Ski mountaineering skills can be introduced for those with aspirations for ascents and ski descents of high peaks.

Topics include:

  • Ski and splitboard equipment selection, management, and maintenance for glacier trips
  • Uphill and downhill backcountry travel techniques on glaciated terrain
  • Glacier travel and route finding
  • Crevasse rescue
  • Trip planning
  • Avalanche awareness and rescue
  • Basic snowcraft including crampon and ice axe use
  • Snow camping

Visit our Downloads page for course resources to prepare for the course.

For more information on the skills that are covered, check out our articles on Essential Skills for Glacier Ski Touring and Glacier Ski Touring Crevasse Rescue.

Fitness and Difficulty

Wanaka Mountain Guides [] Ski Touring
Wanaka Mountain Guides

Good fitness is required to get the most out of the course. Expect uphill travel of up to 1000m on consecutive days.

Wanaka Mountain Guides

Intermediate or higher skiing or snowboarding ability with experience off-piste in a range of snow conditions.

Wanaka Mountain Guides

No mountaineering experience is necessary but some experience with rope work, and knots will be useful.

Pricing and Dates

Duration: 5 days
Maximum ratio: 1:4
2024 Dates:
2nd – 6th September: Places available
16th – 20th September: Places available
30th September – 3rd October: Places available

Can’t make these dates. Get in touch to arrange group or private bookings from August to October.
2023 Price:
$4350 / $3090 / $2550 per person for 2 / 3 / 4 participants

Inclusions: GST, guide fees, mountain accommodation, all food, flight into and out of the mountains, and transport from Wānaka.
Exclusions: Ski touring equipment hire. Available from MT Outdoors.

See Also

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘[Our guide] did an outstanding job of creating building blocks of learning – e.g. around crevasse rescue – so each of us was able to assimilate the learning involved at a rate that was appropriate for each of us. He also very skilfully managed and created situations where we could test ourselves at a level at which we were comfortable, without specifically calling this out. He is exceptional as a guide and brings a number of qualities to guiding which are very difficult to teach and which make him stand out to me.

 Ruth, Summer Mountaineering Course

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘Thank you for your patience and good humour. Pretty much everything I did last week was new and challenging and generally way outside my comfort zone. But despite having by far the least experience of the group you managed it in such a way that I never felt I was too much of a drag. I could not honestly say I enjoyed everything as I was doing it but I am really pleased I did do it and I am looking back with great fondness on the week. I am going to try and continue rock climbing (and to do it without whimpering) and I am determined to master prusiking. I will be ready for crossing any glaciers around Sydney.’

 Duncan, Summer Mountaineering Course

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘[Our guide] showed a high level of experience, knowledge, and professionalism in all areas of the course and were also able to convey their knowledge in a logical way that made it easy to progressively learn and practice all the skills. The skills were also taught at a rate that meant I was continually challenged to think about what I was learning and what to do next, but also in a way that made sense and gave us time to absorb all the information so everything came together at the end when we consolidated our learning on the final day on the mountain.’

Katie, Summer Mountaineering Course

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