Wanaka Mountain Guides

Ski Mountaineering Course

The Ski Mountaineering Course is for those with aspirations for ascents and ski or splitboard descents of New Zealand’s high peaks. The course introduces and develops the skills to undertake classic ski mountaineering objectives and glacier travel throughout the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. It is an excellent next step from our other ski touring courses.


Tasman Saddle Hut in Winter

The Ski Mountaineering Course is based in the Aoraki / Mount Cook region but depending on conditions it is also possible to travel to the Mount Aspiring or Westland National Parks or the Remarkables, near Queenstown.

These venues 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 ski mountaineering adventures.

Ski Mountaineering Course Itinerary

Wanaka Mountain Guide [] Ski Mountaineering Course

On the first day of the course, your guide will pick you up from your accommodation in Wānaka to travel to Mount Cook village to fly into the mountains. Once settled at the high alpine hut, the group will head out to cover the skills and explore the area with day packs. The itinerary is flexible and subject to weather. Mountaineering skills will be covered whilst exploring the neves, cols, and summits. If the weather dictates that the course is unable to spend the entire time in the high mountains, then skills will be covered during the day or overnight trips from Mount Cook Village based at NZAC Unwin Hut or nearby ski fields. 

Ski Mountaineering Syllabus

Course topics can be tailored to an individual or group’s needs and aspirations. The Ski Mountaineering Course is our most advanced ski course and the focus is on the climbing and mountaineering skills required to ascend New Zealand’s classic snow and glacier peaks for the purposes of ski and snowboard descents and utilising skis or splitboard to access more remote objectives.

Topics include:

  • Snowcraft including crampon and ice axe use
  • Snow and ski anchors and ropework for pitching and abseiling
  • Ski and splitboard equipment selection, management, and maintenance for mountaineering objectives
  • Glacier travel, route finding, and crevasse rescue
  • Trip planning and navigation
  • Mountain hazard analysis, risk management, and decision making including avalanche awareness and rescue

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

What to Expect

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

Strong Intermediate or higher skiing or snowboarding ability with touring experience and ability to handle a range of off-piste snow conditions and experience ski touring.

Wanaka Mountain Guides

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

Pricing and Dates

Duration: 5 days
Maximum ratio: 1:4
2023 Dates:
21st – 25th August: COMPLETE
4th – 8th September: COMPLETE
11th to 15th September: COMPLETE
25th – 29th September: 3 Places available
2nd – 6th October: Places available

Can’t make these dates. Get in touch to arrange group or private bookings from August to October.
2023 Price:
$2550 / $3150 / 4490 per person for 4 / 3 / 2 people.

Inclusions: GST, guide fees, compliance costs, mountain food and accommodation, flights in and out from the mountains, and transport from Wānaka.
Exclusions: 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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