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Glacier Skiing Course

Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park

6-10 September 2017 – Full

13-17 September 2017 – Full

20-24 September 2017 – Full

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Please note that the 2017 Courses are now full – Feel free to still register for the course and you will be placed on the waiting list.


Who is this course for?

The NZAC Glacier Skiing Course (GSC) is a five-day course designed for strong intermediate (or better) skiers with excellent aerobic fitness wanting to learn the core skills to safely ski on glaciated terrain. Introductory-level familiarity with the use of an ice axe and crampons is required, and can usually be learned from a local NZAC section snowcraft course.
This is not a ‘learn to ski’ course- you should be able to comfortably (but not necessarily stylishly) ski steep ungroomed slopes on a ski field. Telemarkers are welcome but must be VERY high skiing standard for this course.


At a minimum, those wishing to register for the GSC must be capable of:

  • Skiing all the ‘black diamond’ runs on your local ski field confidently (not necessarily stylishly).
  • Making turns (again doesn’t have to be stylish) in heavy wet snow on steep ground.
  • Confidently performing kick-turn on steep ground to get out of trouble if needed.
  • Slide-slip confidently to get down a slope too steep or rocky to turn on.
  • Being fit enough to ski hard for five days in a row.
  • Fitting and adjusting crampons
  • Putting on a harness
  • Tying the rope into a harness with a figure-8 knot
  • Basic use of an ice axe and crampons, including self-arresting and step cutting
  • Carrying a heavy pack for several days at a time.


On the GSC, participants will learn the following:

  • Equipment- what to carry and why. How to look after your gear.
  • Trip planning and preparation
  • Skins- getting them on and off quick smart without holding too many people up.
  • Skinning- good technique – how to lay a good track others will enjoy.
  • Mountain travel -choosing a safe route – terrain analysis.
  • Glacier ski travel and crevasse extraction
  • Snow- different snow conditions. What to expect in Mt. Cook NP
  • Navigation- map and compass, altimeter, basic GPS. Navigating in a white out.
  • Weather – general and specific to NZ glaciated areas
  • Avalanches- about them and how to avoid the damn things.
  • Transceivers – how to use them.
  • Searching for an avalanche victim/s – shovel and probe.



The course will be run in a minimum 1:4 guide to participant ratio, headed by a fully qualified IFMGA Guide. All participants must agree to follow the guide’s instructions and directions.


Course Location

Based at the NZAC Unwin Lodge in the Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park. Accommodation for the night before the course starts at Unwin Lodge is included in the course fee. Weather permitting the course will be run on either the Tasman Glacier, Murchison Glacier or the Grand Plateau. Weather or terrain conditions will dictate your instructor’s choice of location.



The course fees include flights to the hut, and out at the end of the course.


Course Fees

The course fees of $1620 include instruction, hut accommodation, and helicopter flights. We strongly recommend taking out our loss of deposits insurance, which can cover your course fee in case something happens in the time leading up to the course start date.


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