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Intro to Backcountry Skiing Course

No Course In 2020


Who is this course for?

The NZAC Intro to Backcountry Skiing Course (IBSC) is a four-day course designed for strong intermediate (or better) skiers with excellent aerobic fitness wanting to get a good grounding in ski touring so they can go experience the winter backcountry by themselves!

This is not a ‘learn to ski’ course. Please be aware the Canterbury terrain is much more challenging than the Pisa Range so ensure you meet the minimum requirements.

Telemarkers and split boarders are also welcome but must be of a high skill/experience level. Boarders must also have ski crampons as part of their touring setup just like the skiers. When you submit your registration, provide as much detail of your experience as possible, and we will run it past the instructor before confirming your spot.


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

  • Confidently skiing ALL the ‘black diamond’ runs on your local ski field in ALL conditions.
  • Comfortably skiing steep ungroomed slopes on a ski field.
  • Making turns in crusty or heavy 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 three days in a row. The group will be looking for 600-1000m of ascent each day.

On the IBSC, participants will learn the following:

  • Equipment- what to carry and why. How to look after your gear.
  • Trip planning and preparation – including use of the NZ Avalanche Advisory, weather forecasts and checklists.
  • Skins- getting them on and off quick smart without holding too many people up.
  • Skinning- good technique – how to lay a good, safe track that others will enjoy.
  • Mountain travel – terrain analysis and choosing a safe route.
  • Reading the snow- finding the goods and tests for analysing snow stability.
  • Navigation- map and compass, altimeter, basic GPS. Navigating in a white out.
  • Weather – general and specific to the Canterbury high country
  • Avalanches – Signs of instability and how to avoid avalanches.
  • Companion rescue: Avalanche Transceivers, probing and shovelling.



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. 8 participants maximum.


Course Fees

The course fees of $1420.00 include instruction, accommodation, food and lift passes. 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.


Questions can be directed to:

[email protected]


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