Backcountry Avalanche Course


This course is based from Aspiring Guides offices on the lakefront in Wanaka.

Understandable Format...

David Cleary

Gordie has a very good teaching method, enabling him to relate a complex topic in a simplified, tangible, and understandable format for the novice student. He didn't get sidetracked and start speaking beyond our comprehension. Very approachable, and positive and upbeat when talking about the subject. Provided supportive constructive criticism when needed. Kept the focus on safety.

More Information

Course includes:

  • Mountain weather - Understand the basics on what type of weather is most dangerous and how to use modern weather forecasting to plan your trip.
  • Decision making - Learn how to make choices based on empirical evidence
  • Avalanche terrain - Aspect, elevation and angle all combine to make avalanches possible, learn what to avoid.
  • Route selection - Learn to travel safely by choosing the best route.
  • Companion rescue - If an avalanche happens, you will need to trust yourself and your companions to rescue anyone buried.
  • Safety equipment - Learn to use avalanche transceivers and proper shoveling techniques

Optional Additions :

  • Spend one or more nights out camping or snow caving
  •  Fly in/out of our private hut at Black Peak

Available Dates

Trip Dates 2017 Status
BAC1 June 3-6 Completed
BAC2 September 8 - 11 5 places available

Dates don't suit? Contact us and we will see what we can do.
Also if you would like a private course for your own group we can discuss other dates.


Technical Difficulty
It is recommended that participants have some familiarity with winter backcountry travel.

Physical Difficulty
A moderate level of fitness is required.  Participants need to be able to travel up steep hills and be strong enough to handle variable conditions.

Price Details

Guide Ratio Price
1:6 $950 per person

Minimum number to run scheduled course is 3 pax, but we can run private courses for less people.

Course participants will be responsible for organising their own transport to & from the course venues, food, and accommodation in Wanaka for the duration of the course. 


What's Included

NZMGA/IFMGA Qualified Guide

MSC Backcountry Course - Participant workbook

Avalanche Awareness in the New Zealand Backcountry (2008, NZ)
Penny Goddard

Extra costs apply if tent/snow cave/Black Peak options are chosen.


Frequently Asked Questions About This Trip

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Days 1 - 4

Each day we meet at the Aspiring Guides office in Wanaka at 8:30.  After a gear check we go to that day's field destination.  Your instructor will pick which venue is most appropriate for the day's weather and snow conditions.  Instruction will start at the beginning and learning will be broken into manageable parts.

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