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Learn route selection, decision making, planning, & avalanche rescue skills.

The Avalanche Skills Course 1 (ASC1) is a New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) accredited course for skiers & snowboarders.

The focus of the course is to give backcountry travellers the foundation skills and knowledge to make safe decisions when travelling in avalanche terrain and what to do if someone in your party is caught in an avalanche.

Queenstown Mountain Guides use experienced mountain guides, ski touring guides, heli-skiing guides, and  ski patrollers that have real experience working professionally in the industry.  Your experienced instructor will share with you their personal real life experience in decision making, avalanche forecasting, and avalanche rescue.

The Avalanche Awareness Course is held over one 3 hour evening session on the first night and then followed by a full field day in the the Remarkables backcountry just outside the ski field boundary.

Prior to the course you need to complete the Online Avalanche Theory Course and QUIZ. This is a requirement for the field day and will help you get the most out of the course.


  • Introduction to the avalanche phenomenon – snowpack layering, triggers, avalanche types, avalanche sizes.
  • Avalanche terrain – slope angles, aspects, altitude/elevation, trigger points, terrain traps, avalanche terrain exposure scale
  • Conditions – Identifying signs of snow instability
  • Decision making
  • Safe travel techniques
  • Route finding in avalanche terrain
  • Rescue – Avalanche Transceivers, probing, shovelling technique


Remarkables ski area, Queenstown


Evening lecture Friday night: Meet at 7.00pm for a 2.5 hour lecture and slide show on the avalanche phenomenon.

Field day Saturday: Meet at ski area at 8.00am. Full day in Remarkables backcountry just outside the ski field boundary. The field day will finish at 4.00pm. We recommend leaving Queenstown no later than 7.00am to ensure getting a carpark on the ski field.


Note that this itinerary is a sample only. Your final itinerary is subject to weather and other conditions.

Evening Lecture – Friday night

2.5 hour lecture and slide show on the avalanche phenomenon.

Field Day – Saturday

You will meet with your guide and instructor at 8.00am at the Remarkables Ski field. The field day is run just outside the ski field boundary and backcountry touring equipment is required for this day. Participants can use ski touring skis, split boards, or snow shoes. Snow shoe hire is available for $25.

The field day will finish at 4.00 pm


3 to 12 people
1.5 days
June to August
  • 5th – 6th July 2024
  • 19th – 20th July 2024
  • 2nd – 3rd Aug 2024
  • 16th – 17th Aug 2024
  • 30th – 31st Aug 2024

This trip is available as a pre-organised group trip as well as for private bookings.



  • Guide fees
  • Group equipment
  • MSC avalanche assessor card


  • Ski touring /split boarding equipment or snow shoes (snow shoe hire available for $25)
  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe (hire available for $25)
  • Lunch & snack food


Experience required

This course is for skiers and snow boarders. Participants need the ability to ski/ride off piste in a variety of conditions.

Before the course commences we ask that you complete the online theory course. Please see the link below.

Online theory course and quiz 

What to bring

You will need to bring:

  • Food and water
  • A pack large enough to carry avalanche equipment as well as your spare clothing, food, and water.
  • Warm clothing, windproof jacket and pants, warm gloves, sunglasses or goggle, and sunscreen.
  • Ski touring /split boarding equipment or snow shoes (snow shoe hire available for $25)
Clothing & equipment

Skiing & climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. 

It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. 

Backcountry travel equipment is required for this trip. Please contact Small Planet Sports located at 17 Shotover Street in Queenstown to hire ski touring equipment or Snowboard Workshop for splitboard hire
Snow shoes are available for hire from us for $25 per day as an alternative to using a split board.
Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio is 6 participants to 1 guide.

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