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Tent based expedition to NZ’s best glacier ski touring destination.

The Murchison Glacier and it surrounding tributaries and mountains is New Zealand’s best glaciated ski touring destination. Remote, beautiful, steep, mellow, committing & serious are all words that could be used to describe the skiing in the Murchison… there are ski lines for everyone from first time ski tourers to skiers and snow boarders looking for serious & steep glaciated ski mountaineering terrain.

Compared to the busy Tasman Glacier the Murchison Glacier is less frequented by ski touring parties. In 2017 Murchison hut was closed, now hut based groups are required to make a long day journey from the Tasman Glacier to have only a small taste of the delights that the area has to offer. Being based in the Murchison we will get to experience the best skiing in the area.

The Murchison Glacier Skiing Expedition is for adventurous skiers and snow boarders looking to learn winter camping and expedition camping skills. With the right equipment, knowledge snow camping is comfortable. On this trip you will learn how to set up a winter camp properly – these skills will include making a tent platform, building snow walls, and creating foot wells at the entrance of the tent. You will also learn tricks to stay warm and dry. These skills can be applied to longer tent based expeditions – imagine snow camping in the high Alaskan Mountains on a skiing or climbing expedition for 2 weeks!

Access to the Murchison Glacier is by helicopter or ski plane. After driving to Mt Cook we will fly into the Murchison Glacier and set up a basecamp for the week. From here there are many different skiing options. We can look at the map and the surrounding terrain and choose objectives based on your fitness, goals, skill level, snow conditions, and the avalanche hazard. Ski mountaineering objectives are also a possibility in the Murchison Glacier.



Murchison Glacier, Mt Cook National Park


Your guide will meet with you at 8.30am on the first day of the trip at your accomodation.


4-10 days


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

Day 1

On the first day of the trip we will pick you up at 8.30am. Before leaving Queenstown we will check your equipment to make sure that you have everything you need for the ski tour. From Queenstown its a 3.5 hour drive to get to Mt Cook airport. Once we are organised we will fly into the Murchison Glacier.

Once we arrive in the Murchison Glacier we will set up our tent camp before heading out for a ski tour. It is normal practice to do some revision on avalanche rescue before we go skiing.

Day 2-5

Each day we will pick a ski touring our ski mountaineering objective suitable to the avalanche conditions and the participants goals, ability, and fitness level.

There is a lot of terrain in the Murchison Glacier area to ski. There are long glacier runs and options for skiing off summits including Mt Sydney King, Mt Acland and Mt Phyllis.

Day 6

After breakfast we will pack up our tent camp.  We still have time to get in another ski tour. We will be back at the camp by 1.30pm for a 2.00pm helicopter pickup.


1 to 4 people
3-10 days
From $1,500
July to October


3 days$3,795$2,200$1,650$1,500
4 days$4,750$2,800$2,150$1,900
5 days$5,700$3,380$2,650$2,350
6 days$6,550$3,995$3,100$2,800
7 days$7,390$4,600$3,600$3,200


  • Guide fees
  • Avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe
  • Hut accommodation if required
  • Group equipment
  • Ground transport
  • Meals and snacks


  • Flight into and out of the mountains
  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Ski touring skis & boot hire


Experience required

The minimum requirement is that you are a strong intermediate skier. (You should be confident skiing all intermediate runs with speed at your local ski field and should also be able to ski off piste on black runs.)  There is a variety of terrain for intermediates through to stronger skiers looking for more adventurous skiing & we can customise this trip to suit your skiing ability.

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. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

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. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.

Ski touring equipment and split boards can be hired from Small Planet Outdoors, 17 Shotover St, Queenstown. For snowboarders Queenstown Mountain Guides rents snow shoes for $25 per day that can be used as an alternative to a split board setup.

We highly reccomend ski touring or split boarding crampons for ski touring in New Zealand. These are especially useful if you are a split boarder.

Accomodation during the trip

Accomodation is in a light weight expedition style tent camp. If we are delayed getting into the mountains accomodation at the New Zealand Alpine Club Hut at Mt Cook is included in the costs.

Accomodation in Queenstown before or after the trip is not included in trip costs.

To organise accomodation in Queenstown, we recommend Here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget. The cost of accomodation in Queenstown is not included in your trip costs.

Daily trip logistics
Every day in the mountains is different with changing weather, snowpack, and access conditions. When you book your trip with Queenstown Mountain Guides we will discuss your goals for the trip and the general plan. When you meet with your guide on the first morning of your trip your guide will discuss with you the weather forecast and current conditions and make a final plan for the trip. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

On the final day of the trip we will aim to have you back in Queenstown by approximately 5.00pm.

Aircraft access & egress costs

The flight into and out of the mountains is not included in the trip cost. Our goal is to minimise the cost of the flight out by sharing the cost of flights with other climbing and skiing parties when possible.

The below costs include GST and are the total price of the helicopter and this cost will be divided by the number of clients in the helicopter. For example Plateau hut 2 clients plus guide the cost would be $535 per client for a drop off.

*All prices are subject to availability and occasional change by aircraft operators.

Mt Cook Region.

Murchison Glacier: $1,430. Max 5 passengers.

Plateau Hut: $1,070. Max 5 passengers.

Upper Tasman Glacier – Kelman Hut & Tasman Saddle Hut: $1,430. Max 5 passengers.

Lower Tasman Glacier Pickup: $1,070. Max 5 passengers.

Guide to participant ratios

The maximum guide to participant ratio on the Murchison Glacier Skiing Expedition is 1 guide to 4 participants.

Skiing in the Murchison Glacier
Camping in the Murchison Glacier
Ski touring Murchison Glacier
Man skiing downhill on a 3 Day Backcountry Skiing trip