The Two Thumb Range is an ideal area for either an introduction or extending your experience with backcountry skiing. Benefit from the experience of one of our professional mountain and ski guides to improve your skills, whether it's efficiency with track-laying and handling equipment, avalanche awareness and rescue, snow shelter building, navigation....We can provide all the alpine touring equipment, except boots, at no extra cost, including shovels, probes and transceivers.
Want to improve your off-piste technique before you venture into the backcountry? Ask about our 1 or 2 day private ski instructor option at one of our local skifields - Dobson, Roundhill or Ohau. Ring 0800 006 096.
"Thanks for making the trip enjoyable and informative. Considering the different standards in our group you did a great job in keeping us all satisfied and interested. Key for me was a little more knowledge on avalanche risk assessment - in particular the compression tap testing using a wider slab to check for propagation. I've already got my rope with 30cm markers sorted. Also revision on transceiver use and navigation was really good. Not to mention digging the Taj Mahal of snow caves. The hut and services at the hut were a pleasant surprise, very comfortable - a really great set up."
Backcountry Ski Course. R. Hosking, Australia. August 2012.
2-6 participants per guide, up to 10 with 2 guides.
Individual bookings welcome. If you end up being the only person on a course you will have the option of changing to another date or a full refund.
|Price per person in NZ$ (valid until 30 April 2014)|
|5% returning client discount, if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Discounts for group bookings|
|3-5 (book a minimum of 3 persons to qualify)||1270|
|6-10 (book a minimum of 6 persons to qualify)||1130|
Please note that on public holidays there will be a surcharge of NZ$80 per person per day.
New Zealand public holidays 2013: New Year 1/1 & 2/1, Waitangi Day 6/2, Good Friday 29/3, Easter Monday 1/4, Anzac Day 25/4, Labour Day 28/10, Christmas Day 25/12, Boxing Day 26/12.
Included: NZMGA mountain and ski guide, hut accommodation, all food & transport ex Lake Tekapo, alpine touring skis, poles, skins, avalanche transceiver and any other equipment you may need to borrow (with the exception of alpine ski touring boots), Department of Conservation licence fee, 15% GST.
Meals and accommodation before/after tour are NOT included.
Rex Simpson Hut is located at 1300m in the Two Thumb Range. A beautiful setting, with great views of the Southern Alps and out over Lake Tekapo across the Mackenzie Basin.
Privately owned by Alpine Recreation, Rex Simpson Hut is an ideal base for backcountry skiing with ready access to a range of slopes suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers.
No aircraft required: The hut can be reached in 3 hours' walking from the road.
Fully equipped with firewood, gas, solar lighting, sleeping bags, bunks, pillows and mattresses for up to 15 people, and non-perishable food. A wood-fired stove means there are good heating and drying facilities.
This course will teach you the essential skills of backcountry skiing. It will help you to develop your abilities to anticipate potential hazards, to identify risks and how to minimize them.
Instruction topics include:
Bad weather options: Rex Simpson Hut is spacious enough to make a good classroom if weather forces us inside. It's rare to have more than half a day of hut-confining weather in the Two Thumb Range.
A high level of fitness is required. Participants need to carry a backpack of about 8 kg plus their skis for 3 hours to the hut (550 vertical metres). On subsequent days packs will be light, but participants will be doing the equivalent of a six-hour walk/climb. Previous tramping or hiking experience is essential.
The Two Thumb Range is suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers. Guides will give instruction on downhill technique as needed. If you have little or no off-piste skiing experience, we recommend spending 1-2 days before the tour with our private ski instructor at one of our local ski fields (Mt. Dobson, Roundhill or Ohau).
Ski Touring experience
No previous ski touring experience is required, however you are expected to have at least an intermediate level of downhill skiing ability (safe turns in untracked snow).
For a non-skiing option we recommend Snowshoe Hikes in the Lake Tekapo High Country.
8am gear check at our office, 30 Murray Place, Lake Tekapo.
From Lake Tekapo township we drive along the lakeshore to the head of Lake Tekapo. 3 hours' hike/ski with a climb of 550m/1805t brings us to the cosy Rex Simpson Hut, at 1300m/4265ft, in the Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park.
Afternoon ski tour and instruction.
As the hut is fully stocked we only need to carry some fresh items of food (e.g. bread, fruit, vegetables, meat) and our personal clothing and equipment.
Day tours from Rex Simpson Hut with instruction in the field. There are several large basins and valley systems that provide ideal touring terrain for intermediate to advanced alpine skiers. Great views of Mounts Cook and Tasman from the ridge leading up from the hut, nicknamed "Snake Ridge". Please refer to the "Tour Options" section.
Return to Lake Tekapo, after a 3-5 hour ski tour in the morning, arriving back around 5pm.
Mt Gerald Stream
From hut, around the corner, up Mt Gerald Stream and onto the plateau of Mt Gerald itself, with views down to Lilybank Station and up the Godley Valley and across Lake Tekapo. Return same way or cross Snake Ridge and follow down to hut. 3 hours return.
Snake Ridge - Beuzenberg Peak
Up to saddle looking into Camp Stream, then up onto Snake Ridge, following all the way up to Beuzenberg Peak, 2070m. A variety of descent options ranging in steepness on both the west and eastern sides of Snake Ridge. Great views of East Face of Mount Cook, Mt Tasman and other Main Divide peaks as you gain height along the ridge. Braun-Elwert Peak, named after Alpine Recreation's founder, is to the north-east. 6 hours return.
Cross Camp Stream and head up to "Pyramid Peak" to the southeast, 1641m. Multiple descent options from here, including the south ridge down to an old musterers' hut. Return via Camp Stream Gorge or a steeper descent route to Camp Stream from the south ridge. 4 hours return.
Camp Stream Traverse
Up to saddle behind hut, down into Camp Stream valley and up a peak, 1666m, on the eastern side for grand views into the next valley and a different perspective of the Main Divide. This ski tour can be extended into the next valley or up Peak 1972. 3 hours return.
A good option for advanced skiers. As for Camp Stream Traverse, but sidle to the saddle north of Peak 1666. From here either follow the ridge to the summit of Peak 1972 or sidle around terraces on the eastern side. A long steep descent route back into Camp Stream valley. 5 hours return.
There are many variations on these tours. It's possible to spend 5-7 days based at Rex Simpson Hut and explore new territory every day, only crossing your previous ski tracks near the hut.
Alpine Recreation provides alpine touring skis, poles, skins, avalanche transceivers, shovels and probes. You need to bring your own alpine ski touring boots. Outdoor clothing and packs can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary. Backcountry Ski Course Clothing & Equipment list.
Accommodation pre-/post- tour:
As our equipment check takes place at 8am on the morning of departure, you need to book accommodation in Tekapo the night before. After the tour, it is recommended to overnight in Tekapo again, or in Mount Cook. Accommodation options in Tekapo.
In case of accident New Zealand's Accident Compensation scheme (ACC) will cover the majority of costs (about 80%) involved with evacuation and injury treatment, even for visitors to New Zealand. However you still need ordinary travel insurance to cover such things as your cancellation if an injury prevents you taking part on the trip, or a close relative suddenly becomes ill; and medical insurance in case you become ill. More information re Accident Compensation. The New Zealand Alpine Club provides a good mountaineering specific travel insurance.
How green are we?
Alpine Recreation reduces its carbon footprint and environmental impact through such things as:
- restricting group size
- using fuel efficient vehicles
- minimising use of vehicles and aircraft
- recycling, re-using, composting, avoiding "consumerism"
- minimal impact huts
- bulk buying of food supplies
- promoting conservation of native flora and fauna
- supporting community efforts to encourage appreciation of the natural environment
For details please refer to our Environmental Care Action.