Wilderness skiing at its best! Alpine and Telemark Ski Touring amongst the glaciers of the Mount Cook and Westland National Parks.
We base ourselves at Kelman, Pioneer or Centennial Huts, and undertake day tours from there. The glacier runs are spectacular: Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Tasman, Darwin, Bonney and Murchison Glaciers. Depending on conditions some very fine peaks may be climbed on skis: Elie de Beaumont, Minarets, Sydney King, Hochstetter Dome.
The program is completely flexible and can be customized to suit your needs. You can opt for an instruction based course to improve your winter mountaineering skills, or the focus can be on climbing peaks or skiing as many different runs as you can!
All gear included in our prices - (except alpine touring boots). No need to pay extra to hire alpine touring skis, skins, avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel....
Aircraft for access and return is essential.
Symphony on Skis - Ski Mountaineering in the Southern Alps - article by Thomas MacTavish, 2012.
"The trip was amazing - a great venue and wonderful terrain to ski! New Zealand is a truly special place. I am extremely impressed with your operation - the trip was VERY well organized, executed, and was very well-tailored to all of our needs, abilities, interests etc. The guide was PHENOMENAL! He did a great job of balancing safety, while finding the best possible skiing objectives available.....all while dealing with people of differing abilities and experience. He also provided excellent educational training (both theory and practical) on avalanche and mountain safety. Moreover, he inspired everyone to push themselves physically and mentally (within safety limits of course) to have some epic days." - D. Rasher, USA.
2-4 participants per guide.
Individual bookings welcome. If you end up being the only person on a trip you will have the option of changing to another date, a full refund, or paying the single participant price.
|Price per person in NZ$ (valid until 30 April 2014)|
|5% returning client discount, if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Participants||5 days||extra days|
|2||2220||440 per day|
|1 (single participant price)||3350||670 per day|
|Discounts for group bookings|
|3-4 (book a minimum of 3 persons to qualify)||1900||380 per day|
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: guide, hut fees, all food & surface transport ex Lake Tekapo (additional vehicle costs apply for the Fox & Franz Josef Glacier venue), hire of all ski touring and mountaineering equipment (with the exception of alpine ski touring boots), National Parks concession fees, 15% GST.
Meals and accommodation before/after tour are NOT included.
Aircraft access is NOT included. We are totally flexible in choice of venue, according to weather and snow conditions. Flights are not included in price because cost varies according to venue, type of aircraft and occupancy. Ski plane carrying 3 + gear from Mt Cook Airport to Tasman Saddle NZ$615. Return flight is often cheaper if you can catch the back-flight of other skiers flying in. Helicopter carrying 5 + gear to Tasman Saddle is NZ$944. Helicopter for 3 + gear from Fox/Franz Josef to Pioneer/Centennial Huts NZ$465. Helicopter Chancellor Hut - Fox NZ$240. Prices subject to change.
Tasman & Murchison Glaciers
A very popular and reliable venue is Kelman Hut at the head of the Tasman Glacier. Access is by ski plane or helicopter from Mount Cook Village. Kelman Hut is the base for day trips on the Tasman and Murchison Glaciers. For intermediate skiers the Tasman Glacier offers many runs of gentle gradient. Hochstetter Dome, an easy beginners' mountain, can be climbed from here. Aircraft access in and out is essential.
For the more advanced skiers the Murchison Glacier, Mannering and Aida Glaciers as well as the Darwin and Bonney Glaciers offer many rewarding ski runs. Mount Sydney King, Mount Green and Elie de Beaumont are outstanding peaks that may be attempted. Being to the east of the Main Divide the Tasman and Murchison Glaciers often enjoy perfect powder snow.
For ski mountaineers a crossing from the Tasman to the Franz Josef Glacier is possible via the Rudolf Glacier and Graham Saddle.
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers
The head of the Fox Glacier (Pioneer Hut) or Franz Josef Glacier (Centennial Hut) in the Westland National Park offer great venues on the western side of the Main Divide. Access is from Fox or Franz Josef Glacier townships by helicopter. While the weather on the West Coast is more changeable, the views over the Tasman Sea are unrivalled in the world. Mounts Grey, Lendenfeld and Tasman may be climbed from Pioneer Hut. The Minarets, Mount von Bulow and Drummond Peak are accessible from Centennial Hut. Aircraft access is essential.
For competent skiers there are the ski-descent from the glaciers via the Fritz Range, separating the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and the magnifcent ski-run down past ice falls to Chancellor Hut or Almer Hut. These rate amongst the finest New Zealand has to offer.
Kelman, Tasman Saddle, Pioneer and Centennial Huts are public huts that cannot be booked. The huts work on a first come first served basis. Climbers must carry their own sleeping bags, food, stove, fuel and cooking utensils to the huts as well as some party equipment and their personal equipment.
It is essential that participants are fit enough to walk out from the high mountain venue in case bad weather prevents a return flight. This can involve skiing and hiking with a full pack (approximately 20kg including skis) over sometimes rough ground for 6 to 8 hours.
Skiing ability & mountaineering skills
Participants need to be able to ski competently in untracked snow and with a pack. Basic mountaineering skills and strong intermediate or advanced skiing ability are essential.
For an easier option we recommend Nordic & Cross-country Skiing in the Lake Tekapo High Country (this venue is also suitable for alpine touring).
9am gear check at our office, 30 Murray Place, Lake Tekapo. You need to bring your own alpine touring boots, but otherwise we can provide all other equipment.
Drive one hour to Mt Cook airport and fly in to Kelman, Tasman Saddle or Centennial or Pioneer Hut. After off-loading food at the hut a half-day tour will warm-up the off-piste technique. Alternatively, weather conditions may dictate driving to the West Coast (6 hours) and taking the shorter flight from there.
The guide will assess your skiing ability and offer day tours appropriate to your level. Ski ascents such as Mt Sydney King or Elie de Beaumnont (from Kelman Hut) or Minarets (from Centennial Hut) can be on the menu, or you can choose less ambitious peaks, but with just as good skiing opportunities.
If bad weather confines you to the hut, the guide can offer instruction on navigation, avalanche awareness, mountain weather or any mountain-related topic you request. Transceiver practice is covered as a matter of course.
From Kelman Hut, ski down to lower airstrip and fly out. From Centennial or Pioneer Hut, fly back to Mt Cook airport, or, if you have driven around to the West Coast, ski down to Chancellor Hut and fly out.
Return to Lake Tekapo, arriving back around 5pm.
If you prefer to include more instruction in your week, then please indicate this on the enrolment form by choosing the ski mountaineering course option. Based at Kelman Hut, we will teach you efficient winter travel and risk minimisation. Learn what is essential to become a good leader in the winter wild.
- trip preparation and equipment choice
- safe route selection
- glacier travel and crevasse extraction
- snow anchors and belay systems
- avalanche and weather assessment
- transceiver exercises
- snow shelter building
- putting it all into practice while on the move as much as possible.
Alpine Recreation provides alpine touring skis, poles, skins, avalanche transceivers, shovels and crampons. You need to bring your own alpine ski touring boots. A detailed equipment list will be sent at time of booking. Outdoor clothing and packs can also be provided at no extra cost if necessary.
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.