Skiing the northern slopes of Mt. Hope (Photo: R. Salmons)
Vistas of the Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo
Fresh turns above Rex Simpson Hut
Skinning up to the summit of Beuzenberg Peak
Lots of terrain options to explore
Enjoy a safe and hassle free backcountry ski holiday
Our warm alpine haven is well equipped
Two Thumb Range
Backcountry ski touring on the peaks overlooking Lake Tekapo
The Two Thumb Range near Lake Tekapo is a backcountry skiing paradise with an amazing landscape providing a good variety of terrain in a series of parallel valleys which allows for a different ski tour each day.
The mountain range forms the eastern boundary of the Mackenzie Basin, close enough to the Southern Alps to get great views and regular snow fall, but sheltered enough to escape many of the predominant north-west storms hitting the Main Divide.
Add in a cosy, heated hut and you have the recipe for a great backcountry holiday!
|Participants||3 days||4 days||5 days|
|returning client discount (on individual bookings), if you have been on an Alpine Recreation trip before.|
|Group Booking Discounts (NZ$ per person)|
- IFMGA/NZMGA certified mountain and ski guide
- Department of Conservation licence fees
- Heated PRIVATE hut accommodation
- Local accommodation for any nights required during the trip
- Free transport (Tekapo - Mt. Gerald return)
- ALL meals (including snacks & energy bars) for the duration of the trip
- ALL avalanche safety and alpine ski touring equipment (with the exception of ski boots)
Meals and accommodation before/after the trip are NOT included.
+Minimum & Maximum Numbers
A minimum number of 2 participants is required to run this trip. If you end up being the only person booked on the trip, you will be offered the choice of:
- paying an additional fee of NZ for 3 days, NZ for 4 days, or NZ for 5 days
- rescheduling to another trip/date
- a full refund
The maximum number of participants per guide is 6. The maximum group size is 12, with 2 guides.
Take advantage of our group booking discounts and get a group of family and friends together. The amount of discount you will be eligible for will depend on the group size - the more people you book, the more your discount will be! If our scheduled dates don't suit your group's travel plans, please contact us as we can reschedule a trip to suit (subject to guide availability).
Please note that group bookings are not private bookings - if you wish to keep your group closed (ie. you have a private guide just for your group), a surcharge will apply. Alterntatively you can book a group of 6 or 12 (which will ensure there are no others in your group).
Green : Minimum reached - guaranteed departure.
Orange : Only 4 or fewer places available.
Red : No availability.
Venue: Rex Simpson Hut
↑ Fresh turns above Rex Simpson Hut
Rex Simpson Hut
Rex Simpson Hut sits at an altitude of 1300m in the Two Thumb Range. It is located in a beautiful setting, with great views of the Southern Alps and vistas over Lake Tekapo across the Mackenzie Basin. It is a fantastic location for star gazing - the Mackenzie District is renowned for the clarity of its sky and freedom from light pollution, which is why the area was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve.
The Hut is privately owned by Alpine Recreation and is an ideal base for backcountry skiing with ready access to a range of slopes suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers. It is our base for the Tekapo Trek in Summer and Alpine Ski Touring, Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing and Instruction Courses during the winter.
No aircraft required: The hut can be reached in 3 hours' walking from the road end and is located at 1300m, in a beautiful setting, with great views of the Southern Alps and out over Lake Tekapo across the Mackenzie Basin.
The hut is equipped with firewood, gas, solar lighting, sleeping bags, bunks, pillows and mattresses, and nonperishable food. A wood-fired stove means there are good heating and drying facilities.
The hut consists of three rooms, sleeping up to 13 participants and 2 guides in total. There are no showers, but warm water and a basin can be provided for washing or you can find a private spot somewhere along the alpine stream. The toilet is a traditional longdrop loo with a view!
Ski Touring Fitness & Experience
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 backcountry 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).
8:30am gear check at Alpine Recreation's Edelweiss Lodge, 8 Erebus Place, Lake Tekapo.
From Lake Tekapo township we drive along the lakeshore to the top of Lake Tekapo. 3 hours' hiking and/or skinning with a climb of 550m/1800ft brings us to the cosy Rex Simpson Hut, at 1300m/4265ft. The views over Lake Tekapo are expansive. Time for a short tour up onto Snake Ridge to admire the view and test our turns on the slopes above the hut or out onto Mt Gerald.
Relax with a hot drink beside the pot belly stove as your guide prepares a tasty dinner. Watch the sun set behind the alps and enjoy spectacularly clear displays of our Southern Hemisphere stars. No light or air pollution up here!
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.
Based at Rex Simpson Hut, we will climb the peaks and ridges nearby, with a good choice of tour options. 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 one of the shorter tours (e.g. Pyramid Peak), arriving back around 5-6pm.
Ideal warm-up or short tour after hiking/skinning up to the hut. Skin up to the saddle behind the hut, which leads into Camp Stream. Traverse out onto Snake Ridge and enjoy the ridge-top views, before dropping off ridge down to Mt Gerald Plateau. Good steep run into Mt Gerald Stream on south-facing slope. Traverse south back around to hut. 3 hours.
Access Beuzenberg Peak (2070m) via Snake Ridge. Good terrain for skiers new to touring, with excellent runs through the bowls below Stag Saddle and 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 cruise along the ridge top. 5-6 hours return.
In either direction this tour gives yet another perspective of the grand views of the Main Divide and out over the Mackenzie Basin with its turquoise Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. Camp Stream Gorge provides scenic skiing beside interesting ice formations in the frozen stream, while topping Pyramid Peak (1666m) expands our horizons in all directions. Multiple descent options, including the south ridge down to an old musterers' hut. 5 hours return.
Mount Hope Circuit
One of the favourites for advanced ski tourers who want it steep and spectacular! Option to return via Stag Saddle or Braun-Elwert Peak (2086m). 6 hours.
A good option for advanced skiers. Cross Camp Stream and 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.
Coal River Headwaters
Through Camp Stream, then take a long sidle to the head of the valley feeding Coal River. On top feast on the views north into Bush Stream before coasting home with some easy traverses and dream skiing back into Camp Stream. 6 hours return.
The Royal Tour
For very fit and efficient ski tourers. The above tour can be extended to include a descent to Royal Hut, then return via Stag Saddle and Camp Stream. 8 hours.
Mount Toby (2222m), Captains Peak (2371m)
These peaks have been done by Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, Alpine Recreation's founder, as day trips from Rex Simpson Hut, but an overnight camp is recommended.
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.
You can have a taste of backcountry ski touring before committing to buying all the gear. We can provide touring skis, skins, poles, transceivers, probe, shovel and any other equipment you might need, but you will need to bring your own ski touring boots.
All of your equipment will be checked during the gear check at our office at the start of your trip. Any equipment you need to borrow from us will be issued by your guide.