Cruising gentle slopes near Mount Gerald
An early start is rewarded by fresh snow
Relax and enjoy your nordic ski touring holiday
Professional ski guides will teach you technique
A warm alpine haven with great views over Lake Tekapo
Nordic/Cross-country Backcountry Ski Touring
Lake Tekapo High Country
If you can walk, you can ski nordic! Cross-country skiing is recognised as being one of the healthiest forms of exercise there are, giving a total body workout with both arm and leg stretching, breathing in clean mountain air and taking in beautiful scenery on the way. Add to that the fun of the rewarding downhill and some cosy relaxation by the fire at night and you have the ideal holiday.
This is remote backcountry skiing at its best, in a white wilderness all to yourself. Based at our comfortable Rex Simpson Hut high above Lake Tekapo, you undertake day tours in the rolling basins of the Two Thumb Range. Off the Main Divide of the Southern Alps the Two Thumb Range has very favourable weather conditions, providing a choice of terrain for either easy to moderate cross-country skiing and Telemark touring or alpine touring on the steeper slopes. You can cruise over rolling hills and explore snow-filled valleys, or take an easy ascent to access ideal terrain for carving Telemark turns. Tuition will be given as required. All Telemark touring equipment is included, as well as shovels, probes and transceivers.
We recommend a minimum of 3 days if you are trying nordic skiing for the first time, and ideally 5 days is best to give yourself a chance to learn and practise the Telemark turn. Weekends will provide a refreshing break for those with limited time.
Article about Nordic Ski Touring in the Lake Tekapo High Country.
" We got exactly what we wanted and more. Kids loved it. It is a very good parent-child bonding experience. " - F. Badessich, Argentina.
|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)|
- Guide and 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 nordic ski touring equipment
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
↑ Rex Simpson Hut is a cosy base to return to after your adventure.
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 High Country Hike 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!
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 head of Lake Tekapo. 3 hours' hike/ski with a climb of 550m/1805ft brings us to the cosy Rex Simpson Hut, at 1300m/4265ft, in the Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park. The views over Lake Tekapo are expansive. Depending on snow levels usually you will be able to don skis and skins about half-way to the hut, but other times you may need to carry the skis until the last 800m - 1 km before the hut.
Afternoon ski tour and instruction in Telemark skiing.
The hut gives an excellent vantage point for watching the sun set behind the alps and for viewing our Southern Hemisphere stars in our uniquely dark night sky.
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. There are several large basins and valley systems that provide ideal backcountry ski touring terrain for beginner to advanced 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.
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.
Suitable for beginner to advanced skiers. Guides will give Telemark instruction as needed.
For a non-skiing option we would recommend Snowshoe Hikes.
Ideal warm-up 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.
Snake Ridge - Beuzenberg Peak
Access Beuzenberg Peak (2070m) via Snake Ridge. Good terrain for skiers new to backcountry ski 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.
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
Camp Stream - Stag Saddle
Great on a windy day to have the shelter of the valley. Amble beside the gurgling stream up to the bumps and basins at the head of the valley, before climbing up to Stag Saddle, 1925m. Return same way, or traverse up onto Snake Ridge and descend that way. 5 hours return.
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.
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.
We can provide nordic skis, nordic boots, skins, poles, safety equipmentl and any other equipment you might need.
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.