Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Section Event

Queenstown Avalanche Awareness Course

Friday, August 7 2020 — Sunday, August 9 2020

The Basics
Event type: Training/Courses
Start date: Friday, August 7 2020
End Date: Sunday, August 9 2020
Registration cut-off Monday, August 3 2020 11:00 PM
Trip organizers
Eve O'Brien [Otago]
Cost $269pp. for avalanche course, Approx. $40-50 for petrol costs, Approx. $30-40 x 2 nights accommodation
Participant Information
Who's invited Members and guests
Attendee screening Registration is first come, first served
Maximum number of participants 10
Total number registered 7
Who's registered You must be logged in to view participant list


The main focus of this weekend is attending a professionally run avalanche awareness course with Basecamp Adventures. The course includes a 2 hour theory evening on the Saturday (8th August) and an 8 hour field day based at a local ski field on the Sunday (9th August). We plan to drive to Queenstown on the Friday night (7th August) after work to have a full free day on Saturday in Queenstown area for local adventures (options include hiking, climbing outdoors or indoors (could check out new climbing gym if weather is wet) or visit to local ski-field). 

Accommodation will be at a local backpackers in the Queenstown area. Details TBC as it will depend on group numbers and I will book it after the registration cut-off date but expect to share a bunkroom and pay about $30 - $40 per night. 

IMPORTANT: Please note that you need to book and pay individually for the actual course through the Basecamp Adventures website in order to confirm your place. You are advised to do this as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss out on a spot as this is a public course.

Getting There

Plan is to leave Dunedin by 5:30pm on Friday 7th August to drive to Queenstown (approx 3.5-4 hours arriving at 9:30pm). Returning on Sunday 9th August (course finishes at approx 5pm so expect to be back in Dunedin around 9pm on Sunday). 

What to Expect

The Avalanche Awareness Course is an introductory level course and will teach you the fundamentals of personal safety when travelling in avalanche terrain.  The course is delivered in two parts:

  • Evening Class (2 Hrs). Introductions, course outline, safety and pre-trip planning, avalanche forecasting, and web resources.
  • Practical Day (8 Hrs). Equipment check and safety brief, pre-trip avalanche information, visit ski patrol, transceiver searching, digging and probe techniques, snow profiles, safe travel and route selection.

It is an ideal training course for skiers, transalpine trampers and climbers. A basic level of fitness is required for the day as it will include some walking or snowshoeing to reach training sites but as it is run by professional guides and is aimed at an introductory level no other technical skills are required. You can expect to spend the full training day out in the snow so adequate cold weather clothing and equipment is required.

Possible Hazards


Bring pillow, sleeping bag, towel and personal toiletries for backpackers. 

Specific clothing and gear for your planned Saturday activities (e.g. climbing, skiing or hiking equipment). 

You will receive a formal gear list from Basecamp adventures once you register for the course but expect to need suitable clothing and equipment for day in snow (think waterproof hiking boots, warm layers, waterproof jacket & pants, gloves ect). Basecamp Adventures are able to lend some avalanche transceivers, probes, snow shovels ect. and the Otago section also has some that we can rent for $5 per day. We can also hire out snowshoes as well if those are needed for access to training locations. 

Meals - Friday dinner, bring food or buy it on the drive on Friday night. I imagine most people will want to eat out in Queenstown on the Saturday night but there will also be cooking facilities for those that want to self-cater. Bring breakfast, lunch and snacks for two full days. 


Click the button below to be taken to the sign-up form. If attendees are not screened, then you will be automatically added to the participant list.

For screened events, the trip leader may contact you for further information about your experience and skills.

The start date for this event has passed.