5-Day trip Price: $3000 pp for 1:2, $4500 for 1:1 Season: Aug – Dec Riding level: Strong Intermediate to Expert Fitness level: moderate to very high Guiding: 1:2 or 1:1
3-Day trip Price pp: $900 (1:4), $1100 (1:3), $1600 (1:2), $3000 (1:1) Season: Aug – Dec Riding level: Strong Intermediate to Advanced Fitness level: moderate and above Guiding: up to 1:4
The ski mountaineering concept is simple
The ski / snowboard mountaineering concept is simple: climb up and ski or snowboard down. On what mountain lines is this possible? This is only limited by your skills, the conditions at the time and amount of risk you’re willing to take. After all, K2 has recently been skied! It takes judgement, climbing, avalanche and route assessment skills to ski the ideal line. Many strong riders lack the skills to make skiing the lines they want a reality or they’re taking bigger risks than they are aware of when they do them. The top riders, along with their strong riding skills, also have judgement, climbing, avalanche and route assessment skills. You need all of these to ride the best possible lines with enough safety margin to keep doing it year after year.
So what are these skills exactly?
There are many pieces to the puzzle. We need to be able to:
- assess what clothing and equipment to take, where to save weight and what lightweight equipment won’t do the job
- know whether to rope up to travel across glaciers, belay over crevasses
- skin up, transition to boot pack or front point on crampons up steep icy slopes
- transition safely in steep terrain, from climbing to descending.
As well as all that, we must:
- get the timing correct so the snow is in the right condition for our style of descent: not too icy or too hot and avalanche prone
- manage sluffing and pick islands of safety between exposed sections
- know what to do when things go wrong.
Avalanche management is also a huge part, so we also run specific courses in this if you want to upskill in this area (see Avalanche Safety Course).
A guide can help your ski mountaineering
Getting all this right is key to pick the perfect lines for the avalanche, glacier and snow conditions. An extensive local knowledge of terrain and NZ’s weather will allow us to be in the right place at the right time. My experience ski mountaineering in NZ, Canada and on 4000m summits in the European Alps gives me a valuable insight of the different challenges and styles that are needed to put the pieces of the puzzle together and accurately judge the level of risk.