New Zealand Mountan Safety Council Avalanche Center
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New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management Stage 1

This is an introductory professional course for people involved in the safety of alpine recreational activities and in the collection of snowpack data.

It is the prerequisite for the Stage 2 course and the Diploma and a requirement for employment in many related areas including Ski Patrol, Guiding and Instruction.

Graduates may be employed or work as volunteers under supervision (as prescribed above), in a range of operations actively assisting in the management of avalanche hazard and risk including: ski areas, heliski operations, cat skiing operations, snow-mobile operations, road contractors, alpine and other outdoor guiding and instruction operations, hunting, trekking, Department of Conservation, alpine search and rescue and education providers.

At the successful completion of the course, participants should have the basic skills to:

  • Recognise avalanche terrain and identify safe route selection
  • Understand the formation and classification of avalanches
  • Identify and record current weather conditions
  • Identify and interpret snow crystals and structures
  • Carry out snowpack analysis and record snow profiles
  • Contribute to an avalanche search and rescue operation
  • Improve personal safety awareness

These courses are delivered by a number of tertiary education providers. These are mostly held over 6-7 days, but may also be embedded into a longer semester format. The course is primarily field based but does have a class-room component and a written exam.

For more information see the links below:

arrowOtago Polytechnic (Short and Semester courses)

arrowMountain Education Centre (Certificate in Ski Patrol - Tai Poutini Polytechnic) (Semester course)

arrowWhitireia Polytechnic (short course)

Mountain Safety Council
Avalanche Forecast Regions:
Mountain Safety Council managed websites
Mountainf Safety Council websiteAdventure Smart websiteNew Zealand Avalanche CenterNational Incedent Database website