New Zealand Mountan Safety Council Avalanche Center
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Avalanche Safety 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. 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 on behalf of the MSC 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