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New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) Avalanche Education Courses

It is possible to spend a life time safely recreating in avalanche terrain but it takes skills and knowledge learnt through time in the hills and taking education courses.

The MSC have developed a range of courses from the entry level Avalanche Awareness course, through the recreational Backcountry Avalanche course to the Professional New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management Stage 1, 2 , and 3. We have endorsed a number of training providers across NZ to deliver our recreational courses, and the Professional level courses are delivered by a number of tertiary providers around New Zealand which are all apart of Avalanche Educators Working Group. This helps to ensure the content and delivery of these courses is consistent, and based on the latest theory and techniques.

Click here to be taken to the endorsed course provider page

Avalanche course descriptions

Avalanche Awareness:

An essential introductory for skiers and snowboarders who need the basic knowledge required to help them make decisions about their personal safety when in avalanche terrain.
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Backcountry Avalanche :

 The Backcountry Course is the next step in the development of observation, route finding and decision making skills that are critical for winter recreation in the mountains. It will give you the knowledge to travel and make sound safety decisions while in avalanche terrain. This is the course to take if you are intending to spend time in alpine terrain beyond the ski area boundary or in the parks and backcountry areas around New Zealand and the world.
The course usually lasts for four days and can be delivered over four consecutive days or over two weekends depending on the provider.
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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.

These courses are delivered on behalf of the MSC by a number of tertiary education providers, over 6-7 days. The course is primarily field based but does have a class-room component and a written exam.
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Diploma in Avalanche Studies

This Diploma develops your knowledge and skills in avalanche safety programmes for ski-fields, guiding or roading operations, or instruct in these areas. 
It incorporates the NZMSC Avalanche Safety Stage 2, which is a prerequisite for many professional leadership and decision-making roles in mountain terrain.
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