Frequently Asked Questions
Christchurch International Airport. Then it’s an easy drive west. If you need to get groceries, there’s a New World supermarket 5 minutes toward town on Memorial avenue. There is also a Countdown supermarket 2 minutes from the airport.
AKG tours launch from Craigieburn Range and Arthur’s Pass ski areas: Porters, Mt Olympus, Mt Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigieburn Valley and Temple Basin (in Arthurs Pass). The closest, Porters is 100km from Christchurch airport. The furthest, Temple Basin, is 150km from Christchurch.
Rental cars from Christchurch airport. 4WD highly recommended as the NZ ski area roads are rough.
Atomic Shuttles and West Coast shuttles link through State highway 73 below the Craigieburn range.
Black Diamond Safaris offer 4WD transport from Methven to the Club ski areas. AKG will use these great people quite often.
More information is available on the Black Diamond Safaris Website.
- Springfield village is approximately 30km from the ski areas on SH73 and offers motels and hostel-style accommodation.
More information is available on the Springfield Village Website.
- Springfield Motel & Lodge. More information is available on the Springfield Motel Website.
- Castle Village has houses for rent. More information is available on the Castle Village Website.
- Flock Hill Station 15km northwest of Castle Hill offers motel style accommodation. More information is available on the Flock Hill Station Website.
- Arthur’s Pass National Park (village): More information is available on the Arthur’s Pass Website.
- Camping. More information is available on the DOC Website.
Note that there will be no accommodation at Cheeseperson’s Snowline lodge in 2020 but Forest lodge is open. CVSC accommodation is not available in 2020. Broken River lodges will open. Other ski area accommodation TBD.
- Porters Alpine Lodge. More information is available on the Porters Website.
- Cheeseman ski field. More information is available on the Cheeseman Website.
- Broken River. More information is available on the Broken River Website.
- Mt Olympus. More information is available on the Mt Olympus Website.
- Craigieburn Valley. More information is available on the Craigieburn Website.
AKG will send a comprehensive gear list. Backcountry ski bindings can either be telemark or an alpine binding with a releasable heel. Each tourer will carry a pack containing avalanche rescue equipment: Avalanche beacon (worn on the body), snow shovel and avalanche probe. Guides and instructors will provide training in the use of these.
You will need a pack of around 30-40 litres for a day tour.
See the video at the bottom of the page for more info on the gear needed and what to wear on the Craigieburn Haute route and our multi day trips
Yes! A split snowboard with skins – or snow shoes with snowboard carried on the pack are an option. If you are snowboarding, please contact AKG directly for further information as you may need additional equipment for certain conditions. All snowboarders should carry ski poles in the backcountry.
Gnomes Ski Shop in Darfield (60km from Christchurch airport on the Main West Coast road) are our closest (and favorite) source of rental equipment. They will rent out backcountry ski boots, skis with releasable heel bindings, skins and safety equipment (transceiver/shovel/probe). AKG recommends bringing ski-specific ski crampons if possible. If you are renting gear, we do recommend trying it out first – at the very least ensuring that you know how to work the bindings and that they fit your boots.
If your boots are comfortable, then they should work for day touring. Touring boots are softer with a dedicated “walk” mode for climbing and are available for rent at Gnomes (above).
There is no difference. We use the terms interchangeably!
Ski mountaineering however, refers to carrying skis on the back, and using ice axes and crampons to access ski terrain.
It depends on the terrain.
You need to be a capable off-piste skier who can safely descend black diamond runs or off-piste blue runs and can side-slip or traverse through tough snow conditions. Having a solid kick-turn adds to the repertoire of how to deal with tricky snow. You should practice skiing in bounds with a pack before coming on a ski tour. Check with AKG for further questions. We can send you information to help you decide if ski touring is for you.
You will be earning your turns so you need to be able to climb 300+ metres (1000+ feet). The more you can climb, the more you can ski! A good base level of fitness from running, hill walking, cycling and other aerobic activity will set you up for best success. AKG can help with advice and suggest a training program to make the most of your experience.
1:6 maximum for private ski touring and avalanche classes
1:2 for ski mountaineering
The NZ ski season usually begins in late June or early July and runs through October. Ski mountaineering is possible through November. August and September are the most popular months for skiing.