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The Craigieburn Range Haute Route
Day packs! Hot showers! All meals provided! Transport provided! Lift access at start of day! This is our classic trip, with people returning to ski it again. Four days/three nights of Craigieburn classic touring.
2020 Dates (all trips are Sunday until Wednesday in 2020):
HR 1: August 9-12
HR 2: August 16-19
HR 3: August 23-26
HR 4: August 30 - 2 September
HR 5: September 6-9
In association with Chill
Chamonix has the big famous tour with telepheriques, gondolas and lodges. Broken River has a funicular railway designed by an engineer club member! Assisted by a professional ski guide, the tour starts at Craigieburn ski area and travels over the mountain peaks to Mt Olympus. The Craigieburns serve up a great tour between ski areas over four days. You’ll see the entire range and link basins between ski areas - with riding on all aspects.
No need to carry a heavy overnight pack or sleeping bag - each Ski Club has lodge accommodation that includes showers, dinner, bed and breakfast. We will use tows each morning to access the tops. Experience the unique culture of Canterbury’s club fields while touring between them.
The Haute Route is proving to be our signature trip. Numbers are limited. Don’t miss out.
“We’re stoked to be offering the Craigieburn Haute Route, not only will the terrain offer some superb skiing, each of the club fields and mountain lodges are unique. This a great way to get a taste of the atmosphere of club skiing and mountain environment” says Chill’s owner Stu Waddel.
Day 1: Spend a day skiing Craigieburn Valley ski area, getting used to conditions, familiarizing yourself with your equipment and learning to ride the rope tows. Travel across to Broken River, Allan’s Basin links the two ski areas to provide a large backcountry ski playground. Stay at Broken River.
Day 2: Use Broken River lifts to begin the tour to Cheeseman ski field. Depending on conditions it is possible to ski west face corn or southeast facing powder from Mt Wall. Stay at Cheeseman’s high Snowline lodge.
Day 3: Ride Cheeseman lifts back to the ridge and ski classic Tarn Basin, cross Mt Cheese(person) and the grand Ryton basin to Mt Olympus and the Mt Olympus ski area. Stay at the Top Lodge of Mt Olympus and enjoy New Zealand’s highest hot tub.
Day 4: Use lifts to tour to Mt Olympus backcountry. Conditions allowing, we can ski out of the Ryton Basin - a basin that nearly became a ski area in the 1980’s.
This tour can also be reversed and may be preferable in this direction, depending on snow conditions.
4 day: $1895/person
Customized tour also available. Cost is inclusive of: transfers, lift access, guides, accommodation, and all food.
Max size of group is 5.
This trip is for people who have ski toured previously. If you are a strong skier or boarder who has not yet toured we recommend a shakedown tour to learn the ropes. Register your interest now and we will contact you with more details.
Introduction to Ski Touring
This class is a great way to set yourself up for the Haute Route or for a Snow Safety class - or to just try out the sport . They are timed to coincide with earlier season Snow Safety classes.
This one day course is for strong intermediate skiers who are capable of skiing off-piste in most conditions. You should be capable of comfortably hiking up 300-400m in one go (think Rapaki track or the Bridle Path in Christchurch).
A professional ski guide will gently instruct you in the fine art of ski touring. We meet at a local Craigieburn Range ski area for easy access to the backcountry via the lifts. At the base area you’ll be instructed in how to pack your pack, use your snow safety equipment and how to use your touring equipment (boots and bindings). We’ll then head out into the backcountry for 1-3 runs depending on weather, conditions and group desire.
17 July 2020 (Friday)
31 August 2020 (Friday)
14 August 2020 (Friday)
We will send out a comprehensive gear list once you sign up. You will need backcountry touring gear and avalanche safety gear (available for rent at Chill). Please see our FAQ page on where to hire ski touring skis and boots. You may be able to use your own ski boots and you will be able to use your own ski poles. We recommend Gnomes Ski shop in Darfield for a solid rental fleet. We welcome split boarders but snowboarders using snow shoes should contact us first.
$225 per person
Snow Safety Classes
18-19 July 2020
1-2 August 2020
15-16 August 2020
In conjunction with Chill
These two full-day classes are for the recreational backcountry skier/snowboarder looking to expand their avalanche awareness skills and backcountry independence. Skiers and riders should be of an intermediate standard and able to ski off-piste blue runs in a variety of snow conditions. Backcountry equipment (skins, bindings with releasable heels, split boards or snow shoes) are necessary. See the FAQ page for information on where to rent ski touring gear. MSC-endorsed, this class is longer than a standard Avalanche Awareness class - spending two days in the snow and terrain (instead of one day). Our permits and experienced NZMGA ski guides/instructors allow us to travel outside the ski area boundaries as conditions permit. Day one focuses on using avalanche safety equipment, companion rescue, understanding the avalanche bulletin and identifying avalanche terrain. Day two puts it together on a day tour focusing on gathering information about the snow, route finding and safe travel protocols.
This course is an effective refresher for those who feel their avalanche skills are rusty and it's for those who are taking their first ever avalanche class. AKG will send course information ahead of time to help preparation and ensure you are ready for action.
Price: $395 per person
Backcountry Avalanche Class
New for 2020: AKG offers two four-day Backcountry Avalanche classes.
22-25 (Wednesday to Saturday) July 2020
In conjunction with Broken River Ski Club, this four day MSC-endorsed course takes the two-day Snow Safety into more complex terrain. Field based for all four days, day 1 will go over companion rescue in greater detail and will introduce you to multiple transceiver rescue systems as well as refreshing the finer points of snow profiles and pits and snow tests. Snow tests and terrain analysis and route finding will be the focus for the following three days as we head out into more complex terrain as conditions allow. We will endeavor to tour from different ski areas along the range to better enhance the understanding of terrain and route-finding skills. This course is perfect for the person who has done an Awareness class or Two-day Snow Safety class, has toured some and is now looking to expand their knowledge without getting into the operations detail of the Avalanche 1 certificate. It is strongly aimed at the recreational backcountry tourer.
6-9 September (Sunday to Wednesday) based at Cheeseman's Snowline lodge. Inquire for details.
Private Backcountry Skiing
Customize a private day or several days with up to 5 people. An additional day of touring will introduce you to the great sport of ski/snowboard touring or expand on previous avalanche training. If you are interested in the Haute Route but have not toured before, we suggest you take a shakedown day out with a guide. Your guide will find you the best skiing in the range. Ski touring between ski areas is definitely an option! AKG offers private multi-day tours.
In big seasons, it may be possible to ski right to the valley.
Ski Mountaineering & Mountaineering
Arthur's Pass National Park contains Temple Basin ski area (a club field). Although it’s not quite NZ’s oldest ski area, Temple does maintain a rusticity not seen at many other places. From the summit of Arthur's Pass, a steep bush track leads to the lodges and three ski lifts. Fortunately the goods lift carries skis and equipment for you as you hike the trail 1.5-2 hours to the base area. Temple Basin bridges the frontcountry/backcountry paradigm with elegance. Short hikes take you to riding paradise and the many chutes and steeps of Bill’s Basin.
Across the highway from Temple is spectacular Mt Rolleston and it’s lower neighbor, Mt Philistine. Both offer superb ski mountaineering. Many Canterbury ski mountaineers have cut their teeth on the “Otira Slide” on the northwest side of both mountains. Most years it’s possible to skin from within 45 minutes of the highway. Skiing from the summit is an option on both peaks as is leaving the skis to ‘tag’ the summit followed by an easier run lower on the mountain.
While Mt Philistine and Rolleston are high peaks within easy access of the highway, smaller peaks - Avalanche Peak or Mt Bealey - offer good skiing when conditions permit. Behind Philistine and Rolleston, the Waimakariri col and Mt Armstrong are in reach from the Upper Waimak Falls hut. A guide can be hired for the ascent in classic guided style or you can hire an instructor to show you the ’ropes’ in ski mountaineering.