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.

Haute Route trips are full for 2021 but get in touch to line up some private touring with Anna or one of her guide team. Craigieburn range Mini Mission 3 days/2 nights also available. 

2021 Dates (all trips are Sunday until Wednesday)

HR 1:  August 5-8 (FULL)
HR 2:  August 12-15 (FULL)
HR 3:  August 19-22 (FULL)
HR 4:  August 26-29 (FULL)

In association with Chill

Our signature trip: Chamonix has the famous tour with telepheriques, gondolas and lodges.  Broken River has a funicular railway designed by an engineer club member. Tour with a professional ski guide from north to south or south to north. You’ll see the entire range and link basins between ski areas - with riding on all aspects. 

No heavy overnight packs or sleeping bag needed -  each Ski Club has lodge accommodation that includes showers, dinner, bed and breakfast.  We will use tows each morning to access the tops.

“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” - Chill 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 and other fabulous bowls depending on conditions. Stay Snowline. Day 4: Use lifts then tour over the actual Mt Cheeseman then down the Ryton to the Mt Olympus road.

This tour may travel the other way depending on snow conditions. Start at Mt O, finish at Craigieburn.

Price: 4 days:  $1995/person

Customized tour also available. Cost is inclusive of: transfers, lift access, guides, accommodation, and all food.

Max size of group is 4.  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 (eg our Introduction to Touring day). Register your interest now and we will contact you with more details.

Got a question? Check out the FAQ page or you can email the Chill team at or phone 03 365 6530.

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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 early 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. 

You'll learn:

  • To pack your pack
  • How to use your snow safety equipment
  • How to use your touring equipment (boots and bindings).
  • We’ll then head out into the back country for 1-3 runs depending on weather, conditions and group desire.

30 July 2021 (Friday) FULL

6 August 2021  (Friday) FULL

Gear: Upon deposit payment, you'll be sent comprehensive gear list.  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.

Timing: 8.30am-4.30pm

Cost: $225 per person

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Snow Safety Classes:  2021

17-18 July 2021 FULL
31 July - 1 August 2021 (Intro to Touring can be added for July 30 if you'd like to try your gear before the avalanche class) FULL
7-8 August 2021 (Intro to Touring can be added on July 6) FULL

In conjunction with Chill

These two full field-day classes are for the recreational backcountry skier/snowboarder looking to expand their avalanche awareness skills and backcountry independence. 

What you need to know:

  • 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. 
  • You must be able to walk 400m+ uphill and stay out for 6 hours
  • MSC-endorsed, this class is longer than a standard Avalanche Awareness class - spending two days in the snow and terrain (instead of one day). 
  • Experienced NZMGA ski guides/instructors will take you 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.

Private Snow Safety classes can be arranged for groups of friends.  Email Anna at for info.

Price: $420 per person

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Backcountry Avalanche Classes

Open for 2021:

1. Broken River:  28-31 July 2021 (Wednesday to Saturday) - with Broken River (includes a 5th day for off-piste skiing/learn to ride rope tows):

2. Cheeseperson: 2-5 September 2021 - with Chill: $1500 all inclusive

These four day MSC-endorsed course takes the two-day Snow Safety into more complex terrain. 

What you need to know:

  • 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. 
  • You will get ample time to study the snow to better know what is under your feet
  • 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.

New for 2021:  A second Backcountry Avalanche Class at Cheeseperson's Snowline Lodge.  Ski in, ski out!


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.


Alpine Classic: Skills based learning over 5 weeks

A 5 week coaching course for solid intermediate or above skiers/riders looking to get into touring and ski mountaineering. This course is for those who can’t take a longer course or who want a solid foundation at the start of the season that will enable them to get going independently through the rest of the season.  The course will include all of the 4-day Backcountry Avalanche Course (BAC), is endorsed by the MSC and includes a certified companion rescue component.  

Consists of 1 day a week in the field
Plus 60 minutes/week on an online call with specific skills training in preparation for the weekend field session.

Field:  5 Sundays: July 11, 18, 25, August  1, August 8 FULL
Online meeting: 5 Thursday nights 8-9pm starting July 15

Online calls include:
Equipment: What do you need to have in your pack and on your feet
Packing (includes carrying skis/boards on packs)
Planning and preparation - weather, avalanche forecasts, where to get information, back up plans
Navigation:  Apps, tricks and tools
Technical gear and skills: crevasse rescue kits, ice screws, snow stakes

Field days include:
Avalanche terrain evaluation and route-finding in avalanche terrain
Companion rescue
Snowpack evaluation and tests
Decision making
Ski and split board tours to objectives in the Craigieburn and Arthurs Pass
Snow anchors, crevasse rescue
Abseiling, technical climbing skills

Field - general tours 1:6

Full course - 5 zooms plus 5 field days = $1350

What if the weather is bad?
We will always go somewhere as the instructors have tricks for training regardless of the weather.  Some skills may be covered ahead of time - eg crevasse rescue covered early on in course on a ‘lesser weather’ day.  

Why so early in the season?  The snow might not be very good.
Get the learning done in the marginal conditions, learn lots and get going when it gets good.  You’re frothing anyway, may as well learn stuff.

Do I need my own gear?
Chill can rent avalanche safety tool packages and we recommend Gnomes ski shop in Darfield for all BC rental gear.  You’ll need your own pack (30L minimum) with ski/board attachments, 2 pairs of gloves, goggles, sunglasses (both), food and water, ski jackets, dress in layers, no cotton, helmet, warm hat and sunhat, buff, personal blister kit, notebook/pen.

How well do I need to ski or ride?
Solid intermediate.  You may not be pretty but you can get down anything without falling.  The better you ride, the more fun and less overwhelm.  Having a good side-slip and downhill kick turn gives you even more bandwidth.

How fit do I need to be?
You need to be able to steadily climb 300-600m in one go.  You need to be able to ski 200 vertical metres in one go  (without stopping), in most conditions.  Expect to be out in the weather for 8 hours.

MSC endorsed:  What’s that about?
The NZ Mountain Safety Council endorses AKG avalanche classes and offers resources such as workbooks and certificates.  It’s a mark of best practice.


Craigieburn Mini Mission

3 days/2 nights based at a club lodge (Snowline/Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigieburn or Temple Basin).

Price (all inclusive meals, transport and accommodation): $1545

Dates: 6-8 September, 10-12 September AVAILABLE

Lowdown: Adventure = Unknown outcome.  This lodge-based series of day trips will base from any of the Craigieburn Range ski areas or Temple Basin - depending on group ability, desire and best conditions.  Three days touring with a professional ski guide and two nights accommodation at the same lodge. No overnight packs required. Enjoy aprés activities with hot showers in comfortable lodges (eg. Temple Basin, Craigieburn Valley, Broken River, Snowline at Mt Cheeseperson and Porters Alpine lodge).

The Craigieburn range snow conditions vary so a strong intermediate skier or better ability is required. Expect to climb and ski 600-1200m per day.  Contact us to ensure you are in condition for this excellent ski or snowboard tour adventure.  We can also suggest a build up plan.

Equipment is not included but inquire for information on hire options.
Ratios:  4 participants to 1 guide.