We are committed to not just being the ‘ambulance at the bottom
of the cliff’ and through educating school children, Polytech
and community groups we believe we have the ideal vehicle to
educate people about the hazards of the back country. The areas
we cover include, basic avalanche awareness, the Snow
Responsibility Code, responsible dog ownership and how to meet,
greet and read dog body language….if education is power,
Aspiring Avalanche Dogs have the potential to be very powerful!
The Snow Responsibility Code
- Give way to others.
- Stay in control at all times. Know your ability, be
able to stop and avoid other people.
- People below you have the right of way.
- Always use a spotter when jumping. Do not jump onto
trails and always ensure the area is clear of others
- Stop where you can be seen, move to the outside of a
- Brakes or leashes must be used to help prevent
- If you are involved in, or witness an accident,
remain at the scene and identify yourself to ski patrol.
- Obey all ski area signage. Keep off closed trails
and out of closed areas.
- Respect the safety and enjoyment of others.
The Southern Alps of New Zealand is one of the most inhospitable
mountain environments in the world, sandwiched between
Antarctica and Australia our weather can be extreme, harsh and
changeable. These factors also make for a varied and hazardous
snowpack, increasing the risk of avalanche. So before you get
amongst it check out the following information provided by the
Mountain Safety Council and as a good starting point attend an
avalanche awareness course as well as gathering information from
books, videos and websites.
- Plan your trip route, check weather
and snow conditions on
- Anticipate your actions. What you
want to do often overrides your better judgement.
- Check your surroundings for recent
avalanche activity, changes in terrain, snowpack and
- Learn to recognise avalanche
The Avalanche crew of Mountain Safety Council also run the
website. This is a great website for getting the most recent
information on avalanche risk levels of all mountains around the
country. If you’re heading into the backcountry in alpine
conditions, check here first. And remember, avalanches happen in
- Do you know how to recognise dangerous avalanche
- Do you know how to use rescue equipment?
- Have you considered carrying a transceiver, a probe
and a shovel?
- Do you know what weather sequences lead to avalanche
- Have you checked the Backcountry Avalanche Advisory
The Outdoor Safety Code
Aspiring Avalanche Dogs and The New Zealand Mountain Safety
Council encourage the use of The Outdoor Safety Code across all
outdoor activities, sports and recreations.
- Plan your trip: Seek local
knowledge, plan the route you will take and the amount
of time you can reasonably expect it to take.
- Tell Someone: Tell someone your
plans and leave a date for when to raise the alarm if
you haven't returned. Ski Patrols are more than happy
to hold your details including your cars license plate.
- Be aware of the weather: New
Zealand's weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the
forecast and expect weather changes. See our link to
- Know your limits: Challenge
yourself within your physical limits and experience.
- Take sufficient supplies: Make sure
you have enough food, equipment and emergency rations
for the worst-case scenario. Take and appropriate means