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 first.
  • Stop where you can be seen, move to the outside of a trail.
  • Brakes or leashes must be used to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • 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.

Mountain Checklist


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 weather.
  • Learn to recognise avalanche terrain.

Avalanche Checklist

  • Do you know how to recognise dangerous avalanche terrain?  
  • 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 conditions?  
  • Have you checked the Backcountry Avalanche Advisory at

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 summer too.

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 sunrockice.
  • 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 of communication.