NZ Alpine Club title Backcountry Ski-Touring Book



Changes to the way we recreate in the mountains has prompted the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC) to rewrite and fully update their popular title, Backcountry Ski-Touring in New Zealand. The increased popularity in ski-touring over the last few years has driven the need for the title, and it is hoped that the updated information will help more people explore New Zealand’s wonderful backcountry, in a safer, more informed way.

‘People are busier now than they have ever been’, says NZAC General Manager, Karen Leacock. ‘There aren’t many people now who can take a full week off and go on some expedition-style winter trip in the mountains. However, fast and light trips that involve covering greater distances over one or two days are becoming more popular. Ski-touring allows the best of both worlds – the remoteness that you get tramping in winter, combined with the added speed and adventure of zipping down the mountains on skis,’ she said. Equipment is becoming lighter and more accessible with second-hand and entry-level options now more readily available.

The book, authored by respected backcountry explorer Shane Orchard, covers routes and mountains across the North and South Islands. With inspiring photographs, it contains detailed descriptions of over 200 routes. Expanded sections of more remote areas ripe for exploration are designed to pique the interest of those already familiar with popular areas, while the grading system allows even those new to the sport to choose suitable destinations to gain experience and be inspired.

Leacock cautions that while ski-touring is marvellous fun, it does need to be taken seriously and preparation is the key to enjoyment. ‘Having the right gear is one part of it for sure, but knowing how to correctly use that gear is even more important. Every tourer should have an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe and the knowledge of how to avoid avalanche terrain in the first place. This is a different scenario to skiing at the local ski field—where the avalanche risk is controlled for you. Being in control of every element of the trip is one of the things that makes ski-touring such an exciting and rewarding experience.’ The new title includes key safety information to get you started and suggestions for further education if needed.

Backcountry Ski-Touring in New Zealand is available from good booksellers or the NZAC website ( from Thursday and costs $50.