Click the image to view the New Zealand Avalanche Advisory (NZAA) —

Media Release: Caution Required With Backcountry Spring Avalanche Conditions

Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is keen to let backcountry snow-sport users, trampers, and hunters know that the warming spring conditions and frequent active storm cycles bring renewed risk of avalanches in the backcountry.

Mike Daisley, CEO of the MSC said: “If you have neither the equipment nor training to use that equipment you really should be staying inbounds at the moment.”

“There’s plenty of great snow inside the ski fields for people to enjoy. Around the country, they have teams actively managing the hazards. In the backcountry, these risks aren’t managed, so you’ll need to be self-sufficient.”

NZAA forecaster and IFMGA guide Dave McKinley is keen to make sure people are aware of the risks “At this time of year avalanches can, and sometimes do, run all the way to the valley floor and may match or exceed historic path parameters.

“The combination of heavy precipitation events, sometimes snow, sometimes rain, on an existing full snowpack, as well as the overall warming temperatures, can trigger significant wet-loose and wet-slab avalanching.”

“Spring can also often mean firm snow conditions lower down the valleys in the mornings and evenings as the saturated snow freezes. Adding a pair of crampons and ice axe to your tool kit is a good idea,” he said.

Storm activity in the last few weeks has brought big falls to several regions and is adding load to an already significant snowpack. As the weather warms through the next few weeks, the snowpack will change.

Hunters and families traveling up remote valleys for hiking or camping trips also need to be aware of the possibility of spring snow events affecting remote roads and tracks. Making sure you’re aware of the risks is the main advice.

Many remote roads and tracks in New Zealand do have signage to identify historic avalanche zones, a good clue as to where not to picnic or park the vehicle. The deeper into the backcountry you are the greater the need for your own decision making to be carefully considered.

Daisley reiterated that the NZAA —— is the best place to go for forecasts.

“If you’re heading into the backcountry this spring, make sure you check the NZAA before you go. It’s updated daily and the professional forecasters are constantly monitoring the situation.”

“Even if you’re not considering heading above the snowline knowing what’s happening further up the hill is a good idea. It might be as simple as knowing that a certain aspect, say the eastern faces, are prone to avalanches. This could change your intended route up the valley for example,” he concluded.

For more information on the conditions head to before you head out.



For more information or to arrange an interview please contact,

Mike Daisley, CEO | M: +64 27 443 7557

About the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is a national organisation with a mandate from our member organisations to encourage safe participation in land-based outdoor activities.

MSC Websites


· — New Zealand Avalanche Advisory (NZAA)

MSC Social Channels

· Twitter → @nz_msc

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Notes For Journalists

The New Zealand Outdoor Safety Code

1. Plan your trip

2. Tell someone

3. Be aware of the weather

4. Know your limits

5. Take sufficient supplies

More information here >

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