Many people wonder why the Remarkables Ski Resort was developed on the north & eastern faces of the mountain range when so much skiable terrain exists on the south and western flanks of the mountain. Our backcountry ski tour accesses the vast Doolans & Wye creek basins, where the snow lasts well into October every year.
This area has been a well kept secret of the Queenstown local backcountry skiers & boarders, and has some serious avalanche terrain - so going with a guide is a smart way to experience this area.book now Skills required
David, Australia, Remarkables Backcountry Ski Tour
Meet your guide at 9am on the morning of the trip at the Base building of the Remarkables Ski Field. You will need to have your equipment sorted, so if you are renting touring skis, boots and skins or snow shoes or split board, then do this the evening before in Queenstown. We can advise you on this, so please get in touch a few days beforehand.
After meeting your guide you will skin or snow shoe up to Lake Alta, and then into the backcountry away from the ski lifts. Heading into Wye Creek or the Doolans for some nice runs, and stopping for lunch in a scenic spot along the way.
You'll usually arrive back in the field around 3.30pm, and finish back at the base building at 4pm where your guide will leave you to make your own way back to Queenstown.
NB : Please note that this itinerary is a sample only and the actual itinerary may vary at the discretion of your guide. Weather, conditions and personal ability and needs may make changes necessary or advantageous to the participants.
Ski or ride the vast backcountry which can be access from the Remarkables Ski Resort with the security of a guide and be back in time to tell tales in the cafe over a beer ... Great any day; legendary on a powder day.
Our guide will meet you at the Remarkables base building and guide you up through the field - no lift tickets! no queues! In no time at all you are climbing up the saddle on the ridgeline and dropping down into the Remarkables backcountry. First tracks on the endless untracked terrain will be your constant reward for effort.
Often described as "hiking with benefits", ski touring is a great way to have a true mountain experience and learn a few new skills from your expert mountain guide along the way.
As a general rule: the more technically advanced / more complex the terrain - the lower the guide to client ratio. All professional mountain guides contracted to Aspiring Guides are qualified professionals and operate under the terrain guidelines issued by the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association.
Our maximum group size for introductory ski/snowboard backcountry tours or courses is typically 1 guide with 6 clients. We write this as 1:6 guide ratio. For ski snowboard touring in glaciated terrain this ratio is 1:4.
Technical Skiing/ Boarding Ability
For any group ski / snowboard backcountry tour or course you need to be an intermediate or advanced level skier or boarder. You are expected to have had experience skiing / riding off-trail ("off-piste") and away from groomed runs at resorts. You don't have to be an expert skier or rider but you do need to competently control your skis or board on a wide variation of terrain from gentle slopes to steep coloirs and exposed ridgelines and in snow conditions that can vary widely from hard icy conditions to deep heavy powder.
Unless you are travelling hut to hut, generally we avoid skiing or riding with a full pack and instead base each day's skiing from one hut / or central location. So while pack weights are light on most days of your tour, your pack maybe up to 15kg on your first and last day and you need to still be able to tour uphill and control your skiing / riding downhill while wearing a full pack.
Experience with touring equipment not essential but recommended
While it is not expected that you have experience utilising the specialised equipment for backcountry touring (ski touring bindings, skins, splitboards etc), some prior experience is an advantage. If you wish to book on a multi-day trip we generally recommend that you take at least one day prior to become familiar with the use your gear (whether you hire or own). Booking a 1 day - Treble Cone Backcountry Day with us is often a great idea!
If you are a private group or booking a 1:1 privately guided trip - your guide can handle any variety of ski level or experience - even if you would rate yourself as a beginner skier!
Fitness for Ski / Snowboard Backcountry Touring
There are no ski lifts in the backcountry! Touring is 80% uphill with the incentive of an untracked exhilarating ride to the bottom for the remaining 20%.
Endurance Fitness is crucial - both mental and physical. You need to be able to keep moving at a steady pace for 6 - 10 hours while carrying and skiing with a load. And you must be able to sustain this effort over multiple days - very few of our backcountry ski / snowboarding trips require only one day of effort!
One of the best ways to get "endurance" is sustained hiking under load. Short intense workouts at the gym are only slightly helpful. Big hikes ie., > 10 hrs on rough terrain with a pack is best. Long days cross country skiing and hiking trips of 4+ days are ideal training. But we understand that this type of training is pretty hard to get as a city dweller. Stair hiking with a 15+ kg and 20+ floors works remarkably well. But nothing beats getting out of the city to national park areas and mountain trails whenever you can.
If you have any questions at all, please contact us - we can send you information about a full training program for ski / snowboard touring in NZ.