New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 5)

This programme provides the first level of professional training available in this field, enabling participants to work in all sectors of the avalanche industry. Taught by the most experienced provider of avalanche education in New Zealand, you’ll study theory online before solidifying these concepts in a supportive group setting during the on-snow/classroom sessions that are part of your one-week block course.

About the programme

Study professional avalanche risk management with the most experienced provider of avalanche education in New Zealand.

This programme provides the first level of professional training available, enabling you to work in all sectors of the avalanche industry. 

During your own time, you'll initially gain a sound understanding of underpinning theory. You will then move into solidifying these concepts in a supportive group setting during the on-snow/classroom sessions. 

The programme is twelve weeks long. Ten modules will be delivered via online study for ten weeks (20-30 hours per week). This will include weekly, live online study sessions to answer questions and refine concepts. During this ten-week period, you will also be asked to practise on-snow skills. You will then do a one week block course (in either Wānaka or Whakapapa) that includes your practical and assessment. After this, you'll complete one week of reflection, during which you will evaluate your next steps and plan any re-assessment as required. 

Graduates may be employed or work as volunteers under (direct or indirect) supervision, in a range of operations actively assisting in the management of avalanche hazard and risk including: ski areas, heli-ski operations, cat-skiing operations, snow-mobile operations, road contractors, alpine and other outdoor guiding and instruction operations, hunting, trekking, Department of Conservation, alpine search and rescue, and education providers.

Intakes dates and block course details are in the Workload section below.

What will I learn

You will learn how to:

  • identify and communicate potential avalanche hazards by applying knowledge of snowpack, weather, terrain and avalanche phenomena (30 credits)
  • mitigate risk to self by selecting and applying appropriate control methods while operating in avalanche terrain within scope of practice - (5 credits)
  • participate as part of a small party rescue by applying appropriate avalanche search and rescue skills while mitigating risks - (5 credits)

Programme specific risks

You are advised of the programme specific risks posed during the block courses. These include injury or death from avalanche, environmental exposure or ski touring/motor vehicle accident.

Further study options

A great next step is the New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 6) with optional strands in Advanced Avalanche Hazard and Mitigation Planning, Advanced Avalanche Forecasting and Data Management, Advanced Avalanche Search and Rescue Planning, and Avalanche Education.

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.