Otago Polytechnic

Adventure & Snowsports

Get paid for doing a career you love! Taught by some of the most qualified instructors in New Zealand, our programmes have a strong focus on practical learning, self-evaluation, goal setting and industry experience. Improve your ability to gain employment in a range of guiding/instructing positions, both nationally and internationally – or go on to further study.

Please note: As long as you meet the specific entry requirements for that programme, you can enter all programmes directly, without having to follow a pathway. Successful completion of one programme does not necessarily guarantee you entry to a higher level qualification. Please check all entry requirements carefully on the programme information sheet.


  Certificate in Outdoor Pursuits (Level 4)

Gain the knowledge and skills you need to work in the adventure industry. This one-year programme is Year 1 of the Diploma in Outdoor Leadership & Management.

Career outcomes

Assistant outdoor education instructor: rock, flat water, kayak, sea kayak, or bush
The guiding industry: sea kayaking, glacier, tramping, canyoning, or caving

  Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management (Level 5)

Embark on this action-packed programme to strengthen and develop your skills in the technical, professional, instructional and leadership aspects of a range of outdoor pursuits.

Career outcomes

  • Outdoor Education –school camps & group camps
  • Alpine industry
  • Camp America
  • Sea kayak guide
  • Outdoor Education instructor – rock, flat water kayak, sea kayak, or bush
  • The guiding industry – sea kayaking, glacier, tramping, canyoning, or caving
  • Advanced outdoor facilitation – such as Outward Bound or corporate programmes
  • Environmental education
  • Adventure therapy – working with youth-at-risk


  New Zealand Certificate in Introductory Snowschool Instruction (Applied) (Level 4) (Ski) or (Snowboard)

Practice your skiing and snowboarding skills in the heart of the Southern Alps and gain an entry level professional snowsport teaching qualification, while actually working in a snowschool environment.

Career outcomes

  • Graduates will have the skills and knowledge to work teaching or assisting beginner skiers, telemark skiers or snowboarders within a snowschool environment as an entry level instructor or teaching assistant.
  • Graduates of this qualification can also work in a variety of roles across departments within an alpine resort such as: lift operations; snow-grooming and snowmaking; snowsport equipment and guest activities.


  New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 5)

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

Career outcomes

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.

  Diploma in Avalanche Studies (incorporating the NZMSC Avalanche Safety Stage 2 Certificate)

If you love being in the mountains during the winter and have a strong sense of responsibility, have you considered a career in Avalanche Safety?