New qualifications for the alpine and avalanche industry

New snow qualifications hit the slopes

New snow qualifications hit the slopes

New qualifications for the alpine and avalanche industry hit the production line today, ready to deliver an agile, on-job learning experience for mountain professionals this winter.

At the Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference in Christchurch today, Skills Active, the industry training organisation for outdoor recreation and snowsport, officially launched the new NZ Certificate in Outdoor Leadership with Alpine strand (Levels 5 and 6), and the NZ Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Levels 5 and 6).

The Alpine qualifications cover a range of skills including managing, instructing and leading mountaineering trips, managing dynamic risks, and working in multi-hazard environments. The Level 6 programme also equips graduates to educate alpine instructors, and instruct/guide in more technical alpine terrain.

The Avalanche qualifications cover avalanche search and rescue skills, risk mitigation, and identifying avalanche hazards through knowledge of snowpack, weather, terrain and avalanche phenomena.

A limited credit programme, Avalanche Risk Management (Level 5) Backcountry, is also available. For learners developing alpine skills, this short award delivers an understanding of avalanche mechanisms and strategies to avoid avalanche-prone terrain. It offers ski fields, and other organisations working in snow environments, the ability to train staff in safe work and recreational practices in backcountry areas.

“The new qualifications could not have been developed without the significant input and deep expertise of our key industry partners, including the Mountain Safety Council (MSC), NZ Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA), and NZ Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA),” says Skills Active CEO Grant Davidson.

Davidson notes that graduates of the NZOIA Alpine 1 qualification will earn equivalency with the NZ Certificate in Alpine Level 5, and NZOIA Alpine 2 graduates will have equivalency with the NZ Certificate in Alpine Level 6.

NZOIA chair Gill Wratt says it is pleasing to see the NZ Certificate qualification closely aligned with the existing NZOIA awards that have been developed by outdoor instructors working in the sector over a period of more than 30 years. The suite of qualifications now available offers a high standard of professionalism, as well as the opportunity for trainees to now earn a New Zealand Certificate.

MSC chief executive Mike Daisley says the inclusion of the Alpine qualification in the Skills Active framework is a positive step for the sector.

“We were pleased to be part of the discussion with Skills Active about this qualification. We added our insights and overall perspective to alpine safety, which is especially pertinent for the Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference today.

“It’s great to see this come to fruition and I’m sure the qualification will be well received by the community,” Daisley says.

Along with NZOIA and MSC, the Alpine qualifications also have the endorsement of NZMGA, and offer a ‘feeder pathway’ to those wanting to train towards the high guiding qualifications offered by NZMGA, Davidson says.

“All of the new qualifications have evolved through in-depth collaboration, meaning they have strong buy-in from the industry, and offer relevant, work-ready upskilling,” he says. “We are excited to be able to introduce these essential qualifications in time for the industry’s key event of 2017.”

A new home for avalanche credentials

Davidson adds that Skills Active is also using the conference to share information about NZRRP, its free online professional register for the sport and recreation industry, including avalanche practitioners and instructors.

“With NZRRP, avalanche staff can ensure their skills are current, and promote their credentials to the public. The public can use this tool and be assured they are placing themselves in the hands of highly-qualified mountain professionals.”

Cardrona’s new Chondola is go

Cardrona Alpine Resort has opened with a bang for Winter 2017, with more than 1000 skiers, snowboarders and sightseers riding the new McDougall’s Chondola for the very first time. The McDougall’s Chondola is New Zealand’s first cabin-style lift on a ski area, with a combination of six-seater chairs and 8-seater gondola cabins on the same lift.

The official Chondola Opening Ceremony began at 8.45am, with a karakia from Kaumatua Bubba Thompson, followed by a haka by the Mount Aspiring College kapa haka group. QLDC Mayor Jim Boult and X Games gold medallist Jossi Wells opened the cabins & chairs respectively in a ribbon cutting ceremony, and early guests were greeted with a glass of Mumm champagne.

The first chondola cabin ride was donated to the Tawaki Project, a scientific research project to learn more about the Tawaki (Fiordland Crested) Penguin – the third rarest penguin in the world. Scientist Thomas Mattern and his family joined Cardrona mascot Pengi, Real Journeys CEO Richard Lauder, and Jim Boult in the first cabin.

First chair rights were won by a group of local Wanaka youngsters, including Cardrona Grom Team members Finley Melville-Ives, Campbell Melville-Ives and Rocco Jamieson. The five keen skiers and snowboarders, who queued from 5.30am this morning, joined Jossi Wells for the first ride up the chair.

“We’re so excited to get going for Winter 2017, and especially to welcome the new McDougall’s Chondola to our mountain,” says Cardrona General Manager Bridget Legnavsky.

“Seeing so many people so stoked to ride the new lift – it’s already worth its weight in gold.”


The resort opened with mostly man-made snow, with two runs down McDougall’s, the Learner Conveyors and five terrain park features in the Beginners’ Area. There is more snow in the forecast this week, which should see the rest of the mountain open progressively.

The 2017 Cardrona season is packed with events like the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ and the Jossi Wells Invitational.

“The Chondola and the Vista Bar at the top are going to be great spots to watch all the action this winter – come up, grab a drink and check out the best in the world up at Cardrona this winter,” says Legnavsky.

Hokkaido Calling

“Is it possible to stand where no one has before?.”
In search for the less obvious, Sam Smoothy Jeremie Heitz and Dane Tudor set out to explore Hokkaido, an island with over 15 metres of annual snowfall. And in looking for something different, they found something else.

We are excited to release our latest collaboration with Audi Canada.
More info can be found here:

Sam Smoothy – The (North) Korean Chronicle



Check out this bizarre insight into a country that few will get to experience from the eyes and mind of Sam Smoothy and Colab Creative.

Sam goes to North Korea on a ski trip like no other. This piece is not political. There is no real agenda other than to see what goes on in a country who is recently learning about the sport of skiing.




NZJFT 2016 – Mt Olympus Edit


The second stop of the GoPro New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour went down at Mt Olympus. The sun was out and snow was hard and fast! Again another great event with no injuries and smart skiing from the all of the kids! Wanna say a massive thanks to GoPro for stepping up as title sponsors and helping us show these kids amazing talents to the world. Also a huge thank you to our supporting sponsors Smith, Volkl, K2 Snowboards, Groovstar, Snowsports NZ and the Freeride Junior Tour. Big thank you to all the kids for putting on a such a great show in the challenging conditions and to their parents for making the trip to Mt Olympus and all their help on comp day. Last but not least a big shout out to Mt Olympus for doing such an amazing job hosting this event and sending out the great vibes that only Mt Olympus and their incredible crew could provide.

Mt Olympus Freeride Open


The Mt Olympus Freeride Open 2016 presented by Marmot rocked the Sphinx at Mt Olympus just one week after The North Face Frontier opened the NZ FWQ season at the Remarkables. This was the inaugural year of the 2* MOFO FWQ event, which was put together by Dion Newport and his crew of merry warriors from the New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour. They were blessed with 46 riders from 14 different nations. The snow pack was working against them and subsequently a nice mellow venue was chosen. Everyone rode intelligently with no injuries and the fun factor was set very high to make this an annual event on FWQ calendar. Special thanks to Marmot for making the event happen and all of the supporting sponsors: Sherpa Coffee for keeping us wired, Moa for the delicious refreshments, Snowsports NZ and FWQ for their support, and of course Mt Olympus and the amazing crew of staff for all the good times and good vibes.

Full Results:





Supervention II – Trailer

Field Productions presents Supervention 2 in association with Audi AG, Head, Norwegian Film Institute and SF Studios.

Supervention 2 is an inspiring documentary that explores the world of action sports through skiing and snowboarding. Experience the willpower and motivation it takes to conquer risk, fear and injuries. From the young and ambitious to the legends of back then, meet the athletes at the top of their sport who choose to risk everything. Supervention 2 takes you through all walks of life to experience what it’s like to leave behind normality of work and family life for the thrill of a lifetime. Filmed in unique locations with high-end 4K cinematography and Dolby Atmos sound design, Supervention 2 is a feel-good adventure about those who live outside the box.

In Norwegian cinemas from October 28th. International dates to be released.

Featuring: Aksel Lund Svindal, Jesper Tjäder, Terje Håkonsen, Marcus Kleveland, Anders Backe, Fredrik Evensen, Eirik Finseth, Asbjørn Eggebø Næss, Anja Alme Gardli, Åsmund Thorsen, Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen, PK Hunder, Linn Cecilie Mæhlum, Aleksander Aurdal, Ståle Sandbech, Karl Kristian Muggerud, Even Sigstad, Tor Olav Naalsund, Øystein Bråten, Aleksander Østreng

Sweet Protection, VG, Norrøna, Infinitum, Peak Performance, GoPro, Bergans, Dynafit, Fri Flyt, Haglöfs

The North Face Frontier – 2 Star Edit

The 2016 The North Face Frontier Freeride World Qualifier 2* competition saw a heavy hitting field of 80 skiers and snowboarders battle for top scores at Queenstown’s The Remarkables Ski field in New Zealand. The riding was next level as competitors made the most of the stunning natural terrain of the Shadow Basin to attempt their most daring tricks and technical lines.

The North Face Frontier 2016 Teaser

The host venue for this year’s event will be Queenstown’s The Remarkables ski area, home to some of the best big mountain terrain in the Southern Hemisphere.

Day one will see some of the top rookies and pros from around the world compete in a two-star Freeride World Qualifier, held in the Shadow Basin. Day two will be the main four-star Qualifier event held in the Alta Chutes, as competitors push themselves to the limit to impress the judges.

The Mystery of the Mingha

Blake getting the season started.

Blake getting the season started.

I don’t need to spell out a skier’s perspective of this winter. May brought some good pow days that whetted the appetite. June was mostly rain, but that’s ok, it’s sort of expected. However when July didn’t get any better we all started to get worried.


And with such a grim start to the winter, Blake Lepper and I weren’t expecting much when we set out for the mountains in the middle of July.

Words and Photos: Tom Beaumont


The walk up to Temple basin gets the legs going and has great views to the peaks around Arthurs Pass.

The walk up to Temple basin gets the legs going and has great views to the peaks around Arthurs Pass.

Driving west past the Craigieburns, Blake recounted a sporting rain crust that had attempted to destroy everyone’s knees the day before. So we carried on to Arthurs Pass in search of greener pastures.

Pulling into the Temple Basin car park, things were looking slightly more optimistic. The surrounding peaks were coated up high and the sky was blue. Although the walk up to Temple was punctuated with line scoping on a very skiable Mt Rolleston, the ski field itself was better suited to a tussock­ enthusiasts field trip. So it was with much surprise that we reached Temple Col and looked into a loaded Mingha Valley. Stability was good as a result of being under the facet layer that sat above 1800m, we were above the rain­crusts of doom that existed below 1600m, and the sou’wester had put down some great wind deposit the night before. Although Blake and I claimed we had anticipated these conditions, the Mingha had exceeded expectations in an almost mythical way.


Round 1 - Blake and Tom win.

Round 1 – Blake and Tom win.

Looking down the Mingha towards Mt Oats and the Mingha­ Deception route.

Looking down the Mingha towards Mt Oats and the Mingha­ Deception route.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. With probably 20­-30cm of light, wind-deposited pow on top of a grippy base, the skiing was sublime. There had been some real stability issues around the region ­ so we took our time and did plenty of snow and slope tests before getting into it.


Little Phipps in the foreground. At Temple Basin you can ski full on ski mountaineering lines like these before breakfast.

Little Phipps in the foreground. At Temple Basin you can ski full on ski mountaineering lines like these before breakfast.

With storm clouds brewing just to the west of the divide we squeezed in a last lap before calling it quits and heading back the way we came; Downhill Basin to Temple Tow and out to the lodge. To top off an epic day, the snow on the route home had been baked into perfect corn, making for fun tussock dodging turns until the snow ran out.

See you out there and make safe decisions ­ there’s always another day.



MSP RUIN AND ROSE Official Trailer

A surreal future leaves the world without water and consumed by sand: the Big Empty. A group of children survives alone on the edge of the endless desert in the ruin of the now. When a young boy unearths an ancient relic hinting at the lost wonders of winter, he sets off in search of the ghosts that once called the mountains their home. This bold cinematic experience balances stunning skiing with a wild and hopeful journey into the forgotten lands of myth and magic beyond the Empty.

Acclaimed writer/director Ben Sturgulewski joins the award-winning team at Matchstick Productions and their two decades of filmmaking expertise to deliver “RUIN AND ROSE,” an epic creative vision brought to life by the talents of the world’s top skiers. Winter landscapes across the planet contrast seamlessly with a thoroughly-crafted story of environmental apocalypse, shot entirely within the otherworldly expanses of Africa’s Skeleton Coast. Unlike anything seen before, the dreamlike setting of this film sparks the imagination of not only action sports enthusiasts, but anyone with a beating heart.

Presented by Under Armour in spectacular 4K resolution, “RUIN AND ROSE” features veterans and newcomers alike, including Mark Abma, Sammy Carlson, Markus Eder, Zack Giffin, Sander Hadley, Russ Henshaw, Eric Hjorleifson, Lukas Joas, Sean Jordan, Bene Mayr, Evan McEachran, Michelle Parker, Ole Pavel, Tanner Rainville, Austin Ross, Fabio Studer, Cody Townsend, Noah Wallace, and others. “RUIN AND ROSE” was filmed on location in Alaska, Austria, British Columbia, Bulgaria, California, France, Switzerland, and the deserts of Namibia.


More info at

NZJFT 2016 – Trailer

We are delighted to announce the schedule for The GoPro New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour.

The GoPro NZJFT will comprise of 3 events for both male and female Ski and Snowboarders up to the age of 18. Each event will be a one day competition. This tour has been set up to provide NZ junior athletes with the opportunity to compete in professionally run freeride competitions. The focus is on fun, participation, and safety while skiing off-piste, along with promoting the incredible sport of freeriding.


Stop 1 – The Remarkables, Southern Alps, Queesntown.
19th – 21st August (one day of competition, two weather days)

Stop 2 -. Mt Olympus, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury
2nd – 4th September (one day of competition, two weather days)

Stop 3 – Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, North Island.
23rd – 26th September (one day of competition, three weather days)

Ski and snowboard
Male and Female

14 years and under (on 1st June 2016)
15 – 17 years (on 1st June 2016)

Tight Loose – Official Trailer

Come join us to celebrate TGR’s 21st Birthday. The tighter your show the looser you can be. With over 21 years of traveling the globe and pushing the boundaries of what is possible we have experienced the full spectrum of adventure. It has been a constant evolution of refining a lifestyle – keeping things as buttoned-up on the front end in order to seize the moment when things reach the edge of control. Our latest film “Tight Loose” is TGR’s highest achievement to date. From India to Alaska, come join us as we discover unridden spine walls, massive airs, and full throttle riding in some of the wildest and most spectacular places on earth. Witness the 21-year athlete roster as they come together for a reunion-style massive group shred of the Palisades at Squaw Valley. Tight Loose is living to the fullest!

The Monster Energy Jossi Wells Invitational Big Air


Winter X Games gold medallist Jossi Wells is holding an invitational Big Air event for the world’s best skiers & snowboarders at Cardrona Alpine Resort this August. Kiwi skiers and snowboarders will go head to head against a stacked field of international heavy hitters, with finals scheduled for Saturday, August 13th.

The event will run over two days, with qualifiers and finals for both men’s and women’s ski and snowboard events. It will take place on Cardrona’s huge 75+ft Big Air jump, which will be specially built for the competition.

The event celebrates a relationship between Jossi Wells and Cardrona that spans more than 20 years, as well as Jossi’s recent success in winning Ski Slopestyle gold at the most recent Winter X Games at Aspen, Colorado.

“I’m really honoured to be given the opportunity to collaborate on an event with Cardrona. Cardrona is my home mountain – I learnt how to ski here and have spent every winter riding at Cardrona since I could walk,” says Jossi.

“To be able to give back to the industry with the resort that has supported me for so long is really amazing. It’s really cool to be able to throw an event at home for my international & local peers.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 1.13.57 PM


The invited athletes will also take part in adventure and adrenaline activities based in the Southern Lakes region in the days before the competition, to welcome them to New Zealand in the most exciting way possible.

On event days there will be free spectating zones on the mountain at the base of McDougall’s Quad by the fence, and the Noodle Bar. There will be a snow bar and Monster Energy sampling area at the McDougall’s viewing area. Skiing and snowboarding guests will find amazing view points of the Big Air from the Skyline Ridge above the jump, accessed by McDougall’s and Whitestar chairlifts.

The athletes are competing for a share of a US$20,000 cash purse, with the men’s ski and snowboard event prizes contributed by naming sponsor Monster Energy. The women’s event prizes are sponsored by Dragon Alliance.

The snowboard competition is particularly significant in the lead up to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, where Snowboard Big Air will make its debut as an Olympic event. The ski side of the competition has been sanctioned as a silver event on the AFP world tour.

The Jossi Wells Invitational for 2016 is the inaugural event of what is hoped to become an annual, internationally significant event on the professional skiing and snowboarding calendars.

For more announcements about confirmed athletes and event streaming, keep an eye on Cardrona’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.



There’s a new comp in town this year on the Freeride World Qualifier circuit!

MARMOT presents the inaugural Mt Olympus Freeride Open 2* on the 29th August at the Playground of the Gods. The comp is all set to go down the week after the 2* and 4* North Face Frontier at the Remarkables, in what is being dubbed the Mt Olympus Freeride Week.

The Marmot Mt Olympus Freeride Open will be held in the heart of the Southern Alps. Mt Olympus is a unique club field complete with exceptional freeride terrain, an old school lift system and chilled atmosphere. It’s the perfect setting for a FWQ event and a great opportunity for us kiwis to show off some different mountains to international athletes.


Dates: 29th August – 1st September (1 day of competition, 4 day weather window)
Format: 1 day, 1 run competition
Categories: Men and Women, Skiers and Snowboarders over the age of 18. *Note: You must be 18 or over on the 1st June 2016.
Cost: NZ$80 (This excludes FWT license fee and lift pass, though we hope to negotiate a reduced lift pass rate for competitors)


  • Go to Qualifiers section of the Freeride World Tour website:

  • Select “Europe Oceania” region
  • Purchase FWT license
  • Enter the Mt Olympus Freeride Open 2*
  • See you there!

 What is the FWT license fee?

This is a one-off fee that FWT charges to all athletes at all levels of FWT to compete in their events. It funds the online registration and ranking system. The FWQ one event license fee is 10 Euro (approx $16 NZ) or you can purchase a tour license which will cover all events in NZ 2016 and northern hemisphere 2017 for 40 Euro.


All information regarding the event can be found on and on Facebook

Due North

Due North documents a mission to discover unridden lines on the steep Chugach Mountains bordering Prince William Sound. Searching for an alternate path to the Nirvana of Alaskan powder from sea level up, The North Face athletes Fraser McDougall and RMB learn that sometimes you need to make use of your Plan B. And if you don’t have one, to make one quick.

Re-Establishment – The Sam Lee Story

Sam Lee returns to the European Alps to chase his dream of qualifying for the Freeride World Tour.

Two years ago, Sam suffered a major injury during the peak of his career. Re- Establishment is a story about Sam’s return to skiing post injury and about the challenging and rewarding moments he experienced along the way. The film follows Sam Lee for one year, from injury, through rehabilitation, to his first day back on the slopes and re-entry to competitive free ride skiing on the Freeride World Qualifiers,

2 years on post opperation Sam Lee has now qualified for the Freeride World Tour 2017

Produced by
Directed by Lachlan Humphreys & Sam Lee
Presented by Marmot, Head, Snow Centre

POV & self documenting: Sam Lee
Cinematographer: Lachlan Humphreys
Additional Footage: Richie Johnston , Michael Bernshausen,

Event footage
Open Faces Freeride Series: Maria Knoll & Christian Walter
X Over Ride: Christian Geissier & Christoph Zarif
Nendaz Freeride: Cyril Lanfranchi & Toast Productions
The North Face Freeski Open of NZ: Alex Kerr
Snow Sports New Zealand: Alex Kerr

Edit/Post: Clean Line Productions

Music – Film score:
Amara Primero –
Adittional Music – for NZ Freeski Open sceene
Producer: Ochra track: Yugen

The Rising Gaijins – Full Edit

A short film by Jake Munro of 3 freeskiers & 2 snowboarders from New Zealand who set aside their differences on a trip to the backcountry of Japan & later become.. “The Rising Gaijins’.

Featuring – Harry Pettit, Nick Brown, Rupert Paterson, George Pengelly & Jack Spence.

Mountain Dew, Rip Curl, Rhythm Japan, Oyuki Apparel, Le Bent, SYRP, 3DR Solo, The World Bar Queenstown & Garage Entertainment