Weekend weather window a chance to explore
Media Release | For immediate release
It’s finally time to make the most of the recent snow on the mountains as settled weather has lined up well for this weekend’s adventures.
The NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) is expecting an increase of traffic in the backcountry from skiers, split boarders, and climbers, but is advising users to still take care.
The mountains, especially in the South Island, have seen large amounts of snow and battled many weather systems recently. However, recent rain has stabilised the snowpack in many regions, so now it’s a case of staying vigilant and being aware of the surroundings.
“While some regions may be forecasting ‘low’ avalanche danger, this doesn’t mean ‘No’ avalanche danger. Be mindful of the terrain you’re in and where even a small avalanche could be dangerous,” MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says.
“With this in mind, and since it will likely be a busy weekend in the backcountry, it is important to consider the potential of avalanching on others. Likewise, be aware of who or what is going on above you.
“While the snowpack is generally settling, there is still the potential for avalanches, particularly in steep and complex terrain,” he explains.
“Otherwise, check your region’s avalanche forecast, and enjoy this weekend’s weather. It should be a great chance to explore across much of the country. ”
MetService is forecasting a ridge of high pressure to gradually build over the country this weekend, followed by more rain from the north next week.
“As we go into Saturday, the flow will tip from southerly to more southwest, shifting the showers away from the east of the country, but bringing them onto western parts. Then on Sunday, as the ridge [of high pressure] properly arrives, we’ll see even more sunshine around and the showers all but gone,” says MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr.
The Tongariro and Nelson Lakes NZAA regions are currently seeing very firm and icy surface conditions. In order to travel safely in the backcountry, you’ll need to pack crampons and an ice axe, and know how to use them. Make sure to check the ‘sliding danger’ section of your regional forecast for more information.
MSC encourages those heading into the backcountry to submit public observations of avalanches and snowpack conditions at avalanche.net.nz for fellow users and local forecasters to see.
Travelling safely in avalanche terrain requires three essential components - the skills, equipment and forecast. You can find out more here.
- Find the latest avalanche advisory at avalanche.net.nz
- Ensure you know the basics or get a quick refresher by completing this free online course
- Take a practical course and learn from professionals, find a list of them here
- Get an introduction to crampon and ice axe use with our Alpine Skills Series videos.
Photo: A NZAA Public Observation from Nelson Lakes near Angelus Hut, submitted by Matt Tankersley on August 1 2022
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