Snowcraft 2020 cancelled

The Committee has decided that WTMC is not in a position to run its Snowcraft course this year.

Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has created many difficulties and challenges, including for training that involves such close contact in many ways. These challenges and risks will remain for some time, even when we move to Level 1.

We are looking at other ways we can support members, including talking to other clubs in the region and enabling those eligible to apply for scholarships for other Snowcraft courses. More details of WTMC’s scholarship programme are here:

Given this year’s circumstances, we’re shifting the emphasis in 2020 to supporting our members to consolidate their alpine skills, whether they are recent Snowcraft graduates of have been using the skills for a few years. Practice, practice, practice is the alpine mantra! If we can get interested leaders, we will be looking to run more alpine refresher trips. These trips are important to upskill those already trained to help build and encourage further trip leaders and instructors (on which the course relies). This will help position the club to run Snowcraft next year and beyond.

WTMC Snowcraft course – General Information


Snowcraft is a thorough introductory-level course on the techniques required for moving safely and effectively in an alpine environment, taught by experienced club members. It is ideal for people with tramping experience, a solid fitness base and a desire to learn more about travelling safely in snow, ice and mixed conditions.

As the purpose of this course is for an Alp1 level of skills and understanding, it does not include any rope skills, nor the use of avalanche transceivers. These are considered to be more advanced alpine skills, and are better covered under dedicated professionally-run courses.

Instead, Snowcraft with the WTMC focuses heavily on trip planning, route selection, alpine navigation techniques, and avalanche avoidance.

Successfully completing Snowcraft qualifies you for going on WTMC ALP1 trips. The course runs over two weekends at the club lodge on Mount Ruapehu.

You must also be available for three Wednesday night sessions; all of which are between 1 and 2 hours each. See below for dates and venues.


Snowcraft is aimed at people with some outdoor experience and an interest in trans-alpine tramping / high-alpine walking.

To enrol you must:

  • be a member of WTMC; and,
  • fill out an application form and pay the course fee; and,
  • have a reasonable degree of fitness (eg regularly do medium grade trips); and,
  • have some familiarity with tramping, in New Zealand or overseas

It is expected that students enrolling:

  • will have limited or no experience using crampons and an ice axe; or,
  • want to refresh their crampon and ice axe skills after a period of not using them; or
  • want to consolidate their informal learning of alpine movement techniques


Snowcraft includes instruction on:

  • clothing and equipment
  • shelter
  • food and hydration
  • weather
  • trip planning
  • navigation and route selection
  • moving on snow and ice without technical aids
  • moving on snow and ice with ice axe and / or crampons
  • alpine hazards
  • leadership, decision making and risk management.

The course does not cover the use of ropes and related technical climbing equipment.


Snowcraft is run by experienced WTMC members. The instructors are volunteers experienced in the alpine environment; not professional instructors with formal teaching qualifications.

While instructors will make every effort to look out for your health and safety, this is primarily your responsibility. You cannot use our Snowcraft course as credits for any NCEA or other educational programme. If you want to do a professionally run course we recommend contacting a professional alpine instruction company.


To do Snowcraft, you must have your own:

  • solid tramping boots that can take crampons
  • water-proof & wind-proof raincoat and over-trousers
  • gloves – lots of them
  • sunglasses (and preferably goggles too)
  • lots of warm clothes
  • compass and whistle
  • enthusiasm

Gear will be covered during the first session on the course.

The club has ice axes, crampons and helmets available for hire at a small cost.

Other gear you should take is listed on ‘what to take on a trip‘.


The Snowcraft course includes three evening sessions at the WTMC clubrooms, and two weekends at the WTMC Lodge on Ruapehu.

The dates for the 2021 course will be confirmed early next year.


Snowcraft is open to club members only, and is run on a cost-recovery basis with volunteer instructors.

Cost: To be confirmed for 2021

Course costs cover:

  • a Snowcraft manual for each student, to keep
  • shared meals at the lodge on the two weekends away
  • accommodation at the lodge on the two weekends away
  • transport to and from the lodge on the two weekends away

Course costs do not include the cost of gear hire. You can hire ice axe, helmet and crampons from the Club for a small charge.

Paying & Applying

Payments should be made by electronic banking:

  • Account Name: WTMC
  • Account number: 38-9017-0330533-00
  • Reference: SC 2019 – Fees – [your surname & initial]

To sign up for the course and receive an application form :

  • email

Signing up for Snowcraft does not guarantee you a place. Applications to join the course will be assessed for suitability on an individual basis.

On Completing Snowcraft

Once you have completed Snowcraft, you will be able to go on alpine club trips graded ALP 1, appropriate to your level of fitness for alpine conditions.

If you enjoy alpine trips then the next step may be to do an alpine instruction course where you learn how to use ropes and other equipment to do snow, ice & mixed climbing.


If you have any questions about Snowcraft:

  • E-mail