New Zealand Certificate in Snowsport Patrol (Level 4) and New Zealand Certificate in Avalanche Risk Management (Level 5)

If you’re someone who is at home in the mountains – and can imagine making them your office – Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Ski Patrol programme is for you.

About the programme

You will undertake eight weeks online training, 14 weeks on campus and six weeks work placement during this programme (your work placement may not be in Wānaka).

Over the last 20 years, TPP’s Ski Patrol programme has produced some of the country’s finest ski patrollers.

You’ll do your practical ski patrol training in Wānaka, one of New Zealand’s best ski destinations. Wānaka offers some of the most advanced skiing and riding terrain, including natural pipes, large open faces, terrain parks and great back county ski touring.

Avalanche and first aid training is provided in a realistic environment on the ski field. The practical nature of the training equips you with the skills to become a certified ski patroller in line with industry needs.

Our graduates are sought after by the global ski patrol industry and many have gone on to work overseas in Canada and Japan.  The growing bike patrol in New Zealand are also seeking out graduates during the summer.

We aim to produce graduates who are work ready. We aim for consistently high levels of situational and self-awareness, a strong work ethic, and a mature attitude to teamwork and leadership ability. Combined with skiing ability, these are the minimum skills required to gain a ski patrol job.


Picturesque Wānaka, in the South Island of New Zealand, is home to much of the programme.

Wānaka is a popular holiday destination with domestic and international tourists year-round, due to its skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing and adventure tourism opportunities.

Four amazing ski resorts are within a 90-minute drive of Wanaka.  Students will be placed at one of a variety of New Zealand ski areas for a six-week work placement section of the programme.  This will also include the North Island ski areas.

Core elements

Level 4 Snowsport Patrol

  • Physiology and health
  • Outdoor Pre-hospital Emergency Care (PHE)
  • Mountain Skills
  • Hazard Management

Level 5 Avalanche Risk Management

  • Snow science and hazard evaluation
  • Avalanche geography
  • Meteorology and snowpack influences
  • Avalanche search and rescue

Equipment list

A complete equipment list can be viewed here and will be included in your enrolment pack. Equipment costs will vary depending on what you already own and you will need all equipment on the list by the due date to take part in the programme.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic supplies the use of following equipment for training:

  • A range of first aid equipment
  • Ice axes
  • Ropes
  • Belay devices and karabiners
  • Climbing helmets
  • Rescue toboggans
  • Crampons
  • Climbing and industrial harnesses
  • Snow and weather analysis equipment

Further study options

Career opportunities

Highly respected, the programme provides specialised training in the specific skills required for a first year ski patroller.

The programme allows for various careers, sets strong foundations for related careers in the outdoors, including the ski guiding and avalanche safety industries, a variety of adventure tourism, safety management, summer guiding and/or instruction operations, The Department of Conservation, alpine search and rescue, education roles, nursing, ambulance officer and/or paramedic and Mountain Bike patrol in summer (dependent on bike skills).

Many patrollers in fact balance their winter work with these types of careers, academic pursuits and/or trades such as building, accounting etc.

You will be offered a place subject to meeting the entry and selection requirements and the availability of places on the programme. The Polytechnic reserves the right to not accept late applications, i.e., after the programme has started. The Polytechnic reserves the right to cancel, prior to commencement, any programme which does not attract a minimum number of students. The fees shown are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change. For further information visit here.