In a press release today police reminded visitors to the ski fields at Mt Ruapehu to remain inside the designated areas unless they have the skills, experience and necessary rescue equipment to be self-sufficient in the backcountry.

National Park Police Constable Conrad Smith said ski field areas were staffed by ski patrols and they put a lot of effort into making sure there were appropriate safety measures in place.

This included roping off cliffs, ensuring there was adequate avalanche control and providing first aid and rescue responses for people who needed it, he said.

He said when people ventured out into backcountry there were no safety measures in place and if people were not prepared they were seriously putting their life in danger.


Just this week police have had to use a helicopter to rescue two people who were unprepared for backcountry conditions and had ventured past the ski field boundaries.

Anyone who is planning to go backcountry should carry an avalanche probe, avalanche transceiver and shovel.

He said as well as carrying them, people needed to ensure they knew how to use them correctly.

"Having this equipment greatly increases your chances of rescue should an emergency occur."

Police also advise people to travel with someone, as this gear is of no use if they are on their own.

Police also strongly recommend people take the time to check the New Zealand Avalanche Advisory website and talk to ski patrols about the conditions before heading into the backcountry.

"Going out in the New Zealand wilderness without up to date information and proper equipment is a recipe for disaster."

This is especially true in areas like Mt Ruapehu which experience extreme conditions and a changing landscape due to the elements.

Police do not want to stop people having fun, but want to ensure they are safe while doing so.