ski touring tasman glacier

Symphony on Skis

The Symphony on Skis is a guided alpine ski touring traverse of the main glaciers of New Zealand's Southern Alps.

The Symphony on skis is considered to be the New Zealand ski touring Haute Route traversing the Godley, Murchison, Tasman, Fox & Franz Joseph glaciers.

Godley Valley - Liebig Range crossing - Murchison Glacier - Tasman Saddle - Tasman Glacier - Rudolph Glacier - Graham Saddle  - Main Divide Crossing - Franz Josef Glacier - Fox Glacier.

The route starts in the Godley River Valley that we access by 4WD. On the first day we will 4WD into Rankin hut where we will spend the night. From the Godley River Valley we climb/skin up Rutherford stream and cross the Liebig range at Armadillo Pass and descend onto the Murchison Glacier staying overnight at Murchison Hut. From the Murchison Hut the route climbs its way towards the Tasman Glacier before making one of New Zealand's longest ski runs down the Tasman Glacier. At De La Beche Corner the route turns right and climbs up the Rudolf Glacier to Graham Saddle on the main divide on the Southern Alps. Graham Saddle is the highest point on the Symphony on Skis and from here it is a ski descent and then a skin across the Chamberlin Snowfield to Centennial Hut.

On the final skiing day we will traverse the Franz Joseph Glacier to West Hoes Pass before the long and spectacular ski run down the Fox Glacier to Chancellor Hut. From Chancellor Hut we fly by helicopter down to Fox Glacier town.

Other related trips 

New Zealand Glacier Ski Touring & Snowboarding


Sample Itinerary

Day 1

We will meet you at your accommodation in Queenstown at 8.30am on the morning of the trip for introductions and to discuss the plan for the trip. Before we depart we will do an equipment check to make sure that you have everything you need for the mountains. It is a spectacular helicopter flight into the Godley Valley. 

Day 2 

We start early, climbing & skinning up Rutherford Stream to Armadillo Saddle. Its a long and spectacular ski descent from Armadillo saddle to Murchison Glacier. Once on the glacier we will make our way up the Murchison Glacier to Murchison Hut for the night. This is a great day and we are now fully immersed in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps.

Day 3

We start day three with a skin up the Murchison Glacier and the Murchison Headwall. This takes us to Tasman Saddle, this is head of New Zealand's longest and largest glacier. From here we have views of the main divide of New Zealand's Southern Alps including views of Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. 

From Tasman Saddle we make a ski descent to Tasman Saddle Hut. We will spend the night here resting and preparing for the biggest day of the trip.

Day 4

We start our long ski descent of the Tasman Glacier at first light. From De La Beche Corner we make the long climb up the Rudolf Glacier to Graham Saddle and then cross the main divide of the Southern Alps. From Graham Saddle we have views of the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers that stretch all the way down the West Coast to the Tasman Ocean. This is one of the most spectacular areas to ski in New Zealand. From here we ski down and across the Chamberlin Snowfield to Centennial Hut.

Day 5

Traverse the Franz Joseph Glacier from Centennial Hut to West Hoe Pass, then ski a spectacular ski descent down the Fox Glacier to Chancellor Hut. 

Day 6

We have built in a weather contingency day for the trip. This means that if we need to we can wait out the bad weather, have a rest day if needed, or get in an extra day of skiing if the weather allows. We have the ability to be flexible with the trip schedule moving faster if the weather dictates...or waiting out a period of poor weather.

Day 7

Helicopter flight out of Mountains from Chancellor Hut back to Mt Cook Village. Drive back to Queenstown. In the case of bad weather we will helicopter out to Fox Glacier township and then catch a bus back to Queenstown.


Map 2014

1-3 people

Map 2014

7 days


$3700 (based on minimum of 2 people)

Map 2014

Helicopter in / Helicopter out


The Symphony on Skis traverse can be made from late July through until end of October

Experience Required

For the Symphony on Skis you need to be an advanced skier or boarder with off piste skiing and ski touring or split boarding experience. A high level of fitness is required to successfully complete the ski traverse. Mountaineering & climbing skills are also required for this challenging traverse.

Whats Included

The price of the program includes

  • Guide fees
  • All helicopter access & egress costs
  • Ground transport costs
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Avalanche shovel, transceiver, probe
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Group equipment
  • Department of Conservation concession fees

The price of the program excludes

  • Ski touring skis & boot hire
  • Personal equipment & clothing