Safety Information

Safety Information and Understanding the Risks

DKDnzLimited trading as (AAO 528) is a Certified Adventure Activity Operator.

We Strive For The Highest Level Of Safety

Our safety programme is set by our Safety Management System, our experienced staff and guides, our safety culture, personal service, and our commitment to nil serious harm. has been operating for more than a decade offering bespoke trips all year around to our delighted participants, whom vary in their experience and familiarity, with the back country. Each has come away with a raised awareness and a wonderment of the unique mountains, uplifting vistas and the activities on offer from

Understanding the Risks activity can include but is not limited to skiing, snow boarding, hiking, mountain biking snow-caving, overnight hut stays, transportation by helicopter and other vehicles and other activities be they either guided or self guided connected to the trip.

A trip may involve inherent risks and potential hazards. These may be associated with remote and rugged terrain, avalanches, human factors, weather conditions, mechanical or operational error or equipment failure or error in judgement of any kind, and in the event of an accident, rescue and medical treatment may not be readily available.

We acknowledge that a trip can be hazardous if not conducted with care control and responsibility. We ask that our participants read and sign the form “Understanding the Risks” prior to embarking on their trip. They will then proceed with the activity with a knowledge and an ownership of the risks involved.

Our Team: Staff and Guides

Dan Kelly -
Dan Kelly

Founder, Director, Manager of Operations: Dan was involved in the Canterbury mountains working in Avalanche safety and ski field management and west Coast glacier guiding since 1982. Residing in Glenorchy in 1992 he then founded and operated the Invincible Snowfields, developed unique Heli ski events in the Glenorchy mountains and designed and established ski touring huts at Mt Larkins before founding, consenting and then operating since 2010. Dan runs our day to day operations works closely with our Technical Advisor Wayne Allen our Heli Glenorchy pilots and communicates with guests guides and staff to provide safe and enjoyable trips.

Christine Kelly -
Christine Kelly

Co-Founder, Administration, and Host, Christine takes care of the functional every day office work including safety, auditing and updating the SMS. Qualified in snow safety Christine is also an experienced back country ski tourer, hiker and biker, and is an on mountain host helping guests feel comfortable in the mountain environment whether its winter or summer.

Wyane Allen -
Wayne Allen

Technical Advisor A well known Queenstown resident, NZMGA qualified and owner of Southern Safety Films and Events for the past 15 years, Wayne has been advisor on all things safety at since 2011. Wayne has extensive background in ski patrol, snow safety, heli skiing and SAR, and experience in delivering practical safety and Logistical solutions for Film productions including Aerial components. These days he specialises in ‘on location safety’ whether they are in Glaciers, mountains, water, roads or studios. Waynes skills and knowledge are highly valued by as he provides insight and overarching safety in all aspects of our operations.

Jeremy Lyttle -
Jeremy Lyttle

Contract Guide Qualified as a NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide , Jeremy is our resident winter guide. A talented mountain skier, tourer, biker, heli ski guide and climber Jeremy displays an obvious passion for the local mountains whether it be as a guide or on his own personal alpine journey. As a considerate and experienced host and guide Jeremy makes all our guests feel comfortable in the back country.

Tintin Kelly -
Tintin Kelly

Operations, Snow Safety and Host An internationally experienced Ski Patroller a Qualified Snow Safety Officer and a trainee nurse Tintin works closely with the team to offer her advise and knowledge in staff training, safety management, marketing and hosting. Tintin tutors multiple, four day, Mountain Safety Avalanche skills Course (Level 2) based out of Kelly Hut to small groups during the winter season. Tintin has grown up with family trips to Mt Larkins.

Jane Morris IFMGA Mountain and Ski Guide
Jane Morris

IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
Jane began trawling around the mountains during Otago University days in 1994, where mountain huts were a good substitute for lecture theatres. After a number of years working in outdoor related industries, in 2010 she began working full time as a mountain and ski guide, based out of Aoraki Mount Cook and Aoraki remains her spiritual home. Jane has a wide range of international climbing and skiing experience in both a personal and guiding capacity. Best of all Jane grew up in the the Whakatipu basin and knows the local mountains and conditions.

Safety Information


Pre Trip Communications: Guided or Self-Guided?

From your enquiry staff will assess your trip expectations, along with your activity choice, experience and guiding needs. Communication is by email to confirm trip type, preferred dates, level of competency required, equipment needed and a price per person. Once a deposit is received to confirm the trip, the date will be booked in the calender.


Participants should have some knowledge and understanding and experience of the activity they wish to partake in. The guides will be responsible for the safety of the group along with safe practice within the group. We highly recommend a guided trip for all our guests initially venturing into the NZ back country.

Guided Group Safety: All Activities
Pre trip Briefing

Our guide will meet and greet participants at Small Planet Queenstown for introductions, trip planning, gear check, safety brief, confirm guests private transport details to Glenorchy and to answer questions. Equipment for hire or purchase is available.

On the day

1. Weather Call: Communications with the operations manager or guide will confirm weather and ground /snow condition suitability for the trip. Alternative arrangements may be made if needed.

2. Start point GY Airstrip: Guide will do a second gear check and ensures the appropriate safety equipment is worn prior to loading, checks gear loads, hut supplies, carries out the heli safety briefing and loads and unloads gear and guests.

3. Helicopter safety: All activities staff are Certified Heli Glenorchy loaders. staff or Heli Glenorchy pilots will be responsible for all loading and loading of the helicopters including participants and luggage loads.

4. Activity Destination Start Point: Guide gives an introduction hut briefing and Safety briefing at both hut and the activity site.

Daily safety checks on safety critical equipment occurs on multiple day trips. Group capability and dynamics are discussed by host, guide and group participants.

Specific safety checks occur for different activities: For winter on snow activities guides include safety briefings and guide instruction for emergency procedures including avalanche scenarios. For summer hiking guides include safety briefings regarding safe travel and necessary equipment, clothing, food and water. For heli biking guides include safety checks on bikes and brief guests on trail and riding safety. Safety remains priority until the group reaches the activity end point at Glenorchy Airstrip.

5. Post Trip Debrief and Feedback from Participants: to complete our safety cycle participants are encouraged to feedback safety related information or general comments regarding their experience. These will be followed up during Post Trip De-Briefing of staff and actioned accordingly.


To go self-guided, participants need to have prior experience in the chosen activity equivalent to their requested Mountainhut trip activity.

Participants should also have some knowledge of helicopters, appropriate luggage and loads, durable clothing appropriate for the activity and season and have tested their safety critical equipment.

For example, for an overnight hut stay and hike a guest should have a trip log of similar hikes in NZ alpine trails and or climbs and have the appropriate clothing and equipment.

For winter trips, participants should have similar equivalent ski touring trip experience and hold qualifications in snow safety and have the appropriate clothing and equipment.

Bikers could have similar multiple rides on equivalent grade 2 back country tracks, particularly downhill, for a 2-4hr duration and have or hired a full suspension bike in good order, carry safety equipment and wear appropriate clothing and know the Bikers Code.

Self-guided groups make all their own decisions regarding safety and are responsible for their own equipment, catering, trip route choice, safety equipment and decisions in an emergency. See provides all support for heli loading, the hut introduction, safety communication equipment, and support in the case of any emergency. All participants will receive a Heli Safety Briefing and sign the Understanding the Risks Form prior to departure.

Specific Safety for Seasonal Activities

(Risks are not limited to those listed here)

Winter snow activities safety:
Risks: Avalanche, human factors, equipment failure, injury, burial, asphyxiation, Participants are expected to understand, learn or know how to, use an avalanche transceiver and in the case of an avalanche participate in a rescue. Risks: fatigue, hypothermia, human factors, medical emergency.

Summer Biking Activities Safety:
Risks: helicopter safety, injury, dehydration, human factors, distance from help, bike failure. Participants are expected to have the appropriate skills and equipment for the chosen trail and undertake the activity in a safe manner with respect to their own and others potential and with an understanding of any limiting factors such as weather and ground conditions.

All Season Hiking Activities Safety:
Risks: Weather, fatigue, Lost Participant, Injury, medical condition, equipment failure, Participants are expected to have the appropriate fitness and equipment for the chosen trail and undertake the activity in a safe manner with respect to their own and others potential and with an understanding of any limiting factors such as weather and ground conditions.

Helicopter Safety:
Risks: Injury, mechanical failure, equipment loss, Human factors, Mountainhut staff are trained and certified to load and unload helicopters. Participants are expected to follow all safety instructions regarding helicopter safety.