Two Kiwis on a mission to conquer one of New Zealand’s most notorious challenges

When rising superstar of freeride skiing Craig Murray decided on an ambitious quest to conquer one of New Zealand’s most treacherous peaks and take his skiing to the next level, he called on the expertise of a fellow countryman.

Teaming up with ski-mountaineering legend Sam Smoothy, Murray planned for the pair to take on Mt Avalanche, in Mount Aspiring National Park, climbing over 2600m up steep rock and ice to reach the mountain’s high point then bravely skiing back to where they started.


The arduous climb to the summit took the pair from New Zealand’s South Island almost six hours … and the exhilarating freeride ski descent back to base camp just a few minutes.


No strangers to danger in their sport, the pair had to overcome freezing river crossings, dense steep bush, disorientating fog, and gaping glacial crevasses on their way to the treacherous blue ice cliffs and the soaring summit.



Murray prepared meticulously, even enlisting the support of New Zealand Nutri-Grain Ironman champion Hannah Wells to help with some endurance training tips to give them an edge.

Combined with determination and courage, two generations of NZ’s gutsiest skiers united to tick off one of the great summits of the Southern Alps.