Backcountry skiing more dangerous after recent storms

Backcountry skiing is becoming more popular, as snow adventurers look for a bigger challenge.

But the recent heavy snowstorms have increased the risk of avalanches in a number of areas.

"It's very unusual for this time of the year in particular, where most of the country's got a considerable risk. And by considerable that means that you need expert knowledge and experience in an alpine environment," Mountain Safety Council CEO Mike Daisley says.

New Zealand's Avalanche risk has been raised to "considerable" for Fiordland, Wanaka, Canterbury, and the Central North Island.

Four other regions are tagged as "moderate" risk.

Experienced backcountry adventurer Erik Bradshaw says that warning shouldn't be ignored by less-experienced people.

"If you're unsure what it means, you really shouldn't be in the backcountry at all. And in conditions or situations like present, a ski field is a much better place for a person who doesn't understand the backcountry," he says.

Skiing off-piste can be risky, one woman had a lucky escape after getting lost on Mt Ruapehu on Monday night.

Inside the boundaries of a ski field, all the avalanche risk is managed by the operator  like a recent heli-bombing exercise at Mt Hutt.

"It's when you go out of bounds or if you are enjoying some of the tracks and trails in and around the alpine environment, that's when things can get interesting," Mr Daisley says.

He says backcountry adventurers should have training in self-rescue, and carry specialist equipment.

And with conditions prone to change quickly, skiers and trampers are urged to double check the avalanche forecast before heading out the door.