Anyone tempted to head off into New Zealand's backcountry is being warned to be aware of the danger of avalanches this spring.
The warning comes after a ski touring group came across the debris of a massive avalanche in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park on Thursday.
According to the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, it was the largest avalanche reported as a public observation via the NZ Avalanche Advisory this year and was "large enough to destroy a forest or large buildings".
Mike Daisley, chief executive of the Mountain Safety Council, said while avalanches this size are rarely observed in New Zealand, they do occur from time to time.
"Large avalanches like this are powerful enough to travel far below the snowline in some cases," Daisley said on Friday.
He said the tour group likely arrived a few days after the avalanche occurred and it was reported as being a size 4 avalanche, approximately 2km in length and 600m wide.
Daisley said it was a timely reminder that despite the weather getting warmer, the danger of avalanches remains.
"This is particularly true in Aoraki/Mt Cook and for that reason, we avalanche forecast year-round in that region."
He advised anyone heading into the backcountry to check the avalanche forecast website and make sure they plan for avalanche hazards.