New hi-tech tool for outdoor pursuits centre

The Peel Forest Outdoor Pursuits Centre has a new tool for teaching outdoor survival, thanks to a Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust grant.

The centre – a registered charitable trust that runs outdoor skills training, outdoor recreation and education programmes – has purchased 12 avalanche transceivers to use in courses.

Centre director Andre Schoneveld said the course had previously relied on finding transceivers from around the region.

"What we've found is once winter arrives ... everyone starts running courses [in avalanche safety] and they're in short supply."

Transceivers retail for around $600 each. The machines help locate people that are trapped in snow. "The aim is we'll use them and they'll be based here for schools, clubs and youth organisations to use," Mr Schoneveld said.

The transceivers were easy-to-use and dealt with more then person in an avalanche scenario, he said. More people were getting involved with avalanche safety and the transceivers would help meet the demand.

"The aim really was to get a set Mid and South Canterbury could own, rather than getting them from Christchurch and competing with everyone up there."

The centre is run by instructors trained in New Zealand Recreation Association and New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association qualifications.

The Timaru Herald