Posted on: 2013-04-17 16:25:31 by davidof

Val Thorens managing avalanche risk

With the arrival of summer weather the Pisteurs of Val Thorens have to keep a close eye on the conditions. Closing pistes where there are warning signs of unstable snow.

All day, Thierry Olivier, head of piste security looks at the snowpack to inform tourists. The avalanche risk is 4 out of 5 which doesn't worry certain skiers. Others are more reasonable.

Tourist 1: "Stay on the pistes, listen to the guidance and everything is fine"
Tourist 2: "It's dangerous, the snow is heavy, there are slabs that slide, it's dangerous in any event"

This afternoon off piste skiing is prohibited, there's been a lot of snow this winter and with the heat of the last days the snowpack is very unstable

Pisteur: "Above, where there are rocks, the sun beats down, its a south... south-east facing slope, it is very hot, the snow slides in balls and if it is too warm all the snowpack can go, the snowballs are a warning."

So the piste just below is closed to avoid any risks for skiers. 99% of the ski area is still open, with the fine weather skiers have to change the way they ski

ESF Bloke: "Snow changes during the day, in the morning the snow is fairly firm. You need to be careful, to control your skiing, the risk of falling is higher. The advantage is the snow transforms during the day to become much softer"

Val Thorens closes on the 12th May, so skiers still have a month left to take advantage of 20C temperatures and blue skies but skiers have to be careful, more than 30 people have died in avalanches this year.

Val Thorens and Avalanches