A series of avalanches across the Alps and Pyrenees have killed two off piste skiers and left a young man in a serious condition. With up to 130cm of snow falling in Switzerland and 70cm in the French Alps and the return of sunny weather on Friday the avalanche risk is High in many ranges, particularly above 2000 meters with the probability of skier triggered slabs on all slope aspects.
On Wednesday a 27 year old woman was caught by an avalanche at Grandvalira in Andorra. The skier was off piste in the Cabirol/Facto sector. Two eye witnesses called the rescue services who found the woman 10 minutes later. They were unable to resuscitate the woman and she was taken by helicopter to hospital in Méritxell where she was pronounce dead.
At 11h00 today an 18 year old skier was buried by an avalanche while skiing off piste in la Plagne near Aime 2000. After 40 minutes emergency first aid at the scene he was evacuated to hospital in Grenoble in a very serious condition. The avalanche risk was 3/5. Three Swiss were caught by an avalanche in the Lanches (short for Avalanche!) sector of Mont-Joly near to St Gervais. The incident occurred around midday. Due to the weather conditions the rescue helicopter was unable to fly and it was up to the pisteurs of Saint-Nicolas de Véroce to recover the skiers, fortunately without serious injury. A father and son were hit by an avalanche in the Cucumelle sector of Serre Chevalier at 14h30. They were able to remain on the surface of the slide and were recovered by the PGHM rescue helicopter and take to hospital in Briançon. The avalanche risk was 4/5 today.
At Val Cenis an off piste skier triggered an avalanche that finished on the open Tétras piste. The slide occurred at 2500 meters altitude. 60 pisteurs and ski instructors carried out a probe search of the debris lasting 2 hours to ensure no-one was caught by the slide. The off-piste skier did not wait around to help in the rescue. The avalanche risk in the Savoie was 3/5.
A 24 year old resident of Annecy has been killed by an avalanche in the Arnauds commune close to Bardonecchia in Italy. Buried by the slide and suffering from multiple injuries and hypothermia the rescue services were unable to resuscitate him. The man was snowboarding on a closed ski run with three friends.