Meteo France may have stopped its daily avalanche bulletin for this season but an avalanche that caught four skiers yesterday above Val Thorens is a reminder that the risk is still present. The return to wintry conditions, 30cm of fresh snow over the last 3 days accompanied by strong winds in the mountains has led the prefecture of the Haute-Savoie to warn backcountry travellers of a Considerable avalanche danger above 2500 meters through to at least the weekend.
The accident yesterday involved a group of six skiers, all residents of the Three Valleys area. The group had left Val Thorens in the morning to climb to the glacier de Chavière on touring skis. From there they followed a south facing couloir on foot towards the summit of the Péclet at 3560 meters altitude. At 3520 meters the group triggered a slab avalanche around 60cm deep which caught four skiers carrying them 120 meters. None of the group were buried by the slide, two of the victims suffered serious leg injuries and the other two minor injuries. The group were rescued by the PGHM from Modane assisted by the PGHM from Briançon. An operation that was extremely complicated due to poor visibility in the sector. Avalanche expert Alain Duclos has warned that "following a return to poor weather in the mountains the conditions are once again dangerous despite the illusion of surface stability".