A ski instructor from la Plagne has triggered a large and deep avalanche in the Canadiens couloir on the North Face of the Bellecôte above the ski resort. He was skiing with two colleagues on their day off. The incident occured around 13h00. The avalanche risk was 3/5 at the time with north sector faces specifically mentioned in the bulletin.
The group were equipped with beacons and airbags. The two survivors found their colleague at around 13h30 under 20cm of snow. He had apparently survived the slide but was in a serious condition. Transported by the PGHM helicopter dispatched from its advanced base at Courchevel airport the 28 year old instructor died later in Grenoble hospital. The victim has been named as Adrien Sergent, a native of the Haute-Savoie who had worked with the Oxygene ski school for the last decade. This is the 22nd avalanche fatality so far this season.
One of the classic major lines on the Bellecôte, the Canandiens couloir is oriented north-east and runs over 900 vertical meters., it starts with a funnel then a steep 45 degree section which widens onto 35/40 degree slopes before narrowing towards the base.
Four ski tourers have been involved in an avalanche incident in the Southern French Alps in the Coulet de la Grisonnière sector near to Vernet. One of the skiers, a 49 year old local man, was buried by the avalanche. The incident occured around midday at 1650 meters. He was recovered by his friends but in a state of cardio-vascular arrest and they were unable to ressucitate him. The avalanche risk was 3/5.
A 64 year old from Marseille has been killed by an avalanche snowshoe touring near the refuge du col Agnel in the Queyras range. The incident occured at 15h30 at around 1300 meters altitude. The man was alone, the alert was given by the guardian of the refuge who witnessed the incident. The avalanche risk was 4/5 after over a meter of fresh snow in the area.
There was another avalanche in the combe de Chaulange in the Cornafion sector of the Vercors. The victim was carried 200 meters but escaped without injury. A 17 year old student was killed in the combe de Chaulange at the end of January. The avalanche risk was 3/5. Thomas Costes of Camptocamp.org describes the incident
"We climbed by the normal route with the aim of descending by the Combe Chaulange. We left gaps. Mario was first and traversed no problem. Stephane went and in the middle of the traverse the slope broke up under his skis. A slab, 80 meters wide, 50 meters long and 40 to 50cm deep triggered under the cliffs and took all the flat that we were traversing. From above I saw Stephane disappear under the snow. I called the rescue services and Mario started to search with his beacon. Some long minutes afterwards we heard Steph calling us from below. He was taken 50 to 100 vertical meters, jump a cliff band but was finally ok. Phew! The avalanche stopped at the bottom of the combe. 2 skis missing, we didn't even bother to look, we'll come back in the spring. Thanks to the PGHM and their helicopter who were on the scene in 20 minutes despite difficult conditions, strong wind and clouds, and to the fire brigade."
A couple were caught by an avalanche in the Croisse-Baulet sector of the Aravis mountains in the Savoie. One of the victims has been seriously injured. The avalanche risk was 3/5.