25 avalanche victims so far this season in France. 11 in the Hautes-Alpes alone. “It’s an explosive situation, extremely dangerous” warns Captain Cousin, head of the mountain rescue services based in Briançon
A 43 year old ski tourer was killed this morning at the col du Chaude Maison in the Cervières range. He was skiing with his two brothers. The route is popular with local ski tourers, the slopes are not particuarly steep, the group was familiar with the area. The victim was taken by an avalanche while climbing at a little before 11h00 above the farms of Balais et 2400 meters altitude. Recovered by his brothers using the signal from his beacon but in a serious condition he died later in Grenoble hospital. There were two other avalanche victims in the department over the weekend in separate incidents.
The prosecutor in Gap has warned backcountry enthusiasts to take care and warned that he would “prosecute people who organise trips to areas at risk” The avalanche risk remains at 4/5 for the frontier ranges of the department. The area has seen over 150cm of fresh snow before last weekend.
In the Haute-Savoie ski resort of le Grand-Bornand an avalanche, apparently triggered by two skiers in a couloir above the Lachat black and Lanches red piste hit two on piste skiers. One suffered back injuries and has been hospitalized. Over a hundred people were mobilized to search the avalanche debris for other victims. The head of the PGHM for the department has said he won't hesitate to prosecute reckless skiers following a dangerous rescue operation last week.
On Sunday there was a large natural avalanche in the Pyrenean resort of Luz-Ardiden. The slide started under the Gazex and reached the Belle Bleue piste where it caught two young skiers who escaped without injury. The avalanche was blamed on warmer weather. At Val Cenis in the Savoie two ski tourers were involved in an incident in the Arcelle sector. Two ski tourers had triggered their airbags but had escaped the slide without injury.