A 62 year old man from the Grenoble area has been killed today by an avalanche in a west facing bowl under the summit of the Charmant Som (1867 meters) mountain in the Chartreuse mountain range. The man was carried a couple of hundred meters by the slide and buried under 150cm of debris.
The man was accompanied by three others, all were ski touring and equipped with avalanche transceivers. The incident occured mid-morning. According to the rescue services the man, who was skiing first, dissapeared into low cloud. His companions spotted the slide but not their friend and decided to search with their beacons. Helped by other skiers they recovered the victim in less than 10 minutes but were unable to resuscitate him. Two of the group were doctors. The victim was found at 1620 meters altitude. The rescue helicopter could not land at first due to cloud and had to drop rescue workers lower down. The man was the 30th avalanche victim in France this season.
There had been about 20cm of fresh snow on Friday in the sector accompanied by moderate winds. Meteo France gave the risk as 3 above 1800 meters, 2 below and warned of the risk of small soft slabs formed by the wind close to summits and ridges on North, West and South facing slopes. An eye witness described seeing cracks in the snowpack as he descended the bowl shortly after the incident. The avalanche was a dozen or so meters wide, very thin at the departure point but with a considerable depth of snow at the front and run for a couple of hundred meters.
A British skier escaped with a sore back and elbow and lost poles after triggering a slab in Mickey's Ears couloir in Tignes. He caught the action on his helmet camera.
On Thursday an off piste skier suffered a knee injury after getting caught in an avalanche above Oz-en-Oisans at the end of the morning. He was skiing with a friend who escaped injury.