Posted on: 2019-11-24 22:33:29 by davidof

First avalanche incident of the French winter

Two ski tourers have been injured by an avalanche in the Valfréjus ski area on Saturday. The ski lifts are currently closed. There has been around a meter of fresh snow in the area above 2200/2400 meters with the new snow sitting on an old layer weak, angular grains. The skiers were part of a group from Lyon.

Slab avalanches on the Pointe d'Arrondaz

The avalanche occurred on the Col ski piste above the Arrondaz plateau (2300 meters). The group comprised three retirees and another skier aged in his thirties. One victim was completely buried and was suffering from mild hypothermia and a knee injury. The other skier had a mild ankle injury. Rescued by their friends they were heliported by the mountain rescue services to hospital in nearby Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

Poor visibility in the sector due to bad weather meant the helicopter had difficulty landing. The rescue services warned skiers about the risks of closed ski areas which have not yet been secured, saying the risk was very high in the area due to the fresh snow. Meteo France's avalanche bulletin for the sector was not very extensive but warned of an aggravating situation with conditions getting more and more unstable during the storm. Given the bulletin the group probably felt relatively safe touring in the ski area.