An avalanche in the Andorran ski resort of Arcalís on Thursday has caught two members of the Freeride World Tour, both high mountain guides, who were carrying out a safety inspection for the event scheduled for this weekend in the ski area.
The avalanche occurred just after noon on the Basser Negre de Arcalís. One of the victims, a 34 year old Andorran resident was buried by the slide. Rescued in a state of cardiac arrest, the victim was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead. The victim was wearing an avalanche airbag. The alarm was raised by the other organizer who suffered a knee injury in the slide.
The rescue was complicated by low cloud which prevented the rescue helicopter from reaching the scene. The victim was rescued by the local piste patrol. The avalanche risk was 3/5 (Considerable) with around 30cm of fresh snow over the previous day coupled with strong south westerly winds.
There have been a series of more or less serious incidents over last weekend. In the Pyrenees a skier was injured on the Pic du Midi above the lac D'Oncet, part of a group of three the victim was injured in the slide but managed to remain on the surface. In the Beaufortain, a group of three skiers had a lucky escape after triggering a slab as the lead skier approached the ridgeline under the roc de la Charbonnière - probably windslab formed by the strong northerly winds over the last few days. The group were staying in the refuge de Presset. In the Belledonne. Two of the skiers suffered minor injuries, a cut nose needing stitches and a broken elbow for the second skier. There was an avalanche in the North Belledonne at the refuge d'Oule, one skier partially buried and injured needing hospitalization. The sector is notorious for wind-slab.