Gilles Royer, a 25 year old local man was reported missing in the ski resort of Chamrousse, Isère on Saturday afternoon. M. Royer had been skiing with a friend and was reported to be well equipped and to have a good knowledge of the resort. The pair separated at the summit of the resort, the Croix de Chamrousse when the M. Royer decided to take the Couloir de Casse-Rouse, one of the steep off-piste couloirs in the Croissants sector that lead back down to the ski station.
Croix de Chamrousse and Couloirs des Croissants
In light of the condtions, there was heavy snow and an avalanche risk of 3 (considerable) rising to 4 (high) during the course of the day his friend preferred to return to the station by marked pistes. When M. Royer failed to appear in the resort his friend alerted the rescue services.
The search effort was hampered by poor weather. The search and rescue helicopters based at Domene near Grenoble and l’Alpe d’Huez were unable to take off due to the atmospheric conditions but by the evening a team on foot consisting of the Mountain Police and the piste patrol could find no trace of the man.
The search resumed at first light on Sunday and was assisted briefly by the helicopter of the Sécurié Civile during a brief break in the weather. A number of avalanches were explored when at around 11h00 a team working in the Casse-Rousse sector found gear belonging to M.Royer, shortly afterwards his body was found at the bottom of a cliff. It seems that he had died as a result of injuries caused by a large fall.