A skier has been killed by an avalanche in an off-piste sector between the ski resorts of Le Corbier and La Toussuire in the Sybelles ski domain. The 250 meter long slide occurred just before midday in the Combe de la Noire. The alert was given by a friend who was skiing with the 25 year old Grenoble resident. The man was found by a team of 8 pisteurs using the signal from his avalanche transceiver. The conditions were described as poor with snow and strong winds which delayed the rescue helicopter from Modane. The avalanche risk given by the Météo France bulletin was 3 (considerable) on a scale of 5 for the Maurienne area.
Around 20cm for fresh snow has fallen in the area since Friday afternoon accompanied by some strong winds from the North-West to South-West. This has formed some new slabs which are sitting on a snow pack that has been rendered fragile by the recent cold weather. There is also the danger of wet snow slides at lower altitudes with the warmer conditions and rain.
Météo France forecasters have recently reminded backcountry travellers that a risk of 3 should be interpreted as a above average probability of avalanches and that locally, especially in north facing couloirs the danger is greater. Météo France gives the risk as 4 (high) for the Northern Alps above 2000 meters altitude for Sunday.
We have been told by someone involved in the rescue that the friend who raised the alarm did not have an avalanche beacon. The piste patrol witnessed the accident and arrived very rapidly on the scene.
The Combe de la Noire sector is known to be very dangerous when the avalanche risk is considerable or above.
Posted by davidof
on Monday, 09 January, 2006 at 12:47 PM
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