The rescue service have been involved in a number of avalanche incidents in the French Alps today. The most serious was at la Toussuire where two season workers were killed and a third is in a very serious condition.
An off-piste skier was caught by a slide in the Contamines-Montjoie ski domain in the Haute-Savoie. The incident occured mid-morning near the Nant-Rouge chairlift. The alert was raised by an eye-witness. The victim was buried under 80cm of snow debris and was localized by the pisteurs thanks to his avalanche beacon some 20 minutes after the slide. The avalanche risk was 3/5 with a risk of skier triggered wind-slab from 1500 meters on East / North and West facing slopes.
A snowboarder had a lucky escape in the early afternoon after triggering an impressive avalanche on the east side of the Roche Gauthier slopes in Serre Chevalier. The avalanche occurred under the Catex (avalanche control) cables (44.921119 , 6.516641) and triggered at a point where the slope steepens in the lee of a ridge. It probably gets windloaded which is why the avalanche control is in place. The slide stopped at a track and the snowboarder was very lucky to be neither buried or injured. The piste service came to the scene to ensure there were no other victims. The avalanche risk was 4/5 above 2000 meters on all slope aspects.
A ski instructor took a picture of the slide
On Wednesday six skiers were involved in an avalanche incident on the East side of the Prarion in les Houches near Chamonix. The incident occurred just before midday. One of the group was buried by the slide but was rescued thanks to his avalanche beacon. He was transferred to hospital by the mountain rescue in a serious condition. the avalanche risk was 4/5, especially on NW / N to East sector slopes with windblown snow, Meteo France warned that the dangers were complex to analyse.