The vallorcine side of the mountain was closed again this afternoon with reports of an avalanche in the Belle Place area. The lifty I spoke to didn’t know if anyone was involved. I also witnessed the last casualty being evacuated by helicopter and was informed by the piste patrol that it was just an exercise. It seems the attitude of “hush hush” continues.
I saw 8 rescue vehicles heading up there as I left Le Tour Tuesday and the Col des Montets was shut. There was an avalanche Tuesday which witnesses said was caused by 2 snow boarders that cut over the red piste Belle Place. 65 people probed the snow but found no one in the avalanche, according to Radio Mont Blanc. That is within the ski domaine, and in that case they are lucky no one was hurt, and definitely should have bombed the area above that threatened that piste.
I agree that Le Tour is a terrible place in a white out as it is featureless, hence again the rules of mountain safety in bad weather - do not ski alone. Do not hike alone, do not bike alone. As far as the piste markers, I guess I didn’t consider that - all of Chamonix is marked that way as are a number of other nearby French and Swiss resorts in the area where I have skied, but perhaps it is something they could improve upon, given that a lot of the area just off to the piste will contain steep gullies. That said I do think that someone alone could still make a mistake on a piste in a white out even with different colored markers if the fog is thick enough. I still think the main mistake here was to split up. After that, we really don’t have any way to know what happened to lead this person to the area that avalanched. But if he was still with friends, they could have seen it, called for help and tried to find him and dig him out.