The 2008-2009 ski season in France saw 35 avalanche fatalities in 24 incidents. The number of fatal incidents is above the median established since 1989 of 19 incidents. The season had good snow conditions from late November through to May with four major periods of avalanche activity.
The early season snow cover prevented a catastrophic situation such as that experienced in 2005/6, where a thin snow pack results in a persistent weak base, from developing. There were more fatalities involving tourers (ski and snowshoe) compared to off piste skiers. Only the Savoie saw more fatal incidents involving off pisters. The touring incidents indicate areas where skills can be improved. In two incidents victims had not switched on their beacons. There were other issues with route choice and group management as well as a lack of appreciation as to how slabs are formed and triggered.