A 25 year old snowboarder, who had been missing since Saturday evening from the resort of Risoul in the Hautes-Alpes department was found dead from hypothermia on Sunday morning at around 3.30am under the cliffs that dominate the village of Guilllestre. The victim was named as Xavier Linsmar from Marseille. It appears he had become disorientated after losing contact with friends while skiing off piste between the Risoul and Vars ski stations.
The alert was given at 21h00 by a friend of the man who was worried that he hadn’t returned. A large search and rescue operation was put in place by the local Mountain Police assisted by reinforcements from Briançon.
Earlier in the year an Australian froze to death near Chamonix after getting lost skiing off piste with friends. The Préfet (state governor) of the Hautes-Alpes recently pointed out that there have been more deaths off-piste than in road accidents in his department this winter and he is particularly concerned by the trend. Off-piste skiing was even banned for a short period in the resort of Montgenevre.