Off Piste Skier Killed by Val Thorens Avalanche

A former ski instructor was killed at 16h30 at Val Thorens today. The skier was the first in a group of three when he triggered a slab avalanche skiing untracked snow under one of the resort’s cable cars. He was carrying an avalanche beacon and was rapidly found by rescuers despite being buried under nearly a meter of snow. At the same time a skier in Bonneval-sur-Arc had a lucky escape after being hit by an avalanche thanks to a speedy rescue. He was taken to hospital in Saint-Jean de Maurienne. The avalanche risk in the department is 3 (considerable) above 2000 – 2200 meters altitude.

Seven skiers from Grenoble, accompanied by a guide, ski touring in Corisca were hit by an avalanche some 75cm deep at 14h00 on Tuesay. The slide occured in the Rinoso sector at around 1600 meters altitude.

Four members of the group were caught by the slide. The guide and other members of the group helped dig out the stricken skiers. The guide then descended by ski to the bergeries de Grotel to alert the rescue services. One of the group, Olivier Jaskulke, who had been completely buried, suffered a fractured hip and hypothermia and had to be heliported to hospital in Bastia by a special unit of the firebrigade, the GRIMP (Groupe de recherches et d’interventions en milieux périlleux). A 30 year old woman, Isabelle Gallois, suffered a twisted knee and was treated in Corte.

The group had been hit by extreme weather that has buffeted the Island of Beauty while they were attempting the Corsican Haute-Route (alta strada). The avalanche risk is currently 4 (high) on a scale of 5 after over a meter of snow over the last week. The guide had decided to head for shelter in Corte passing by the Capitello and Mello lakes. The group were equipped with avalanche beacons, probes and shovels.

The Préfet for Haute-Corse has asked backcountry travellers to be very careful, an appeal echoed by the rescue services of the Massif Central where the avalanche risk has lead to the temporary closure of some roads and icy condtions are reported off-piste.

Posted by on Thursday, 24 February, 2005 at 08:46 PM

’An off piste skier was killed at around 16h30 at Val Thorens’ - 24feb ‘05.
Where exactly did this accident happen?

Posted by  on  Tuesday, 01 March, 2005  at 04:36 PM

I have added a little extra information. The instructor, formerly with the ESF, was well known in the resort and by pupils.

Posted by davidof on  Friday, 04 March, 2005  at 03:05 PM
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