Piste Patrollers hit by avalanche at Tignes

Two off-duty members of the Tignes piste patrol have been injured, one seriously, by an avalanche shortly after midday today. One of the men, a Tignard, was trapped under the snow for half an hour. He was taken to hospital in a severe state of hypothermia; his body temperature was 28°C. Reports are that the large slide occured under the Petit Col in the Chardonnet Bowl close to the Aiguille Percee.

The other piste patroller, who is on an exchange from an American resort, was recovered after a few minutes under the slide with a dislocated shoulder. He gave a statement to the police saying that they stopped at around 2,500 meters in an off-piste sector when a slide hit them from above. The police wan to establish if the slide was triggered by other skiers. Both men were equipped with avalanche beacons. Normally all the piste patrollers at Tignes are equipped with ABS Avalanche Airbags but it is not known if they were wearing them in this case. The avalanche risk was considerable (3/5) at the time. Meteo France had warned of slabs on open faces with slabs and accumulations of more then 1 meter depth with layers of graupel destabilizing the snowpack.

Posted by on Friday, 05 January, 2007 at 05:09 PM

There was another avalanche at the pointe d’Andagne at 2600 mètres altitude in the Maurienne started by five young snowboarders. One of them was buried but was rapidly located by the resort’s piste patrol and heliported to hospital in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with hypothermia.

Posted by davidof on  Saturday, 06 January, 2007  at 11:02 AM

With this so early in the season lets hope we do not see a repeat or exceeding of last years tragic 57 deaths. I worry that if we do this will be more ammunition for those that wish to bring in rules and regulations and enforcement of off piste areas and skiing generally.

Bon Annee.

Posted by  on  Saturday, 06 January, 2007  at 01:00 PM

There are lots of skiers that are surviving forays off-piste. But if people want to ski known avalanche slopes, there will be more fatalities.

The fact that even avalanche professionals and experienced “montagnards” are getting caught in avalanches is disappointing.

Posted by  on  Saturday, 06 January, 2007  at 10:50 PM

There was another accident today when three members of the team marking out a ski mounaineering competition at l’Alpe d’Huez triggered an avalanche. The slide occured at 10h00 at 2100 meters altitude on a south-west slope. The slide measured 100x200m and also buried some of their gear. All three were rescued without injury.

Posted by davidof on  Saturday, 06 January, 2007  at 11:41 PM

A freind watched the avalanche - his words ‘just saw two guys set off and get caught in an avalanche.....’ The inference is that they caused the avalanche themselves.
Wait and see what the insurance company say about this accident (see earlier story of the two brits caught in Tignes April 2005).  Experienced - presumably had to climb to get to the slope - high avalanche risk etc...........

Posted by  on  Sunday, 07 January, 2007  at 07:03 PM
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