Police launch appeal after grim series of avalanche fatalities

The High Mountain Police (PGHM) have called for skiers to be “more prudent” after a grim series of avalanches took the lives of three skiers in the Alps. The avalanches follow a warning issued on on Friday by the French Weather service. A warning repeated by the Préfecture of the Alpes-Maritimes on Saturday morning.

They warned winter sports enthusiasts that the snow pack at the start of the season is “particularly dangerous and hard to analyze”. A police spoke man said he understood people were keen to ski but lashed out at the “increasingly stupid behaviour of some ski tourers and off piste skiers”. The rescue services were at full stretch responding to avalanche alerts on Sunday.

In the Southern Alps a snowboarder was killed today by an avalanche Isola 2000 in the Alpes Maritimes. The man, a Nicois, was part of a group of three boarders who crossed under netting at the top of the pistes to ski a ridge into a bowl. The accident happened at 2300 meters altitude and according to the pisteurs the man was buried under 300cm of snow. The rescue services found his body at 13h30 after a probe search of the slide. The victim was not wearing an avalanche beacon. An Italien ski tourer was killed by an avalanche around 15h00 near the col de Larche in the Alpes de Hautes-Provence. The man was with a group of 8 who were on the Plate Longe at 2400 meters. There was an injury on the North-West couloir of the Petit Vans near Chamrousse, close to last week’s avalanche fatality on the Grand Sorbier. The skier suffered a knee injury.

Posted by davidof on Sunday, 07 December, 2008 at 07:39 PM

On the Italian side of the frontier two ski tourers have been killed and two are missing following an avalanche in the Val Pellice above the refuge de Jervis and a group of three ski tourers were injured by an avalanche in the Val d’Aoste.

Further south in the Pyrenees a husband and wife were hit by a slide on the Spanish side of the border near Luchon. The avalanche happened on the south side of the Pic de Sauvegarde in the vallée de Bénasque. The PGHM from Luchon assisted their Spanish colleagues. The ski tourers were carried 500 meters by the slide into a terraiin trap. The man managed to stay on the surface of the slide. The rescue services have not been able to recover the body of the wife.

la Depech

Posted by davidof on  Monday, 08 December, 2008  at 10:06 AM

Article in the same vein in the Dauphine this morning concerning the Isere department.

Posted by davidof on  Monday, 08 December, 2008  at 10:26 AM

The 4 Italian skiers have been named as Federico Negris, Walter Rivoira, Marco Capone (high mountain guide) and Massimo Podio. All well known in the world of Italian ski mountaineering.

Federico Negri on the NE face of Tardevant.



Posted by davidof on  Monday, 08 December, 2008  at 03:30 PM

This is the result of the huge increase in the number of backcountry enthusiasts, which is what the ski industry is making as its point of emphasis.  Most of these folks don’t have the skills to go out in the backcountry, but are lulled into a false sense of security by their backcountry equipment.

Posted by  on  Monday, 08 December, 2008  at 05:27 PM
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