Tignes Avalanche buries two skiers

Two off piste skiers have been hit by an avalanche in the Tovière sector of Tignes a little before midday, a third skier escaped the slide. The avalanche occurred on a north sector slope under the top of the Aeroski lift close to the Paquerettes black itinerary. The run was closed at the time. The sector is avalanche prone.

[update: the young woman died late this afternoon]

Piste patrollers from Tignes and Val d’Isere recovered both skiers, one in a very serious condition who had a long road transfer to hospital in Grenoble (road to BsM then collected by the Grenoble Civil Security rescue helicopter that was able to fly under the low cloud). The CRS Rescue helicopter stationed in Modane was unable to fly to Tignes due to the poor weather conditions and the Courchevel helicopter is not yet in service. Conditions were poor with limited visibility. As head of piste security, Dominique Maitre explained, the avalanche was right next to a patroller’s hut hence the speed getting to the scene of the accident. Meteo France (and PisteHors) has warned of a high avalanche risk in the Alps. The area has seen over a meter of snow with drifting over the last 5 days.

Posted by davidof on Wednesday, 05 December, 2012 at 12:43 PM

There was some confusion about the fate of the second skier. She was in a state of cardiovascular arrest when the report first came in (from a spokeman the Tignes piste patrol) but the rescue workers got the victim’s heart going and she is now at hospital but it will be touch and go.

Posted by davidof on  Wednesday, 05 December, 2012  at 03:15 PM

I’m doing a health project on the personalities of snowboarders [edited]

[note: Ashley this is not the appropriate place for your question, you should repost it in the forum]

Posted by  on  Thursday, 06 December, 2012  at 02:11 PM

Sadly the young skier, a trainee instructor with the UCPA, died this afternoon. She was skiing with a teacher and another trainee at the time of the accident. Other UCPA groups were skiing on an adjacent but open ski run. The director of the UCPA in Tignes said the programme was strictly on-piste yesterday and the rule is that beacons, shovels and probes must be worn when going off piste. The prosecutor in Albertville has launched a manslaughter investigation.

Today the avalanche zone was covered over with fresh snow and completely tracked out by skiers. Pisteurs above the avalanche zone were checking skiers for avalanche beacons and there were a number who had no rescue gear. The risk off piste, 4 on a scale of 5, was not obviously lower today compared to yesterday.

Posted by davidof on  Thursday, 06 December, 2012  at 07:21 PM

This is a huge tragedy. If they had been wearing transcievers it would have been a different story.  The leader (who wasn’t buried) would have been able to locate them in a couple of minutes. In the event it took the mobilisation of hundreds of searchers with probes to locate the victim and by then over half an hour had elapsed, and that is usually too long for life.
There seems to be a lack of respect of the mountains and between the people in the offpiste.
The French culture seems to be almost callous and insensitive.  For instance the newsclips I’ve been researching on this contain trailers and intros that are completely inappropriate for the news content.
Users of beacons are selfish.  They shouldn’t be carrying beacons they should be equipped with avalanche transcievers that can be switched to receive for search and rescue of others.  A beacon is transmit only.

Posted by  on  Friday, 07 December, 2012  at 11:12 AM

We were two groups of ten with a trainer in each group. For those who know Tignes we were in the Toviere sector on the Paquerettes black only nowadays it is not marked so an off piste. We had the OK of the piste patrol to go. Each group took a different couloir, in the middle a big drift that separated the couloirs, our trainers checked the terrain, tried to provoke a slide etc. My trainer went first and each group went one by one into the couloirs. I was in 9th place. I waited for my trainer who shouted “stop, don’t go to the left”. I looked round and saw the slide had taken the other trainer, he managed to stay on the surface by grabing onto a rock. I was taken up to my waist, my trainer saved my life or I would have been in the middle of it. We saw the slide break above us. I didn’t realise at the start, then everything went very quickly.  We found the first victim because his hand was sticking out of the snow then the patrollers arrived and began to probe. Lots of reinforcements arrived, the ESF, the ENSA. We found N after 20 minutes which seemed like hours to me, he didn’t have any injuries and is ok but very shocked then Chloe after another 25 minutes, her heart had stopped, then activity restarted, then an artificial coma, we kept our hopes up but she died yesterday. We are thinking a great deal about her family.

Posted by davidof on  Monday, 10 December, 2012  at 11:56 AM
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