Avalanche Kids Risk Year in Jail

Two off-piste skiers who caused an avalanche on 24th of February in the ski resort of Saint-Jean-Montclar in the Alpes de Haute Provence are to appear in court in Digne-les-Bains on the 8th of April charged with reckless endangerment.

Five members of the mountain police were hit by the slide and a member of the piste patrol who came to their assistance suffered a fracture to his femur after being carried 300 meters.  The local skiers, aged 21 and 26 years, risk one year in prison and a 15,000 euro fine.  The avalanche risk was 3 [considerable] at the time.

This is not the first time that state has attempted to prosecute off-piste skiers.  Raoul Surcouf, a Jersey resident was fined 10,000 Francs and banned from skiing in France for a year after passing ropes and danger signs on the 21st of January 1998 in the resort of Montgenèvre.  Descending a steep couloir in the Chalvet sector he triggered a large avalanche that hit the piste below but without injuring any of the dozen skiers on the slope at the time.  However he successfuly appealled the decision, the court said that he and a companion were not guilty of intentionally putting other people’s lives in danger and that no-one was caught by the avalanche.

Posted by davidof on Tuesday, 02 March, 2004 at 04:06 PM

What a joke!

To me it seems completely random when you got prosecuted....

The mountain police and the member of the off piste control where IN the
avalanche path...... so they might toke the risk as well....

The second case is hard to judge.... the guy was passing a rope.
But danger signs do not tell its forbidden… it is at your OWN risk.
It is up to the piste control to release avalanches artificially. They didn’t
that job very well so it might be their fault as well.


Posted by  on  Tuesday, 02 March, 2004  at 07:50 PM

A joke??  They were in the way??  It’s a fairly basic rule that you don’t ski above other skiers off-piste. Actually forget that, it’s the most basic rule.

Posted by  on  Wednesday, 03 March, 2004  at 06:45 PM

’Five members of the mountain police were hit by the slide and a member of the piste patrol’

...and you wonder why there is talk of prosecution? Irresponsible or unlucky perhaps, but do you think they would be prosecuted had the avalanche hit ordinary people?

Posted by  on  Wednesday, 10 March, 2004  at 12:00 PM

in france i understand that ducking a rope onto a closed piste has a totally different legal position to simply going out of bounds. 

any avalanch that you set off that kills or injures anyone else leaves you wide open to prosecution for large damages.  and the french mtn cops would be well aware of this…


Posted by  on  Wednesday, 10 March, 2004  at 12:17 PM
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