Extreme avalanche risk in Savoie this weekend

The fresh snow, rising temperatures and strong winds from the west have moved the avalanche risk to Extreme (5/5) in the Savoie and Haute-Savoie departments for Saturday. Météo France has warned all backcountry travellers to avoid any steep routes (>30 degrees) and even on low angled routes travellers should keep well clear of steep slopes above, especially routes traversed by known avalanche paths.

avalanche chalet

Some roads and habitations could be threatened although Météo France say conditions are far from exceptional and there is no reason to be alarmed. Off Piste skiing and ski touring should be avoided in most circumstances this weekend. Do not duck ropes in resort or ski closed runs. The risk is High in the Isère and Hautes-Alpes departments. There have already been 44 avalanche deaths in France this season.

Further information: Current and historic snow conditions

Posted by on Friday, 03 March, 2006 at 05:20 PM

The world ski mountaineering championships were also interrupted by an avalanche today. There were no serious injuries amongst the competitors or officials. All competitors are equipped with avalanche beacons. In total 13 people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Source: Avalanche aux championnats du monde de ski de montagne : Surprise et chance. - Kairn.com

Posted by davidof on  Friday, 03 March, 2006  at 07:21 PM

Also in the Hautes Alpes there is Extreme avalanche danger 5/5, so be extremely carefull!

Posted by Rogier on  Saturday, 04 March, 2006  at 06:05 PM

The weather is pretty poor today. We have decided not travel – we were due to go to a ski mountaineering competition in the Chartreuse. It is sleeting at valley level in the Isère with snow settling from about 450 meters.

As Rogier says snowfall has been heavy in the Champsaur, Pelvoux, Thabor and Embrunnais mountains in the Southern Alps. The avalanche risk is maximum in these areas and the authorities have asked people to respect any security information in ski resorts or in other mountain areas, to consult with professionals and to check for road information before traveling.

Connections to many ski resorts in the Savoie were cut overnight on security grounds. Currently access to the resort of Vallorcine in the Haute-Savoie is still closed due to the risk of avalanche and the col de la Féclaz.between France and Switzerland is closed.

An avalanche blocked access to les Saisies and Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe but this has been cleared. An avalanche also hit two cars near Risoul and an off-piste skier triggered a slide at Saint-François-Longchamp without injury.

=== Update 19:00 ===
Two Belgium skiers have been injured in an avalanche at 14h50 in the ski resort of Serre-Chevalier. The avalanche occured in a steep, wooded area at 1850 meters in the Monêtier-les-Bains sector.

Road access to many Savoie resorts remains difficult with the road to Val d’Isère and Tignes closed after Ste Foy en Tarentaise. The road and rail link between Chamonix and Vallorcine remains blocked although some hardy tourists made it out on foot by following the railway line.

Posted by davidof on  Sunday, 05 March, 2006  at 01:08 PM
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