Skiers warned of high avalanche risk

2nd February 2013, by Abi Butcher

This morning's bulletin from the Swiss Avalanche Institute

This morning's bulletin from the Swiss Avalanche Institute

Avalanche warnings are high across the Alps this morning following heavy snowfalls – with more expected in the next few days.

Miserable, warm and rainy conditions gave way to heavy snow overnight, which combined with strong winds has lead to a substantial risk of snow drifts and avalanches. The Swiss Avalanche Institute has warned skiers of a “critical avalanche situation over a wide area” in its avalanche bulletin this morning to exercise “great caution and restraint” when skiing off-piste — particularly in parts of Valais where the avalanche risk is high (4). Skiers and snowboarders are warned that avalanches are to be expected below 2,000m because of the wet snow.

WTSS web editor Abi Butcher is currently in the small Swiss resort of Anzère, where it is a a white-out and the lifts are due to be closed all day. Pam Newman adds: “Everything closed in Saas-Fee too. Level 4avalanche risk. Not good!”

France is experiencing similar conditions, with more than two feet of snow expected in resorts such as Morzine and St Gervais, according to Absolutely Snow this morning. In the Hautes-Pyrenees, which has been experiencing epic snowfalls in recent weeks, avalanche warnings also remain high (4). Aldy Simmons, a ski teacher in Chamonix, has just reported on twitter a “massive spontaneous” from the Col du Passion.

With more heavy snow due across the Alps this week, the alerts are likely to remain high.

Ever wondered how avalanche warnings are set? Read on here.

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