Snow causes fatalities and closures

30th January 2015, by Abi Butcher

Heavy snow has fallen in the French Alps. This is Avoriaz today.

Heavy snow has fallen in the French Alps. This is Avoriaz today.

Resorts in the Alps are closed today due to colossal amounts of snow falling — and there is more to come. Many that are open have raised the avalanche danger level from three to four (high).

In the past two days there have been three fatalities in separate avalanches across the Austrian, French and Swiss Alps.

On Wednesday, two skiers triggered an avalanche in Kitzbühel, Austria, and were pushed into a stream bed on Hornköpfl on Wednesday. One was resuscitated at the scene but died later in hospital.

Also on Wednesday afternoon, in the French Vercors near Grenoble, a group of 15 teenagers were caught in an avalanche where a 17-year-old boy died. The group was with three adults, including a mountain guide who was caught and partially buried in the slide in the Chaulange valley. None were wearing bleepers, shovels or probes. The boy was found by an avalanche dog after a two-hour search.

In Verbier, Switzerland, a 17-year-old German girl died yesterday after she and four others were caught in a slide on the Vallon d’Arbi. The route was closed at the time and none of the skiers in the group were carrying avalanche equipment.

The avalanche danger level has been raised to four in the Four Valleys (Verbier, Nendaz and Veysonnaz) and many parts of the northern French Alps which has seen the lion’s share of the snow so far with between 40-70cm falling.

The mountain is closed in Val d’Isère due to the sheer amount of snow. Where to Ski and Snowboard reader Jane Milan said there is “masses of snow” and sent us this picture.


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