Police urge caution after avalanche

20th December 2012, by Abi Butcher

The 23-year-old skier was caught in a slide on the Col de la Mouche in Nendaz

The 23-year-old skier was caught in a slide on the Col de la Mouche in Nendaz

Skiers and snowboarders in are being warned to take extra care after a 23-year-old Swedish woman died yesterday in an avalanche in Nendaz, Switzerland.

The woman, who has not yet been named, was skiing off-piste with three others when they were caught in a slide on the Col de la Mouche at 11am yesterday morning. She was found and airlifted to hospital in Sion but died from her injuries. Local reports suggest she was wearing an avalanche airbag.

Valais, like many parts of Switzerland and France, has received heavy snowfalls in the past few weeks — two metres in five days — and yesterday, as the sun came out, police in the region warned skiers to take extra care.

“The practice of ski touring and off-piste skiing is very exposed this weekend because of recent snowfalls,” said a police spokesman, urging people not to ski off-piste unless they are properly prepared.

In Austria, a 48-year-old Russian skier died after being swept away by an avalanche in Schöngraben, on the Tirolean side of the Arlberg earlier this week,

Earlier in December, 24-year-old British skier Jamie Muncer was caught in an avalanche about the Col de Mines in Verbier. Read an account of his experience of being buried by snow here on Verbinet.

Avalanche warnings in Switzerland are currently between two (moderate) and three (considerable), and it is snowing again today, with heavier falls predicted for Christmas eve.

Early season slides are also being reported in the US, where on Tuesday a woman was rescued after being buried by snow in an avalanche on Washington state’s Crystal Mountain. The local rescue team and an avalanche rescue dog located the woman who made a lucky escape after being buried for 15 minutes.

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