12 Dead from 10 Avalanches in the Alps Last Week


St. Moritz avy

Avalanche experts gather information from the crown of a big avalanche on the south-facing slope of the Piz Nair above St. Moritz ski resort in Switzerland. The avalanche killed one person who was skiing off  piste. Photograph: EPA/Giancarlo Cattaneo

The southern European Alps received a huge storm over Christmas week (Dec. 23rd to 26th) that dropped up to 6-feet of snow in 24 hours in spots.  This heavy snow fell along with 130 MPH winds creating large windslabs on top of a very weak layer.  The combination of this snow, wind, and weak layer added up to many fatal avalanches in the Alps last week.

Europe was experiencing low snow levels and poor conditions previous to this storm.  This storm came in and unloaded large amounts of snow during the Christmas holiday.  Many tourist came to the alps to celebrate Christmas and they were excited by great conditions and new snow.  This series of factors lead to the deadly avalanches that occurred in the Alps last week.

France ski

Courchevel, France

CHRISTMAS WEEK AVALANCHES IN EUROPEAN ALPS:

1.  50-year-old man dies in avalanche in Courchevel, France.  Friday, December 27th, 2013.

2.  Teenage skier dies in hospital after being buried by avalanche in Serre-Chevalier, France.  Friday, December 27th, 2013.

3.  Two people in serious condition after 6 skiers and snowboarders were caught in an avalanche in La Clusaz, France.  This avalanche occurred at 2,200 meters (7,217 ft) out of bounds at La Clusaz on Friday, December 27th, 2013.

4.  18-year-old dies in an avalanche in La Plagne, France on Friday, December 27th, 2013.

5.  27-year-old Irishman dies in an avalanche in the Uri region of Switzerland on Friday, December 27th, 2013.

6.  A skier died in an avalanche in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Friday, December 27th, 2013.

7.  Seven skiers were caught in an avalanche in Val-Thorens.  No fatalities.  Friday, December 27th, 2013.

8.  Two Italian snowboarders died in avalanche near ski resort of Pila, Aosta Valley, Italy on Saturday, December 28th, 2013.

9.  Teenage boy died in an avalanche out of bounds near ski resort of Claviere, in Piedmont, France on Sunday, December 29th, 2013.

10.  A 24-year-old French skier died in an avalanche in the Italian Alps near Turin on Thursday, December 26th, 2013.

11.  A Spanish skier died in an avalanche in Andorra (not Alps, Pyrenees) on Last Wednesday.

Please be careful out there humans.

Learn more about Avalanches here:

SnowBrains.com’s Avalanche Webpage

Comment(s): 6

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  4. Simon

    More information please!
    did they act according to the standard backcountry rules?
    did they use proper gear?
    please, so the others can learn from their mistakes

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    1. Stan

      If this is the accident that occurred in the commune of Mase under The summit de la Pointe de Masserey on Sunday, Jan 5, 2014; it was a party of six participants in a 2 day avalanche training course with a guide. The party was returning from the final day of the course. The party did not trigger the avalanche, according to reports. Initially, 2 members and the guide were killed, with a third party member evacuated to hospital in critical condition. This person subsequently died, leaving the toll at 4.

      There was a separate avalanche incident in Nendaz on the same day that cost a Swiss skier his life.

      http://www.lenouvelliste.ch/fr/valais/sion/avalanches-en-serie-un-mort-a-nendaz-trois-a-mase-497-1249256

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