Two fully certified IFMGA mountain guides died in two different avalanches in Austria today. One in Lech and one in Arlberg.
The first avalanche death happened in the Mohnenfluh area between Lech and Schröcken at about 10am today. The guide skied down first, triggered the avalanche, and was fully buried. His clients located and extracted him but he had already passed away.
The second avalanche death happened in the Mehlsack area at about 11:20am today. Same story: the guide skied down first, triggered the avalanche, and was fully buried. The clients found him and dug him up, but he was already dead. He was buried 6-feet below the surface. This guide was 71-years-old.
Ski guides almost always ski down first to show the clients how to ski the slope, where to ski the slope, to test the slope, and to leave a track that the clients can reference. “Don’t ski left of my tracks” or something of the like is what you’ll nearly always hear from ski guides. This practice puts guides at more risk than the clients as the first person to ski down generally takes the biggest risk if avalanche conditions are dangerous.
Our friend was taken out by an avalanche in Arlberg, Austria today by an avalanche triggered by another party above:
“.We were riding at a different resort where one of my friends got caught from people dropping in above…”
Avalanche danger is rated a 3 out of 5 when and where these avalanches happened today.
Be safe out there.