8 People died in 4 separate avalanches in 1 day Switzerland yesterday, Saturday, January 31st, 2015. This brings the total avalanche deaths in Switzerland this winter to 17. In the Alps this winter, there have been a staggering 49 avalanches deaths. 49 people have died in avalanches in the Alps this year and it’s only the start of February.
Avalanche danger was rated as “Considerable” (3 out of 5) in all the areas where these deadly avalanches occurred.
Details from all these avalanches are still coming in. Here is what we know so far.
4 DEADLY AVALANCHES IN SWITZERLAND YESTERDAY:
1. 5 skiers died in an avalanche in the PIz Vilan region of Switzerland on Saturday afternoon. These 5 skiers were with a group of 9 skiers from Zurich when the avalanche struck. 7 of the 9 skiers were fully buried in the avalanche. This avalanche struck on the Vilan mountain on a Northeast aspect at on a slope estimated to be 35º. This avalanche occurred in a backcountry area.
2. Two different freeriders were killed in two different avalanche in the Bern Alps of Switzerland. One of these avalanches occurred on the Schilthoren mountain at 2380-meters on an East aspect on a slope estimated to be 31-35º. The other avalanche occurred on the Luegli mountain at 2000-meters on a North aspect. Both of these avalanches occurred in off-piste areas.
3. One avalanche death in Wildhaus, Switzerland. This avalanche occurred on the Hinderrugg mountain on a West aspect at 2270-meters on a slope estimaged to be 41-45º. This avalanche occurred in an off-piste area.
4. There were also two skiers caught in an avalanche in Verbier, Switzerland. Both skiers survived with only minor injuries.
We will report more on these avalanches as more information becomes available. This was one extremely horrible day in Switzerland.