Julien Lopez Triggers Large Avalanche During Freeride World Tour Competition

SnowBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche

Julien Lopez triggered a very large avalanche during competition at the Freeride World Tour in Kappl, Austria today.  

He dropped a big cliff, crashed, then triggered the avalanche when he was hiking back up to retrieve his skis.  He was swept down a small chute, but managed to stay on top of the avalanche.  He had an avalanche airbag backpack and he triggered the airbag to inflate which very likely helped him stay on top.

Julien was uninjured in the avalanche, thankfully.  He was the 2nd rider of the day to ski. After the avalanche occurred, the comp was cancelled.

This avalanche really shows us that despite the best assessment, despite using bombs, despite Julien having already slammed into the slope when he landed and crashed, avalanches can still occur.

It’s been a very difficult season this year in the Alps with 50 avalanche deaths in the Alps already.

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2 thoughts on “Julien Lopez Triggers Large Avalanche During Freeride World Tour Competition

  1. Ok snowbrains, I’m calling you out. Not as bad as TGR, who called it MASSIVE, but you guys called this a large avalanche. I would call it a SMALL avalanche. Please read the European definition of a large avalanche, note the numbers are similiar to the Canadian and United States classification. I don’t think it is fair to let readers believe that this is a large avalanche.

    Since this avalanche happened in Europe, we should use the European definition of avalanche size:

    European avalanche size table[edit]
    Avalanche size:

    Size – Runout Potential Damage Physical Size

    1 – Sluff – Small snow slide that cannot bury a person, though there is a danger of falling. Unlikely, but possible risk of injury or death to people. length <50 m
    volume <100 m³

    2 – Small Stops within the slope. Could bury, injure or kill a person. length <100 m
    volume <1,000 m³

    3 – Medium Runs to the bottom of the slope. Could bury and destroy a car, damage a truck, destroy small buildings or break trees. length <1,000 m
    volume 1,000 m
    volume >10,000 m³

    1. Hey Todd, thanks for the note.

      From the measurements you provided here, I’d personally say that that avalanche could have certainly buried a car thus making it a Medium sized avalanche.

      Relative to its potential, this avalanche went as big as it could have been pulling out the entire hanging shelf. Once the avy launched off the cliff, it triggered another avalanche at the base of the cliff adding to the original avalanche’s size.

      There was a lot of snow moving. Lets go with a Medium sized avalanche. Scary stuff. thanks.

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