vide of opening day powder at Tignes ski resort, October 12th, 2013.
Tignes ski resort in France just opened for the 2013/14 ski season this past weekend. They were blessed with a huge snowfall that left the place looking like mid-winter. They were cursed with a large in-bounds avalanche that luckily left no one dead.
On Sunday, a 300-yard-wide and 400-yard-long avalanche came down from the off-piste onto ski trails within the Tignes ski resort. The avalanche is reported to have been human triggered by a group of skiers who hiked up to 11,800-feet on the Grand Motte Glacier and then skied down.
Details are still fuzzy, but it’s being reported that 4 skiers were trapped and dugout of the avalanche. Right now, we aren’t sure if those skiers were the ones who caused the avalanche or if they were skiing on the in-bounds trails that the avalanche struck. Once those 4 were dugout a full probe, beacon, dog search with conducted with over 70 trained personnel on hand.
Tignes and much of the Alps had received a big snowstorm late last week that left 2 to 3+ feet of snow in many locales. Strong winds up to 50 mph were accompanied by this snowfall and there wasn’t much to for the new snow to bond to as many areas were bare rock before this storm. All this lead to the potential for large avalanches.
An investigation is currently underway to learn to exact causes of this avalanche.
In Europe, you can be held liable for injuries, damages, and deaths if you are involved in creating an avalanche. The person in the group with the most experience/avalanche education will be the one held liable. People have gone to jail for years for starting avalanches that killed or hurt other people or people in their own group.
Besides the scary avalanche, it’s clear that Tignes enjoyed a stellar opening weekend. If you’re a snow human, you’re very jealous of the Alps right now.