Two Are Dead After 3 Avalanches Rip Through The French Alps

Chris Wallner | BackcountryBackcountry | AvalancheAvalanche
Avalanche in the French Alps!

Two people are dead and two people are injured after three unrelated avalanches ripped through the French Alps yesterday after recent snowfall prompted an increased risk for avalanches. Two of the avalanches occurred near Val d’Isere Ski Resort, while the third avalanche struck in Saint-Colomban-des-Villards area. Very unstable snow conditions led to avalanche risks between 4 and 3, which is very high.

Val d’Isere Ski Resort!

The first avalanche occurred around 10:30am on 1/6/2016, when three skiers that were traversing from the terminus of Bellevard to the Cairns at approximately 2700 meters triggered a slab avalanche that had a crown of 80cm and spanned 80 meters wide. Luckily, the three skiers were wearing avalanche beacons and one even managed to escape the slide. The second skier was recovered unconscious and the third skier was buried under 150cm of snow for a good five minutes which led to him being discovered in a state of cardiac arrest, where he was resuscitated and airlifted to the hospital in serious condition.

Santons Piste Val d’isere after a recent avalanche!

The second avalanche of the day occurred an hour later on a slope known as Santons Piste, where a group of 4 remotely triggered an avalanche with a crown depth of 100cm and it spanned 30 meters wide. The piste was closed when the avalanche occurred. Sadly, one skier was buried under 150cm of snow. These skiers were not equipped with avalanche beacons and that forced them to wait for rescue personal to arrive. 15 minutes after the avalanche occurred, rescue personal arrived and they discovered the buried body and attempted to resuscitate the individual, but the attempts were unsuccessful.

Two of the avalanches occurred near Val d’Isère Ski Resort!

The third avalanche was unrelated and didn’t occur near Val d’Isère Ski Resort, but a 30-year-old Czech man was killed by a large avalanche swept through the Saint-Colomban-des-Villards area which is west of Val d’Isère. The man was equipped with necessary avalanche equipment and he had an airbag, but that wasn’t enough to save his life. He was with a partner at the time of the avalanche, who was able to escape.


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