According to Nine MSN, two Italian cross-country skiers were killed in the Maederluecke mountain pass on Saturday after a 1,000-foot wide avalanche swept away three skiers that were in its path. Rescue services, which consisted of three dog teams and two helicopters, rushed to the scene, but by the time that they got there, another group of skiers had already located the skiers and dug them out.
“Two people died from their injuries. They were two Italian nationals, aged 20 and 24,” police said in a statement.
Police in Valais, which is home to many popular ski resorts such as Zermatt and Crans-Montana, had warned on Friday that there was a high risk of avalanches across the canton this weekend following several days of heavy snowfall. The risk was listed to be a three on a scale of five, which indicates that there is a serious risk of avalanche when venturing out into terrain that isn’t controlled.
The avalanche danger varied throughout the Canton, in some parts the avalanche danger was a four, but not where the fatal avalanche occurred on Saturday. This area is especially avalanche prone, which is exemplified through the fact that there were 12 avalanche deaths that occurred in Valais throughout the 2014-15 ski season.