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10th April 2022

Last modified on April 11th, 2022

One was buried under the snow for 15 minutes while the other managed to free himself. 50 people were involved in the rescue operation on Saturday. On Sunday a skier was dug out of an avalanche in Tignes. UPDATED

The two brothers, aged 24 and 27, were skiing off piste in the Grande Rochette area between the Rochette and Mia slopes of the French resort when they were caught in the avalanche.

It was 200m wide and 150m long.

The avalanche risk at the time was 4 on a scale of 5 meaning there was a “high’ chance of avalanche.

Neither of the pair was wearing an avalanche transceiver or had safety equipment.

It followed a large snow fall, high winds and warm temperatures.

A ski instructor saw the avalanche and alerted the rescue authorities.

Other instructors and passing skiers helped in the search operation.

“Buried under 1.5m of snow, the 27-year-old skier was located thanks to the survey of the trackers from the Grande Rochette Rescue station in less than 10 minutes,” said a statement from the La Plagne Development Company, SAP.

The victim was unconscious at 11.54am and was given immediate first aid at the scene.

He regained consciousness at 12.15pm and was airlifted to hospital in Grenoble.

His 24-year-old brother freed himself an underwent a medical examination at the resort and was pronounced healthy.

“It should be noted that the two rescued people were in an off-piste sector without safety equipment, with a high risk of avalanche, Level 4,” added the La Plagne Development Company, SAP.

The SAP has called for “the greatest vigilance and caution” from everyone as the weather clears.

The names of the brothers have not been released.

Two women on a mountain safety course above Chamonix were not so lucky over the weekend.

  • Two women on mountain safety course die in avalanche

Avalanche warning flag

Avalanche warning flag. Image c/o PlanetSKI

In an incident in Tignes the piste patrol dug out a skier from an avalanche.

On Sunday at 2.34 the authorities were told of an avalanche off piste in the Sache area with a person buried.

A rescue team was despatched by helicopter from the resort and a medical helicopter from nearby Courchevel.

Five pisteurs with an avalanche dog and a mountain guide at the scene carried out a search and found the victim by means of his avalanche transceiver.

He was dug out at 2.42, 8-minutes after the authorities heard of the incident.

The 60-year old skier has shaken but otherwise unharmed and was taken to hospital for routine checks.

The avalanche risk at the time was 3 on a scale of 5, meaning there was “considerable” risk.

The avalanche itself was 160m wide, 500m long with a vertical drop of 200m.

The director of the pistes in Tignes, Fred Bonnevie, thanked the guide for his composure and starting the search and rescue operation.

He also praised the speed and professionalism of his teams and the helicopter which reached the accident in a short time.

The pisteurs in the neighbouring resort of Val d’Isere have praised the team in Tignes for its speed and urged people to be correctly equipped.

Congratulations to our colleagues from Tignes for the speed of intervention and for a beautiful outcome..⛑️ 💪 ⛑️ 💪 ⛑️ 💪 ⛑️ 💪 ⛑️ 💪 ⛑️

The opportunity to remind the importance of alerting the emergency services quickly in the event of an accident, every second counts ⏱️ ⏱️ ⏱️, and also the importance of knowing the conditions, the terrain, to have in one’s possession all the equipment necessary to the practice of off-piste skiing and to know its use:

DVA, SHOVEL, PROBE ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

Do not hesitate to call on the Professionals

There have been other recent avalanche fatalities across the world, in Canada and Norway, as we have reported elsewhere on PlanetSKI:

  • Inbounds avalanche in Whistler kills 34-year old man

See here for the details in our updated snow report that includes information on the recent avalanche risk in France and Switzerland.

  • The PlanetSKI snow report

The authorities across the Alps are urging extreme caution off piste given the current unstable snow.

All people skiing off piste are recommended to wear an avalanche transceiver and carry a shovel and a probe.