Wednesday, 27 October 2021

French Alps: Two British skiers killed after venturing off-piste

Two British skiers fell “hundreds of metres” to their deaths near the French Alps resort of Chamonix after venturing off-piste.

The two skiers, described as a British national and Franco-British national aged 25 and 30, who were on holiday in the Alps, were skiing off-piste at around 1,700 metres altitude with a friend of around the same age.

They were skiing in the Couloir du Chapeau in the Grands Montets skiing area. Reports say they were trying to cross a rocky area.

According to the specialist mountain police who were called out once the alert was raised on Sunday morning, the two skiers fell independently of each other when they were trying to navigate a 40 degree slope.

The third skier who raised the alarm was not hurt. He was airlifted to Chamonix where an investigation was underway to determine the exact cause of the tragedy. The bodies of the victims were also recovered.

Police believe the skiers got into difficulty after following tracks to an area that was unsafe.

“The conditions at the time were not good and it seems like they followed tracks to an area where we had already been called out to on Saturday, luckily for an incident that was not serious,” a spokesman for the mountain Gendarmerie said.

Officials are warning skiers to take extreme precaution especially when venturing off-piste. Chamonix was hit by huge snowfalls in recent weeks which put the area on avalanche alert and scores of holiday-makers had to be evacuated from chalets.

The weather has been mild in recent days which has made the slopes, particularly off piste, more unstable.

A local police spokesman said: “Three British men were skiing Le Couloir Du Chapeau. It is a steep off-piste area. The snow at the moment is very hard, it is not powder skiing. The conditions in the couloir are not good.”

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