Rescue insurance costs about 5E per day in France, purchased with your lift ticket. Carre Neige or Carte Neige--one is for the day, the other for the season, can't remember which is which.
Re PGHM (Peloton Gendarmerie De Haute Montagne)--there's a Jon Krakauer piece where he describes doing a solo ice climb--having a little difficulty, not unsolvable, and a helicopter comes by to see if he wants to be rescued.
One day on which we skied the Valle Blanche in low snow conditions there were reportedly 12 helicopter crevasse rescues. I guess the helicopters can get there faster than your friends can haul you out or you can climb out (assuming you and your friends know how to do either.)
(on the subject of crevasses--while skiers aren't typically roped up, climbers and glacier walkers typically are, and if one falls in a crevasse the others on the rope are expected to do an ice axe arrest to stop the fall of the victim. I saw a sobering video in which one person would jump into a crevasse and his partner would try to arrest his fall. There were numerous attempts and not one was successful--in all cases the second person was unable to slow the fall and was held by a previously set up belay, and in this test the partner was expecting the crevasse fall, unlike a real world situation where it would be a surprise. The implication is that maybe it's safer without the rope, better one person in the crevasse than the whole party.)
Edited by oldgoat - 2/6/16 at 11:20am