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Tignes Avalanche - 4 dead, 5 missing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Tignes is right next to Val d'Isere in France. Here's the report from the BBC. The far off pic looks scary.

 

This story has more details,

 

Quote:
He said the five other skiers have been located and were "in the process of being extracted" from the snow in an area that is hard to reach with mechanical equipment. The rescuer, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said it is unclear whether all five are still alive.
Quote:
The avalanche struck an area 400 meters (1,300 feet) wide at about 2,100 meters (6,900 feet) in altitude in an off-piste sector known as Toviere, the rescue company said.
post #2 of 7

This is just off to the skier's right of some of the pistes heading into town, so not really a far away off-piste area. You can see it from at least one of the resort's web cams.

post #3 of 7

Wow that's scary looking. I can't tell from the article though. It says it was triggered by skiers higher up, were they on piste and triggered an avalanche below in the off-piste area or were all of them skiing off piste?

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post
 

Wow that's scary looking. I can't tell from the article though. It says it was triggered by skiers higher up, were they on piste and triggered an avalanche below in the off-piste area or were all of them skiing off piste?

From what i can tell, the four boarders were walking with a guide when the avalanche was triggered by them. Scary stuff

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Two more reports contain conflicting info. CNN and NY Times. At least the 5 missing that had been located and were in the the process of being recovered was "wrong". Now there is a report of one survivor. There is hope that a complete and accurate accounting of this accident will come out in the future. For now, the slide was either 100 feet wide, 100 meters wide or 300 meters across and occurred at either 6900 or 7000 feet . My guess is the updated WHIO report is the most accurate. Initial reports had the slide triggered by skiers above them. Later reports deemed it a natural slide.

post #6 of 7

The avalanche occurred here : as per locals , crown at points of slide was 200 meters wide.

https://www.google.fr/maps/place/45%C2%B028'02.6%22N+6%C2%B054'52.1%22E/@45.4674047,6.9122973,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d45.467401!4d6.914486

 

This article consolidates several reports and has a spectacular video tribute of the veteran ESF instructor, 59 years old Laurent Ruiz - the ESF instructors are incredible skiers, and this situation seems really tough:

http://www.planetski.eu/news/8786

 

And for those who do not know, where the slide occurred, the off-piste terrain called the Lavachet Wall itself has two entrances, one relatively benign, from viewers right (picture viewer) through the avalanche guards, and one traverses over a cliff band, into a narrowish entrance carefully, then it opens out, the other entrance from Viewers left coming in from the Toviere top, around Mickey's Ears ( a feature around a radio or transmission tower) which has genuinely hairy couloirs to negotiate. The Lavachet wall itself is steep, but wide open and usually a great powder field BUT, it is known and listed clearly in every guidebook on off-piste skiing in Tignes-Val D'Isere as VERY DANGEROUS as it is more prone to avalanche slides than many other similar grade slopes, one reason being it is South facing so sun impact, and wind deposited slabs make it extremely deleterious to a skiers health after fresh snowfall.

 

One great online reference of some of the off-piste routes is by this British gent who is a long-time local there and guides :From his web description which is echoed by the encyclopedias of the glory of L'Espace Killy is this passage about the Lavachet Wall: (Click on the picture to load larger version, and the 3rd pink-purple line from the viewers left is the line in question, but the entry one understands came from viewers right through avy barrier guards)

Tignes Le Lac

routestigneslacSeveral quite interesting skiing and snowboarding routes with short vertical drops but a fairly intense level of steepness.

  • Light Blue Route – Lavachet Wall
    Take the Aeroski lift to the top and then descend the piste to the left till you get to the top of the drag lift track. If the drag lift is closed (most of the time), use the piste track to get over the flatter area till you reach the start of the wall. Several ski routes are possible, including a reasonably hairy one through the avalanche fences, all ending up on the pistes in Le Lac. CAREFUL – This wall is very unstable if the weather is warm or there has been windy weather and many avalanches occur here.

 

 

His web-page is : http://www.chaletchardons.com/en/tignes-off-piste/

 

Trail map : http://en.tignes.net/what-to-see-do/skiing/ski-map

Zoom to Tignes Le Lac, the Lavachet Wall is below the Val Claret label (the label is of the town above.

 

This story has a video and one can see two consecutive slabs broke, and the lower one looks humongous, which explains why one of the victims was found under over 15 feet of snow:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4219570/Avalanche-kills-four-people-French-Alps.html

 

A father, and his two sons, and the instructor, what a mind-numbing loss on such a deceptively 'good' looking slope.


Edited by dustyfog - 2/14/17 at 8:01am
post #7 of 7
I was in Courmayeur that day and we heard about this. The weather in Chamonix had been very warm with the southern wind coming in so strong it closed the Aiguille de Midi tram. ( Main lift from town) Cour was much cooler with some fresh dry pow but by end of day seemed to be much warmer.
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