A large avalanche in the ski resort of Auron in the southern French Alps took the life of a 47 year old skier on Sunday the 28th of December. The skier was riding with two others in the ski resort of Auron. Auron is located in the Alpes Maritimes, and is less than two hours away from the Mediterranean. The resort got some early snow this year and had a closed snow cover at the end of November. Auron didn't get any freshies last weekend (in contradiction to other French resorts more north), but the wind was strong. This probably caused fresh drift snow.
The avalanche, with a length of 400 meters, arose when the group of three were skiing off-piste between the Haute-Plane and Combe-Armand chairlifts in the so-called Longue Sauma sector. Two of the three were able to free themselves from the avalanche, but the third person died as a result of a collision with the rocks. The avalanche danger in Auron today was 3 (on a scale of 5). This was the fifth avalanche victim this winter.
The details and cause of the accident are being investigated by the police and the justice department (this is a normal procedure). The so-called PHGM from Saint-Sauveur-de-Tinée is currently doing the investigation. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.
Very unstable snow cover
We warned you before for a very unstable snowcover. The weight of a single skier or boarder is sufficient to break the snowcover and trigger an avalanche. Going off-piste thus requires a lot of knowledge the next couple of days. Even more than in a 'normal' situation. If you don't have that knowledge, or when you don't trust your own decisions, please hire a ski and mountain guide, or stay on the slopes!
If you go off piste, always carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe with you. In addition, make sure you know your local avalanche bulletin and adapt your plans to it. Think three times before you follow other tracks and do not ride a line because others are already riding it. The situation at the moment is really dangerous! Winter is still young. What you can't ride today, you'll probably can later in the season. Be patient!