A 33-year-old snowboarder from Germany passed away in an avalanche in the Austrian resort Obergurgl on Christmas Day. The victim was riding off-piste with her brother. The woman was caught by a very large avalanche of around 600 meters long and 400 meters wide around noon. The woman was completely covered by the snow masses. Although they both carried avalanche beacons and the brother immediately called the emergency services, the help came too late. After 35 minutes, the woman was rescued from the snow masses. Unfortunately, she had already died.
The accident took place around the Hohe Mut, the southernmost part of the ski resort of Obergurgl. When riding down the Hohe Mut towards the southwest, the snow started sliding (see the map below). This line is a relatively well-known off-piste descent in the ski area of Obergurgl.
According to a first analysis of the avalanche service old snow in combination with fresh snow and a strong wind may have been the cocktail which resulted in a weak snow cover.
In the run up to Christmas, The avalanche services warned us of the so-called 'first beautiful day after a period with storm' after a period of rain, snow and a lot of wind before Christmas. The avalanche risk was 4 (HIGH) on Monday and 3 on Tuesday (CONSIDERABLE).
Our thoughts go out to family and friends.