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Video of Tignes avalanche
Friday October 11, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

An avalanche 400m long and 300m wide swept down the Grande Motte glacier on Sunday and went on to the piste. It was started by people skiing off piste. It follows heavy snow across the Alps and a video of the search has been posted.

It happened on Sunday afternoon during the opening weekend of the season for the resort.

Hundreds of people had been enjoying the excellent early season snow in Tignes.

There were some of the best conditions for the resort opening in recent years with heavy, fresh snow.

It was however accompanied by high winds that built up the snow levels in places.

A group of people hiked up above the top of the Grande Motte cable car at an altitude of 3,600m. 

As they started their descent, above the marked run, they triggered an avalanche that went down over the pistes.

It was 300m wide and 400m long according to the mountain police.

The emergency services were on the scene within minutes once the alarm had been raised and rescued the off piste skiers.

They were aided by passing skiers and snowboarders who helped in a search operation.

The organisation, TV Mountain, has posted the video below on Your Tube.  

Antoine Bouvier was filming his telemarking skiing on the day when the avalanche occurred.  The search operation is a 1'50".

For on more on tvmountain see its web site here.

The authorities were unsure if anyone had been caught in the slide and around 70 people carried out a search with transceivers, probes and avalanche dogs.

No-one was found buried and no-one has been reported missing from the resort.

Such big avalanches are unusual at this time of year but there had been a huge snowstorm across the Alps as we have reported in this earlier article on PlanetSKI and the slopes are unstable.  It contains our first reports on the avalanche.

The fresh snow had nothing to bond to.

There were 80km per hour winds on the Grande Motte and this would have led to a build up of snow.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

It once again raises the question of the responsibility of those that ski off piste and the dangers they can put others in.

Last season we spent a day with the avalanche patrol in Tignes to see the dangerous and demanding work they undertake.

We went out with them at dawn as they made the slopes safe; see that story here.

We will bring you further details on the incident this weekend when we get them.

For the spirit of the mountains

Hautes Pyrenees




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