News Headlines     |     


Monday February 19, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

He is 23-year old Jordan Waugh and he worked for VIP SKI. Elsewhere a 12-year old boy died when he fell over a cliff in Avoriaz & a woman has died in an avalanche in Switzerland. UPDATED


He was skiing off-piste with two friends on Saturday afternoon near the resort of Oz en Oisans in the Alpe d'Huez ski area when the group got lost.

Jordan Waugh, from York, was employed as a resort coordinator for VIP SKI and moved to Alpe d'Huez at the start of the ski season.

Last summer he graduated from Northumbria University with a Masters [MSc] in international business management.

Mountain rescuers said the group ended up in a "very steep and icy" area with rocky outcrops. 

"They were following ski tracks but they got lost when the tracks came to an end," said a spokesman from the mountain rescue.

"They saw a marked slope in the distance and were trying to get to that. But the area they had to go through was very unstable, made up of ridges and a mixture of snow and rocks."

The group were described as experienced skiers and Mr Waugh also represented the university at hockey.

 "The most important thing for us is that Jordan was with his friends. He was skiing, doing what he loved," Karen Waugh, his mother, said in a statement. "We please ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time".

The group were skiing in the Alpette sector of the mountain when the accident happened.

All three skiers fell at different times.

Last night, VIP SKI confirmed that a young woman, who has not been named, remains in hospital in intensive care.

She is said to be in a serious but stable condition.

The third skier was unharmed and alerted the rescue services.

The group were evacuated by helicopter, however Mr Waugh could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

"Our efforts are currently concentrated on providing unlimited support and assistance to the victims of the accident, their colleagues and most importantly, the family of the deceased, to whom we extend our heartfelt sympathies and wholehearted condolences," said the managing director of VIP SKI,  Andy Sturt.

The Foreign Office has been in close contact with local authorities and the family involved.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time," said a statement.

It follows the death of 12-year-old boy who died in the French resort of Avoriaz after falling over a cliff.

He was with his 10-year old brother who also fell.

They appear to have got lost, removed their skis and entered a forest, before plunging off a 150m cliff.

They were found by rescuers overnight at 4AM local time.

The alarm was raised after they failed to return after skiing.

The elder boy died but his younger brother survived.

Reports claim the father left the boys to return to the resort together after he took his 6-year old daughter back.

The boys then got lost.

The boy who survived in being treated for shock and a broken pelvis.  

The names and nationalities have not been released.

An avalanche has killed a woman in Switzerland.

Swiss police say four skiers were carried away on Saturday afternoon after leaving a mountain hut in the Arolla area.

They were planning to ski the l'Aiguille du Tsa couloir at  3,600m Rescuers were able to recover them and take them to the hospital by helicopter.

But police said Sunday that one of them, a 40-year-old local woman, died overnight at a hospital in Sion.

13 people have died in avalanche in Switzerland this winter. 3 off piste and 10 in the back-country.  

Swiss mountain rescue policeSwiss mountain rescue police

Last Wednesday a 21-year-old British man has died from hitting a tree while skiing in Switzerland.

The man was on holiday with his family in Les Diablerets.

He hit a tree on the edge of the piste and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident happened at the Lake Geneva resort at the end of the ski day, at around 3.30pm, on Wednesday 21st.

Photo MySwitzerland.comLes Diablerets, Switzelrand Tourism image

Meanwhile a 50-year-old Dutchamna has died in the Austrian resort of Soelden.

He fell on the piste and hit a wooden marker post.   

The accident happened on Sunday and no-one else was involved in the incident.
Other skiers gave first aid but they were unable to revive him and he died at the scene.

An investigation is underway


There's both fortunate and more sad news from Europe today as the snow challenges skiers on the hill.

A man in Glencoe Mountain Resort in the Scottish Highlands escaped serious injury after triggering an avalanche that buried him neck-deep in snow.

Trapped for 40 minutes, he eventually created enough space in the snowpack to reach for his telephone and call for help.

And in Tignes in the Espace Killy, France a skier has died after falling 50m into a crevasse in an off-piste area.

The accident happenned on the Grande Motte Glacier.

He ventured into the area alone, equipped for off-piste skiing carrying an ARVA and Air Bag.

A guide spotted the skier in the area who raised the alarm.

But unfortunately rescuers found the body of the skier who had not survived his fall.

The sad news comes just days after a father and his 11-year-old daughter were killed in an avalanche in the Espcae Killy, close by in Val d'Isere.

The mountain and snow conditions are dangerous in the current state across the Alps.

We urge skiers not to take risks and ski only on pistes that are open and deemed safe by local resort controllers.

The heavy snow has led to a high number of fatal accidents this year in Europe.

France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy have all suffered from dangerous weather conditions at times this winter.

Storms and snowslides left the mountain towns of St Anton and Zermatt cut off in January for days with the access roads and rail links blocked.

Tignes was on lockdown against the elements and more than 1,000 winter holidayers in the Tarentaise Valley were left stranded, beaten by the sheer amount of snow. 

Nick Nault FacebookPhoto credit Nick Nault

And it has just kept on coming since.

Now it's not just the amount of snowfall that causes avalanches - changes in temperature and wind play their role.

But it is down to the huge volume of snow that's fallen this season, records for many places, that has lead to the current conditions.

Last weekend a father and daughter lost their lives in an avalanche in Val d'Isere while two hikers in the Valais area of the Swiss Alps were injured in another.

 A cross-country skier was also killed in an off-piste area near the Giettaz-en-Aravis ski resort in France, news outlet DW reports.
Avalanche warnings have stood at 3/5 in these areas.

It is the level where the most deaths and injuries are recorded.

3 out of 5 indicates 'considerable' risk.

Here is the current state of play in Switzerland.

Avalanche risk, Tuesday 20th FebruaryAvalanche risk, Tuesday 20th February

So, what to do?

Stay aware of the conditions, seek the advice of experts in your resort and area and don't take any risks.

A level 3 dictates that you should not ski on a slope steeper that 30 degrees - or even one that has a 30-degree slope above it.

You can use a ski pole to mesure the incline - prepare before you put yourselves out there! 

If you want to head off piste then it's best to do so with a qualified instructor or mountain guide.

Or even better, sign up for an off piste safety course to build up your knowledge and experience, preparing you better for unpredictable and harsh mountain conditions.
Image from Gallatin National Forest Avalanche CentreImage from Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Centre

The risks are high when taking part in these winter sports and we acknowledge these when putting ourselves in the mountains and under the overarching power of Mother Nature.

But last weekend, and indeed this year, has dealt some heavy blows.

A snowshoe hiker lost his life after an avalanche hit near Kandersteg on New Year's Eve.

Two German skiers were buried and killed by an avalanche near Kals in the Austrian Tirol.

Three people died in storm Eleanor in the French Alps and a mother and daughter lost their lives in Italy.

A Dutch woman died of the injuries sustained in an avalanche, skiing Valais, Switzerland.

At the end of last week a snowslide in the French Pyrenees lead to three deaths in the resort of Cauterets.

Two mountain rescue technicians were recovered last week after an an avalanche at Mt Grignetta in Italy.

Kandersteg. Photo - Thomas Gerber, Kandersteg. Photo - Thomas Gerber,

January is remembered for bringing the best powder and snowfall in Europe in recent years, with near to a metre falling overnight in places.

Some will remember it for leaving them marooned on a holiday.

Our thoughts are with friends and families of the winter's victims.

Stay safe on the mountain.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

Related Articles

EPIC DREAM JOB (Wednesday September 19, 2018)
WHAT'S THE TRUTH ABOUT 2018 WINTER GAMES? (Monday September 10, 2018)
IKON PASS: FOREVER EXPANDING (Sunday September 9, 2018)
POND SKIMMER CHARGED (Tuesday September 4, 2018)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners