Snow and Avalanche Center 2018 Avalanche News

Avalanche Buries school kids as French Alps ski run torn apart

AN AVALANCHE buried skiers, including school children, when they were on the slopes in the French Alps in seconds.
Published 18th December 2018

Chris Newton was on holiday in the French Alps. He was on the slopes alongside groups of learners, mostly school children.

“We were skiing along and everything was perfectly normal,” he said.

But there was a hidden danger quickly approaching. The wind suddenly picked up and a sheet of white blanketed the piste. A group of skiers went hurtling to the floor against the snow.

The heavy snow had caused an avalanche which went down the blue run, which is mainly used for intermediate skiers.

“We were being pelted with ice,” Chris added. “We were completely blinded by snow.”

When the snow cleared, only a few people were visible with the rest buried. Chris said: “I saw hands emerging in the snow, which was really scary.”

But people jumped into action, digging to get others out. The clock was against them as they only had 15 minutes to endure the best chance of survival.

Chris and the other skies drove their poles upside down into the snow to find people.

And they managed to free dozens of people from the snow, with everyone escaping.

“It was quite surreal,” Chris concluded.

“One minute you’re skiing down the mountain, the next you’re looking for bodies.

“It was a freak event which I’m unlikely to ever see again. Hopefully, anyway.”

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