Wednesday, 19 December 2012
A skier was killed today by an avalanche while skiing off-piste in Verbier. The avalanche occurred at 11.00am , with the victim being pronounced dead in Sion hospital later the same day (Wednesday 19 Dec 2012).
It was a beautiful blue-sky day in Verbier, after recent storms had left large amounts of powder snow on the mountains. The slopes were relatively busy for this time of the year with lots of people taking advantage of the good weather and the exceptional snow cover. Verbier has had over 1.8m of new snow in the past 5 days.
The group were skiing towards the Col de la Mouche when the avalanche struck. It was 100m wide and ran for 250m down the slope. Emergency services were immediately notified, and units were despatched in helicopters by the police, and on ski by the 4 Vallees pisteurs. Unfortunately, despite the speedy response the victim was found in a very serious condition, and later pronounced dead in hospital.
The victim was a 23 year old Swedish woman. She was very well equipped for off-piste skiing with all standard safety kit, and also an airbag. It is not known at this stage whether she released the airbag during the avalanche.
Comment: It would appear that this was a slab avalanche, probably caused by the recent storm systems. The victim was excepionally well equipped for off-piste skiing. More precise details of the incident are not yet known.