Tignes, France – On Monday, February 13, 2017 four snowboarders were caught in an avalanche in an off piste area at the ski resort of Tignes in the Alps in the Savoie region of France. At first authorities thought 9 people caught and buried in the slide, but later it was determined that only 4 people caught, buried, and killed in the slide.
The group consisted of 3 skiers and an instructor/guide. The slide occurred in the Toviere area at approximately 10:35am around 2100 meters. The slide was 400 meters wide. BBC.com reports that “The avalanche appeared to have been set off by a group of skiers higher up.”
Rescuers responded by helicopter and also included volunteers from the area. Search dogs and rescuers searched until evening time for potential missing people, but it was determined that no one else was missing.
The avalanche danger in Tignes was rated 3/5 on Monday.
Tignes is located in the Tarentaise Valley in Savoie in the Rhone-Alps region of southeastern France.
- The 4 victims included a father, age 48, and his two teenage sons, ages 19 and 15, who were snowboarding with Laurent Ruiz, a 60-year-old guide/instructor with the Ecole du Ski Francais. They were all French citizens.
- The group was walking on the slope to a point where they would ride when they were caught in the slide. All four were carry avalanche transceivers. They were all snowboarders and were skiing off-piste when the avalanche hit. Up to 40 rescuers with dogs responded to the scene. Authorities believe that only 4 people were caught in the slide – not 9 as originally thought. (TheGuardian, NYTimes.com)
- See Photos on PisteHors.com.
- Standard.co.uk identified the father as Pierre Nicalek. A fifth member of the group had dropped his snowboard during the hike and was told to wait as the instructor would bring the board back. The entire group had already ridden the slope earlier in the day.
We will try to update this post when more information is available.