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Skiers and snowboarders warned to stay on marked paths as avalanches claim lives

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Skiers and snowboarders warned to stay on marked paths as avalanches claim lives

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A series of weekend avalanches across the Alps in France, Switzerland and Italy have left over five people dead, including a 27-year-old Irish man thought to have been cross-country skiing and two Italian snowboarders.

In France, four avalanches claimed two casualties on Saturday. One of them was 50-year-old Lionel Blanc, a very experienced mountain guide, who was skiing with his 11-year-old son near Courchevel. The son survived.

In Serre-Chevalier, a 16-year-old snowboarder was killed in the same location where two had been injured the day before.

A third avalanche in la Torchère buried a man and a woman but they were rescued. They had been skiing off-piste despite warnings against doing so.

A fourth avalanche in Val Thorens blocked seven off-piste skiers of which one had to be hopsitalised.

Authorities have urged skiers and snowboarders to keep to the marked paths and not to go off-piste.