The deadly avalanche in the French Alps (January 13), which has claimed the lives of three people, is a reminder of how dangerous the mountains can be.
Still more dangerous is the growing — and legal — trend to ski off-piste.
We followed a group of students from the University of Limoges. They are taking part in a one-week course in Les Deux Alpes to teach safety on the slopes.
Led by mountain guide Eric Arnol, the students familiarise themselves with a small transmittor they can carry to help locate them in case of an avalanche.
Sports teacher Christophe Lafon ensures the students check the transmitter is working before they set off.
For student Marie-Sophie, the course is a major first:
“I always dreamed of going off-piste,” she said. “But I am a mother, so I wanted to do it under the right conditions, well-organised and safely.”
Euronews’ Laurence Alexandrowicz reported from Les Deux Alpes:
“Although any number of victims of avalanches is too many, it’s notable that it’s not a problem that’s been getting worse over the years. The fact that off-piste skiing has become increasingly popular simply reinforces the importance of strict safety procedures in ski resorts.”
7 dead in 2016 alone
In the past 15 years in France, 49 people have died in avalanches.
This year alone (2016) they have killed seven people in the country, despite a relatively dry and mild December.