In-bounds Avalanche in France??
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johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 8, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
It's hard to tell from the English translation of Pistehors, but it appears that an in-bounds avalanche occurred at L'Espace Killy:

http://pistehors.com/comments/581_0_1_0_C/

The French version of the page may yield some more clues. Do we have any French speakers on DCSki? In-bound avalanches are rare, so I'm always interested in hearing about them.
KevR
March 8, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I can't imagine such an environment would exist with the ability to sue resorts for (potential) neglience ... but i really don't know.
k_alice
March 8, 2006
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
I read the posting in both English and French - the French was pretty bad, it was just an automatic google translation. I think the site is an English-language site although the name "pistehors" might suggest otherwise.

But I did track down some other articles in French which confirmed that there have been several recent avalanche deaths in France, but all have been off piste. There were massive amounts of snow in France last week, and some of the main roads to the big resorts (like Tignes and Val d'Isere) have been closed. Evidently the risk of avalanches was pretty well publicized, and people were informed of the risks (in both French and English) as they got on the lifts. I guess the temptation is too much for some...

Here's the summary of the year's stats for the French Alps, if anyone is interested. The key phrase is "hors des domaines securises" which means "outside of secured areas."

Ces décès portent à 45 le nombre de personnes tuées dans les différents massifs français, toutes hors des domaines sécurisés, depuis octobre 2005, contre 25 morts du 1er octobre 2004 au 30 septembre 2005.
Rich
March 9, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
"... sue resorts for (potential) negligence ..."

No ... it is NOT the United States. Outside the US a person is responsible for themselves. All these suits are an American thing - the country with by far the most lawyer-to-citizen ratio on the earth.
Swimmer
March 9, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4767668.stm

"Last week 20 people died in France and Switzerland alone. A 30-year-old British man was buried as he skied on his own, while in the worst accident of the week three French teenagers died in Pra-Loop within the main ski area."

That above quote was pulled from the linked article that was mentioned in a post on DCSki already, but it rapidly fell of the main discussion page to make room for Winter Beer and Snowshoe Weather predictions. You can roll page a page of topics in the discussion forum to see a couple of comments on the Eurorpean situation. I rambled there as well but I think I failed to make my point.

Long and short of it..in bound avies happen all the time in all countries. I witnessed one down in Argentina at a resort in Bariloche, a Las Vegas resort had one snatch a kid from a chair last year...on and on.

Enjoy
steve
KevR
March 9, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Right -- check, you would prefer NOT TO HAVE THE RIGHT to sue an organization because you thought they might have acted in a negligent manner.

Anyway-- I wasn't trying to editorialize. It was a question in the form of an observation. Its common knowledge in the US at least that we are lawsuit happy nation.

In this instance, I was simply wondering if an individual COULD sue a ski resort in France or Europe in general for perceived neglience -- in this case related to IN BOUND AVALANCHES.

Once again, not an editorial on my part ...
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 9, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Quote:

I read the posting in both English and French - the French was pretty bad, it was just an automatic google translation.




Thanks K_Alice.
k_alice
March 9, 2006
Member since 11/22/2005 🔗
92 posts
Quote:

In this instance, I was simply wondering if an individual COULD sue a ski resort in France or Europe in general for perceived neglience -- in this case related to IN BOUND AVALANCHES.




I don't know about other European countries, but you do have the right to sue in France, but it would be for criminal negligence, not a civil suit. The defendant would go to prison (or get a suspended sentence) if found guilty, and there wouldn't be a huge financial settlement like in the states. Someone could get a financial settlement through insurance, but again, not the big sums like in the US.

However, according the articles I read in the French press, all of the avalanche deaths were outside of the secured ski areas. So lawsuits might be a moot point anyway.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 10, 2006
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,200 posts
It happened at Roundtop about 15 years ago and was witnessed by a friend on the lift. It was a 70ish spring day and the slope that slid was the top 50 feet or so of their steepest run (Gunbarrel I think) That 50 feet is the steepest section in the mid Atlantic and may rival the steepest in the east, although short. I don't know what it looks like in summer. it could be built up as a whale.

In any case nobody was on it at the time. At the time I didn't know enough about avalanches to ask my friend the right questions, but it was probably one of those super slow and super heavy wet snow surface slides.
catskills
March 10, 2006
Member since 06/29/2004 🔗
53 posts
Quote:

I can't imagine such an environment would exist with the ability to sue resorts for (potential) neglience ... but i really don't know.


KevR inbounds avalanche are rare but they have happend in the United States. Take an Avalanche course some time. It shouldn't take you too long to figure out that determining the level of Avalanche risk is not much better than a wild A$$ guess. The other problems is people ignore closed trail signs, ski an area closed because of avalanche danger, triger a slide, and kill people below within the ski area boundary. The problem in Europe right now is there are many more skiers doing outofbounds skiing with wide powder skis than ever before and Europe has a lot of snow right now. Many of these outofbound skiers have no knowledge of Avalanche Fundamentals. You go outofbounds you are dependent on your friends to find you and dig you out in under 5 minutes. If they don't practice then someone may die. Many folks in Europe get 5 days to ski a year. If the avalanche danger is high, another group is above them, or they are in unstable area, they should decide to turn back but they keep going and then bad things happen.
twin58
March 10, 2006
Member since 04/1/2000 🔗
198 posts
I recall from last year:

LEE CANYON TRAGEDY: Teen dies in avalanche

Quote:

By DAVE BERNS
REVIEW-JOURNAL

A 13-year-old boy was killed Sunday afternoon in an avalanche at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort at Mount Charleston's Lee Canyon.
....

When the avalanche hit, skiers Bryan Vickery and Frank Bencevengo were riding on the ski lift to the top of The Line, an intermediate level run on the resort.

They first saw a snowboarder racing down the run. Then they heard a booming noise, one so loud that it was impossible to hear each other talking. That was immediately followed by a rush of snow, a fast-moving wall that Vickery and Bencevengo described as anywhere from 10- to 20-feet high.

As the snow sped toward the chairlift, moving from left to right, Vickery turned to Bencevengo and shouted: "Hold on!"

They described watching as the front edge of the white wall tossed a lone skier or snowboarder from his chair, four seats ahead. The unidentified person tried to grasp a bar designed to secure skiers to the lift, but the snow carried him away.

The person cartwheeled to the ground, like a rag doll, his legs splaying in the air. Then, he was gone, buried beneath the snow, said Vickery, who had a camera and snapped images of the scene.


johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 12, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts

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