Two avalanches in canton Valais 5 January left four people dead and three injured. A number of other avalanches injured people in the Valais Alps over the weekend and police remind skiers to use extra care, with the entire ski area in the canton on high alert for avalanches. A 34-year-old man from Vaud died in an avalanche that occurred at 10:55 in Haute-Nendaz while skiing off-piste Sunday.
The accident occurred in the Tracouet region, in a couloir at Croix de Jean-Pierre. Three people died and one person is in critical condition after an avalanche caught a ski touring group of seven in Val d’Hérens at 14:40 Sunday in Mase, near the Pointe de Masserey, at 2,400 metres. The group had made the ascent and were returning when the avalanche occurred. The guide and three skiers were caught; the other three were able to raise the alert. The guide and two of the skiers died later in hospital and the fourth person remains in critical condition. The Tracouet accident as well as two others were caused by avalanches set off by single skiers, say Valais police. A woman was pulled from the snow in an 11:00 avalanche in the Tortin and Chassoure region and taken to hospital with injuries. At 14:00 an avalanche on the north face in Mont-Noble in Nax left a man slightly injured. Eleven people have been killed by avalanches in Switzerland since the start of the winter season. The Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) publishes daily avalanche forecasts. The weekly bulletin from the SLF reported 2 January that the combination of new snow on very weak old snow and the impact of the high number of freeriders and off-piste skiers is behind the current critical avalanche danger situation, level 3 out of 5.