Avalanche Accident in Tignes


"It doesn't matter how much or little you've skied, if you're not careful out there you can easily get caught, which unfortunately happened to me on Saturday, February 28. Even with the snow conditions this season there are still some good freeride opportunities, after 15cm the day before I went to ski to the right of the Tufs de la Toviere, or Mickey's ears for those skiing in Tignes.

We skied more skiers just ahead on a smaller line, and the snow seemed stable, the snowfall having barely covered the tracks from before. As we skied up a second time, we thought we'd watch the couloir on video, it was pristine. It gets narrow and steep quickly, which means you have a blind rollover when you go in. I was so focused on finding the right speed and setting up for the narrow section that I didn't see what was going on around me, and as obvious as it looks in the video, I didn't see it break, I had tunnel vision, on my last turn I caught some rocks, and that threw me off balance, that was it, next thing I know I'm being pulled down, tumbling down, scraping over some rocks, activating my ABS, doing whatever I can to keep my mouth from filling with snow, and came to rest at the bottom almost 300 yards from where I would have come out.

My ABS kept me on top of the avalanche once it was inflated - which certainly kept me from scraping over the rocks and causing myself a more serious injury.

It doesn't matter how comfortable you are in the snow, you must never forget - I was too focused on other aspects, namely getting down the slope without any problems. It turned out that I didn't even manage that, and I got away with a few scrapes and bruises, but it could have been much worse. You never realize how quickly things can go wrong until you're in that situation."

Benjamin Styles, UK