January 12, 2015

Ste Foy Tarentaise Avalanche Video


This video from an avalanche in France was taken a week ago.  It’s scary. It caught the 5th skier on the slope, typical of a persistent slab avalanche, and propagated large enough to take 4 people out who thought they were in a safe zone:

Looks like the viewer made the video private.  Sorry.  In the video, the snowboarder in the image sets off a slide that takes out the group in the bottom of the image.

Luckily, no one was killed, but 3 of the victims were injured.  Below is a write-up from the YouTube link:

6 people in the group; 5 people taken in the avalanche; 3 partially buried, 2 totally buried (under approx 30 cm); Avalanche released when the 5th person was skiing. 3 people injured needing medical attention e.g. broken bones and torn ligaments; 1 person spent 4 days in the hospital.

Avalanche characteristics

Slope Aspect: North

Slope Steepness: approx 30° at point where the 5th skier was at time of release (approx 35-45° at crown)


– distance width: approx 450 m at top

– depth (average approx): 20-40 cm (deepest point ?)

– altitude (average approx) at top 450m of crown: 2915

Avalanche flow distance: 2925 m – 2500 m approx vertical

Distance the 5th person travelled in the avalanche (the longest ride of victims) : 372 vertical metres traveled (2908 m to 2536 m); approx 1.2 km total distance

Snowpack summary: windblown powder on faceted grains

Click here for the YouTube link with more info.

About the Author

2. Will Dujardin
Will Dujardin is our content editor at West Elk Project. He competes in big mountain competitions and coaches the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team. Skiing is his life and he likes to mix it with other fun things like DH mountain biking and traveling.