Avalanche warning for northern Sweden skiers

Ski resorts in northern Sweden have been put on high alert for avalanches in areas popular with off piste skiers.

Avalanche warning for northern Sweden skiers

The highest likelihood of avalanches is in Riksgränsen, close to Sweden’s northern border with Norway where a level four (on a scale with a maximum five) alert has been issued. Lower alerts have also been issued in other resorts including Björkliden, Idre and Kittelfjäll.

“I think most people follow the warnings. We have a long tradition here of high avalanche risk and many of our guests come back year after year,” Magnus Åkerlund, a ski patrol warden told news agency TT.

A level four warning indicates that avalanches are likely to occur spontaneously or be triggered by skiers and visitors are advised to avoid areas with steep outcrops and ridges. So far no routes have been closed off in the area which attracts large numbers of off piste skiers late into the season. Yet two particularly avalanche prone areas may be closed to the public if the risk increases.

Åkerlund said that snowmobiles are particularly hazardous when it comes to triggering avalanches.

“Many snowmobile drivers lack experience of the mountains. They have powerful machines and are often out right on the edges of the slopes,” he said.

Exactly ten years ago a major avalanche in the area killed one skier and damaged homes.

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Courchevel blaze: ‘There were people in tears… it was chaos’

Two people died Sunday and 25 more were injured, four seriously, in a fire at the ski resort of Courchevel in the French Alps, officials said.

Courchevel blaze: 'There were people in tears... it was chaos'
Photo: AFP
The pre-dawn blaze forced the evacuation of some 60 resort workers, including foreigners, from a three-storey accommodation building.
Firefighters found the two unidentified bodies in a burnt-out area of the building in the upmarket Courchevel 1850 ski station.
Three of the four badly injured were flown to hospital by helicopter, the local officials said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
“Some young people escaped down the facade of the building using the balustrades. Some of them were in their underwear,” said one witness, who identified himself as Victor, 27.
Titi, a private minicab driver who was at the scene “within minutes” told Le Parisien: “I saw people stuck on the top floor. Some managed to come down through the railings, but others had to jump to escape the flames.”
“There were people in tears, lost, some could not bring warm clothes. It was chaos.”
Eric Boix-Vives, the owner of a supermarket “arrived there at 5:30 am”.
“There were flames everywhere, people who were being evacuated under covers,” he said.  
The blaze had already devoured the top two floors of the building by the time firefighters arrived, fire service spokesman Emmanuel Clavaud said.
Around 70 firemen working at the scene brought it under control by daybreak.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted condolences to the families and friends of the dead and paid tribute to the firemen who tackled the blaze.
Courchevel is one of the most chic resorts in the French Alps, with numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury chalets.