Six foreign ski tourists, all believed to be French, have been buried under masses of snow after an avalanche hit at Kåfjord in northern Norway on Monday afternoon.

 

 

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Six foreign ski tourists, all believed to be French, have been buried under masses of snow after an avalanche hit at Kåfjord in northern Norway on Monday afternoon.

 

 

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TOURISM

French tourists ‘buried under Norway avalanche’

Six foreign ski tourists, all believed to be French, have been buried under masses of snow after an avalanche hit at Kåfjord in northern Norway on Monday afternoon.

 

 

“Six people in a tourist group of twelve have been caught in the slide,” Tor-Einar Eilertsen at the Troms police district told Norwegian news agency NTB.

Rescue coordinator Tore Vangsfjord said the tourists buried in the avalanche are all believed to be French, Norwegian newspaper VG reported.

The French embassy in Oslo has not yet received confirmation that the skiers affected were part of a French tour group.

“As yet we have no information about what happened beyond what has emerged in the media,” spokeswoman Cecilie Bjerknes Aare told VG.

The avalanche struck on Mount Sorbmegaisa in northern Troms shortly before 2.30pm.

“A medical helicopter is on the way and we have also requested assistance from the army,” said Eilertsen.

Rescue services in northern Norway said they were working to get rescue teams, avalanche dogs and helicopters to the scene.

The six people who escaped the snow slide are working hard to locate and rescue their fellow skiers, Eilertsen said.

The Local Norway

TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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