Two killed in crashes on French ski slopes

It proved to be a deadly weekend on French ski slopes as a 13-year-old boy and a 53-year-old man were killed in separate crashes. At least one of the victims appears to have been wearing a helmet.

Two killed in crashes on French ski slopes
Two people died in ski accidents this weekend on the slopes in south-western France. Photo: Girolame/Flickr

Both deadly incidents occured on Saturday in the Pyrenees mountains of south-western France and come as France’s annual skiing holidays kick into high gear.

The 13-year-old boy, who was from Toulouse, appears to have lost control and hit a hit a tree while skiing with his father and brother on a beginners slope at a resort in Mortis, AFP reported.

He was flown to a hospital in Toulouse, where he subsequently died. Initial reports indicate he was not wearing a helmet.

The 53-year-old man, identified as Dominique Malle-Ville, fell under circumstances that remain unclear while skiing at a resort in Cauterets. He was apparently wearing a helmet but was killed instantly in the crash.

It was the first day of the holidays which hewas spending with his wife and one of his children. He was skiing on a red level slope reserved for advanced skiers, police said.

These deaths come after Michael Schumacher’s crash on a slope on the Alps highlighted the issue of wearing helmets when skiing. Schumacher suffered a serious brain injury when he fell and hit his head on a rock in an off-piste section at a French resort in December.

Reports emerged at the weekend that Schumacher was showing some signs of response.

French families will hit resorts across the country en masse in the coming weeks with the winter ski holidays for school children running from last week through until the middle of March. 

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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.