Man dies in crash with fellow skier on Alps piste

A 43-year-old man died after crashing into another skier on a piste for beginners and intermediate skiers in the French Alps.

Man dies in crash with fellow skier on Alps piste
Photo: Kallu/flickr

The incident happened on Sunday afternoon at the French Alps resort of Flaine, in the Haute-Savoie part of the Alps.

The 43-year-old was skiing down the blue run, a fairly easy slope suitable for beginners and intermediate-level skiers, when he crashed into another skier.

Two doctors who witnessed the crash raised the alarm and tried gave initial treatment to the two skiers, before being helped by the paramedics and specialist mountain police.

However, the 43-year-old died as a result of his injuries. It was not clear whether he was wearing a helmet.

The second skier, the sex and age of whom is not yet known, survived the crash but was left with injuries. Their exact condition is also unknown.

Police have opened an investigation.

It has been a winter marred by a series of fatal incidents in the Alps, some caused by avalanches and others by crashes.

In February, The Local reported how a teenager died after sledding down a piste on a mattress normally used as a safety barrier. 

He was one of five who hauled the mattress up the slope after a night drinking. But as they slid back down, they lost control and it hurtled into trees.

The crash at Les Deux Alpes came in the same week a British skier died after she lost control on beginners slope and hit a tree at La Plagne resort.

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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.