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SKIING

British skier plunges to his death in French Alps after heading off piste

Another British skier died in the French Alps at the weekend after plunging hundreds of metres while he was skiing off piste.

British skier plunges to his death in French Alps after heading off piste
AFP

The skier died at the resort of Oz-en-Oisans in Isere.

He and two other skiers had been trying to get back to the resort by skiing off piste near the area called Alpette.

According to reports they tried to follow marks in the snow made by previous skiers but lost their way and ended up in a particularly dangerous area.

The three men then fell 200 metres over a rocky outcrop. While the British skier was pronounced dead at the scene the other two were rescued by mountain police.

According to mountain rescue spokesman Francois Bepol, the group ventured off-piste and went in the wrong direction.

They got into difficulty and took off their skis to try to climb upwards, Mr Bepol said.

The cliff, however, was “very steep and icy” and two of the three men fell.

The death comes just weeks after two British skiers died after venturing off piste near the resort of Chamonix.

Officials had warned that the conditions off piste were dangerous due to the poor quality of the snow.

It's been a tragic winter for British holidaymakers in the French Alps.

In December The Local reported how a young British man froze to death at a ski resort after getting lost on his way home from a bar.

And just days later another British skier was reported missing in the resort of Tignes after taking a ski lift for the final descent of the day.

 

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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