Tragic news out of Sölden, Austria this weekend as an inbounds avalanche killed two snowboarders on opening day. According to police, the snowboarders were traversing off-piste around noon on Sunday when they triggered a slide that ran onto a run below.
The area had just received 2-feet of fresh snow, but the area was deemed safe by the local site manager. Because it is so early in the season, the daily avalanche forecast and warning service are not yet in operation, although yesterday a local blog warned: “winter sports enthusiasts and mountaineers to be more cautious, as lots of snow had already accumulated, and there is an increased likelihood of avalanche accidents.”
The riders did not have off-piste equipment with them as no transceiver signal could be found so a manual probe search began. Unfortunately, a manual probe is a slow process and the search did not find the snowboarders in time and both riders were found to be dead when dugout.
High winds and heavy snowfall across many parts of Austria this weekend have increased the likelihood of an avalanche. Only yesterday the access road to the glacial ski area in Sölden was closed for several hours due to the risk of avalanches.
We send our condolences to the families of the riders who lost their lives in this tragedy.