Avalanche accident in Tignes, February 2015

28 Feb 2015

'It doesnt matter how much or little skiing you have done, if you’re not careful out there, you can easily get caught out, which is unfortunately what happened to me on Saturday 28th February. Even with the snow conditions this season there is still some good freeriding to be had, after 15cm the day before I went to look at the skiers right of the Tufs de la Toviere, or Mickeys Ears for those who ski in Tignes.

We skied a smaller line further skiers right first and the snow seemed stable, the snowfall had barely covered the tracks from before. Going up for a second time we thought we would look at the couloir in the video, it was untouched. It gets narrow and steep quickly, meaning it is a blind rollover as you drop in. I was so focused on getting my speed right and lining up for the narrow section, I failed to see what was happening around me, and as obvious as it looks in the video, I didn't see it fracture, I had tunnel vision, on my last turn I caught some rocks and it set me off balance, that was it, next thing I get taken down, tumbling down I scrape over some rocks, activate my ABS, do whatever I can to try stop my mouth filling with snow, I came to a rest at the bottom nearly 300m from where I got taken out.

My ABS kept me on the top of the slide as soon as it was inflated, which certainly stopped me scraping over the rocks and sustaining a more serious injury.

It doesn’t matter how comfortable you are with the snow, you can never forget about it, I was too focused on the other aspect which was skiing the line smoothly, it turns out I didn't even manage that and I came away with a few scrapes and bruises but could have been a lot worse, until you're are in that situation, you never realise how quickly it can go wrong.'

Benjamin Styles, UK

Here you can see how Benjamin was struggeling in the avalanche as his helmet camera was running the whole time:

https://vimeo.com/120889019