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France avalanche: Three skiers killed in Pyrenees

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image captionThe three men were skiing in an off-piste area of the resort, officials said (file photo)

Three skiers have been found dead in a resort in south-western France after being buried by an avalanche in an off-piste area, officials say.

The three French men, one aged 29 and two 38, had gone missing on Wednesday night in the Cauterets resort in the Pyrenees mountains.

On Tuesday, a 19-year-old skier died in an avalanche in the resort of Gavarnie, also in the Pyrenees.

Officials warn of the risks of going off-piste, where most accidents happen.

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The bad weather reportedly continued in the Pyrenees and some lifts were closed.

How dangerous is off-piste skiing?

  • Off-piste refers to any area not marked out and maintained for use by skiers
  • Off-piste slopes are not groomed by snow ploughs, so rocks, precipices and cliffs may not be easy to spot, especially in poor visibility
  • Biggest risk is avalanches as pistes are usually protected by controlled explosions and snow ploughs
  • But ski resorts do not have the same responsibilities for off-piste areas

Related Topics

  • France
  • Snow

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