top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

French Alps on alert after a series of deadly avalanches

Skiers are being warned after no fewer than 46 avalanches have been reported over the past ten days

Ten French departments are also on yellow alert for avalanches on March 15 Pic: Coppee Audrey / Shutterstock

Skiers have been warned to be “extremely careful” after a series of deadly avalanches in the French Alps.

In just ten days there have been at least 46 avalanches, according to, including the one on Monday (March 13) that killed Guillaume Mulliez, part of the family that founded the Auchan supermarket chain. 

The avalanches have been caused by a sudden abundance of snow, which itself followed a long period without. As a result, the new snow, buffeted by significant wind, fell on stony ground, meaning the snow has not meshed with the soil. 

This means it is not stable, especially on the southern, sunny peaks, where an avalanche could take the entire layer of snow with it, according to Stéphane Bornet, director of the French National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches (Anena).

The dangerous conditions have seen the prefecture of France’s Haute-Savoie department warn skiers to be “extremely careful and know when to abandon” the pistes.

Mr. Bornet echoed the prefecture’s warning, saying on news website France 3 that “caution and humility are the key words. People want to go skiing, as we have not had fresh snow in a long time, but abandoning [the pistes] means being able to go back to them”.

Ten departments on yellow alert

Météo France has issued yellow warnings (be vigilant) for avalanches in ten departments on March 15.

The departments are: Haute-Savoie, Savoie, Isère, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne, Ariège and Pyrénées-Orientales as well as in Andorra, the tiny principality on the border between France and Spain.  

Yellow warnings mean people should be “on alert” for weather phenomena common to the region and stay informed of the changing situation.

Read also

French TV changes weather forecast to include climate change context

‘Very unsatisfactory’: Alarm raised over France’s groundwater levels

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France