Two British skiers have fallen to their deaths in the French Alps. The two men, understood to be in their 20s and from Cambridge, were on holiday in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc with a tour operator and skiing off-piste when they fell “several 100 metres”, according to police.
Rescuers were called at 11.40am on Sunday by a third member of the group who was unharmed.
They were skiing Le Couloir Du Chapeau, a steep section of the famous Grands Montets ski area at an altitude of 1,700 metres, and the weather was clear and sunny.
According to police, there was evidence that other skiers had skied the slope in previous days.
The two men fell independently of each other as they skied the 40-degree slope and died instantly. Their bodies were retrieved from the mountain by helicopter.
Police have opened an investigation into the tragedy and were this evening questioning the third member of the group, aged in his 20s.
A local police spokesman said: “Three British men were skiing Le Couloir Du Chapeau. It is a steep off-piste area. The snow at the moment is very hard, it is not powder skiing. The conditions in the couloir are not good.
“The two men fell one after the other. They fell independently but within a couple of minutes of each other.
“They fell several hundred metres. For sure these men were good skiers but the conditions are not good. An investigation has been opened into the accident.”
The area is popular with off-piste skiers and is easily accessible from the lifts of Grands Montets.
Conditions are particularly unfavourable at the moment and mountain experts are warning skiers to exercise the utmost caution if considering venturing off-piste.
Chamonix is a French resort on the border of Italy and Switzerland. Sitting at the foot of Mont Blanc, it is one of the most famous ski areas in the world.
Grands Montets is a mecca for advanced snowsport enthusiasts, offering the valley’s most advanced terrain.