Home › News › An amazing avalanche rescue in Val d’Isere – thanks to a ‘Wolfhound’ and a mobile phone
John Yates-Smith of YSE Ski Chalet Holidays reports from Val d’Isere: “We mentioned yesterday (28 Jan 2021) that all of the footpaths around Val d’Isère were closed for avalanche danger. Not everybody realised that this included the Chemin des Coves (though the English name, the Avalanche Path, would have given a hint).
“A family snowshoeing up it got caught in quite a large snow slide, and the father disappeared. Fortunately, somebody raised the alarm, and the whole village rushed to help.
“130 rescuers – pisteurs with dogs, instructors, gendarmes and villagers – formed lines shoulder to shoulder to probe the snow with long poles. All had to wear transceivers in case another avalanche came down.
“In the end it was a device called a Wolfhound which located the man – it picks up mobile phones.
“He’d been buried under two metres of snow for nearly three hours. He was incredibly fortunate. He had been thrown against a tree and had a pocket of air. And he was lucky that some Mountain. Gendarmes arrived with one of the new and very rare and expensive Wolfhounds.
“So, the moral of the story is always take avalanche warnings seriously, ask a local if they’d go where you’re going, check your phone is charged, know the numbers to call (112 is a good one – even if your network has no signal it will use another) and spread out when you’re anywhere at all risky.
“Or stay in your chalet with a book and a glass of wine…”