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Early-Season Avalanche Kills 2 Skiers in Austria

Editor's Note: TGR understands the inherent risks with skiing and snowboarding and urges anyone going out to have the proper knowledge, equipment, a partner, and a plan. For more information on how to stay safe while enjoying winter sports, check out TGR’s annual Safety Week series

The avalanche was triggered off-piste and dragged two skiers over the cliffs into the gully. Zeitungsphoto.at photo.

UPDATE: The two victims were identified as skier Roy Brink (33) and snowboarder Stephan Verheij (39). Verheij was a snowboarding guide and helped set up Protect Our Winters Netherlands. 

An avalanche buried and killed two Dutch skiers outside of Sölden, Austria this weekend. The skiers were part of a larger group traveling off-piste on a glacier run, carrying airbags and avalanche beacons, when one triggered the avalanche. The area around Sölden saw nearly two feet of new snow in recent days, falling on top of unstable early-season layers. The Tirolean avalanche service had not even issued their first forecast but had posted online warnings about the heavy snowfall warning backcountry travelers to avoid steep unstable slopes.

RELATED: First Avalanche Reported in Colorado Last Week

Local news reports that the slide carried the two skiers nearly 1000 feet over cliffs into a gully, burying them over 10 feet deep. SAR services responded to the scene via helicopter and quickly found the victims, but were unable to revive them.

Rudi Mair, the chief of the Tirolean avalanche service, told the Kurier that, “The current weather conditions are not that out of place for this time of year, it could even be considered standard. In the fall, particularly in September, October, and November, winter weather situations are normal in high-alpine regions.” 

RELATED: Check out TGR’s Safety Week Content

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