Today’s Photo

Every weekday during winter, and occasionally the rest of the year

11 May 2021

This winter has been less snowy than usual, but there was still the occasional avalanche. Here’s what that small slide in January left: forty or fifty trees snapped like matchsticks and enough broken branches to keep the local mutts happy for years:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

In spite of below average snow, lockdown, confinement and curfews, people in Val d’Isère have had a wonderful winter.

They’ve been hiking up:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

to ski perfect powder:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

enjoying the sun:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

and the spring snow:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

skinning up:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

floating down:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

making the best of the empty slopes:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

loving every minute of it:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

and ignoring the risks:

Val d'Isère 11 May 2021

BUT

We would hate our photographs to lead anyone to underestimate the dangers of off-piste skiing…

Don’t be misled by all the pretty pictures. Ski touring is a dangerous sport, and May is a cruel month. Seven skiers died in avalanches within a few miles of Val d’Isère on Saturday alone. It’s a deadly combination: a metre of fresh snow, warm afternoons, and people expert enough to know where to go, but not to know where not to go…

Avalanches often look pretty harmless, but a few thousand tons of compressed snow hitting you at the speed of a train, melting slightly with the friction, then setting like concrete around you, is lethal.

If you are keen to get back in the steep and the deep next winter, book a guide, get the equipment and, most importantly, learn to use it before you need it, not afterwards…

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