Avalanche sweeps onto Ski Mountaineering World Championship
At 11.00 am an avalanche swept onto the Ski Mountaineering World Championship race course at Artesina, Cuneo, N. Italy.
At 11.00 am an avalanche swept onto the Ski Mountaineering World Championship race course at Artesina, Cuneo, N. Italy. A number of competitors taking part in the Individual Senior race were crossing the course as the avalanche hit close to Rocca Giardina, just above the Artesina ski lifts, but away from the Artesina pistes and the MondolÃ© ski resort. Rescue operations were activated immediately.
According to Mario Fachini, the press officer of the World Championships, the avalanche front fortunately was limited, enabling rescuers to retrieve all those trapped in the snow. Thirteen were sent to hospital for observation, minor injuries and shock.
Just a few competitors were injured slightly. Search and rescue operations continue so as to be completely sure that no spectators are involved, even if officials tend to exclude this possibility.
The cause of the avalanche remains unclear but it may have been triggered by two skiers crossing the slope above the race course. An inquest has been opened to identify the cause.
What is certain is that this should not have happened, and that it's a true shame that the avalanche occurred!
The competition will restart tomorrow at 9.00.
Latest press release of the Organisation Comittee (3/03/2006 at 15,42)
SKI MOUNTAINEERING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: POSSIBLY IDENTIFIED THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE AVALANCHE
After appropriate checks the organizers of the Ski Mountaineering World Championships currently taking place at Cuneo have identified the probably cause of the avalanche which hit some competitors.
Some ski mountaineers were asked not to cross the slopes above the race course close to Rocca Giardina so as to avoid problems.
These inconsideratly continued and in all likelihood were the cause of the avalanche. They have been identified by the competition personnel who were controlling the race course and at present the police is examining this matter.
As has already been stated, no competitors hit by the avalanche are missing or have died. Fortunately the avalanche was not particularly large.
Rescue operations continue to scrupulously check that no spectators have been involved in the avalanche, even if those questioned belive this to be extremely unlikely.
Mario Facchini – Press Office
ARTESINA MONDOLESKI STATEMENT
The avalanche which occurred at circa 11.00am and which the national press are currently reporting about did not sweep onto any Artesina pistes nor the MondolÃ© ski resort. No skiers skiing on the Artesina pistes were involved. The avalanche hit the Ski Mountaineering World Championship race course which, by definition, is carried out beyond the pistes prepared for skiers and accessed by the ski lifts. The race course is set beyond the ski resort and only the Finish is located on the Artesina pistes.
This statement seems important to us to reassure the families of the skiers who were skiing on the Artesian pistes this morning and who, we repeat, were NOT involved in the avalanche in any way whatsoever.
Some competitors taking part in the Ski Mountaineering World Championship were taken in by the avalananche but rescued immediately.
Press Office MondolÃ©
Photo: rescue operatioons (newspower.it)