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8 French people caught in Hokkaido avalanche; 1 dead

16 Comments

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Take care out there people. A lot of refreeze and strat due to the warmer weather.

Don't take any chances with your pit test.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

RIP. The mountain is a cruel mistress.

Only 3 to 4 meters wide sounds like a gully or an opening between anchors like trees. If it were a gully, which is likely with eight people caught by something 4 meters wide, there would be funneling so that even a shallow slide could cause burial.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They will have one hell of a story to tell.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

RIP. The mountain is a cruel mistress.

We don't even know if he's dead yet.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I imagine this season's mild winter will have made avalanche conditions worse - and in any case, if you go skiing off piste, you take your life into your own hands.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

while they were skiing off piste

Yeah.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I saw the expression "cardio-pulmonary arrest" in another report, it means the victim has no pulse, but it is yet to be confirmed by a doctor. I hope the man is alive, but it is not likely.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Society/Eight-foreign-skiers-caught-in-avalanche-on-Japan-s-Hokkaido

3 ( +3 / -0 )

RIP. The mountain is a cruel mistress.

We don't even know if he's dead yet.

This report isn't entirely accurate. Other reports are saying the more commonly used expression used in Japan " cardio-pulmonary arrest" : death, but not signed off officially by a doctor.

So indeed, sad end to ski holiday in japan for this group of French and at 3:25 p.m too, most likely last run of the day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For all those connected with it: my deep sympathies.

As a avid skier, I do hope this doesn’t lead to limits on side and backcountry skiing. The accidents can be more frightening and dramatic, for sure, but actually less common than typical injuries sustained on-piste on at crowded resorts.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Over the past several years these tragedies have assailed the French the most.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They apparently were skiing where they were not supposed to.

The avalanche occurred at the Tomamu ski resort in an area that is off-limits to skiers. Signs and netting mark off the boundaries of the ski trails, but the group still went outside the designated zone, according to the officials.

http://www.asahi.com/sp/ajw/articles/AJ202001300053.html

There is a reason for having these off-limit signs and ropes but I’ve unfortunately witnessed many occasions Foreigners just ignore and skiing off-limit areas (such as right under the lift). I don’t mean to generalize but I have my personal experience that I was struck by Foreign snowboarder and he simply said ‘sorry’ then run off. I had to call out for help and my 14 stitches scar on my knee still aches to this day.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

What is the point, from an information perspective, to give the entire name of a person that just died ?

Privacy, respect for family, is that complicated ? Even after death ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Foreign visitors disregarding the off-limits signs and doing what they please. Sometimes it ends without a big incident, other times like this article. This kind of behavior reflects negavitely on all foreigners in Japan even if they are not just tourists.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

To those saying they were skiing somewhere they should not have been, that may be so, but it absolutely not clear from this article.

“The group was skiing outside an area managed by the ski resort” does not necessarily mean they were skiing in a prohibited area. They may have been, but ski resorts in Japan now make a clear distinction between areas that are strictly prohibited and areas which are ski at your own risk, meaning you are allowed to ski there but there will be no patrols sweeping the area at the end of the day, thus “not managed” by resort.

Resorts in Japan now have backcountry gates which allow access to “not managed” areas, from the more progressive Niseko in Hokkaido to even the traditional Okushiga in Nagano.

From this article alone there is truly not enough information to say they were skiing in a prohibited area, so until that is made clear, please have some sympathy and refrain from judgement

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@powderb

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this poor French man deserved for what he did. All I'm saying is there are too many reckless foreigners who easily disobey local rules that may lead to serious concequences like this time. I recall there was a similar incident at Niseko not too long ago.

I checked Tomamu website and if those French folks followed the proper guideline, there are only two options (Experts Only Powder Area or Backcountry Tour) but given that gondola and lifts to mountaintop were not available at that time due to its weather condition and they didn't have a guide along with them, I can only assume they decided to do backcountry tour by themselves.

https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/ski/guide/registration_desk.php

https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/ski/expert/bc.php

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many thanks for the web links. But I was yet unable to know for sure whether Asahi's " Signs and netting mark off the boundaries of the ski trails(, but the group still went outside the designated zone, according to the officials)" was sufficiently written in French or other non-Japanese. I would have abstained from generalizing. Especially so, as another commenter "powderb" deplored the way the victim's name was specifically disclosed.

What a callous way of reporting by Kyodo, no matter how important that caveat-warning may have been sooner propagated to visitors!

The parenthesized part in Asahi's description, furthermore, seems little like a fact. It seems to have been assumed by an Asahi reporter. Local vernaculars make little of due principles taught at Journalism 101: distinction between fact and opinion. We have no way of ascertaining whether the French crew have purportedly crossed. My heart to the deceased family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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