Two die in avalanche on opening day at Sölden ski resort in Austria

Sölden. Stock image.

Austrian broadcaster, ORF, has reported the death of two snowboarders off piste in Europe at Sölden ski resort in Austria this weekend.

Parts of Europe have experienced heavy snowfalls in the last week including both Austria and Switzerland and the road to Sölden was closed on Friday due to avalanche risk.

The avalanche occurred around midday when three Dutch snowboarders triggered a slide while traversing a 35 degree slope off piste. The triggered avalanche was around 1000 foot long with a 70 centimetre crown and occurred above a blue piste run.

Two men from the Netherlands, aged 33 and 39, were buried under metres of snow and a third managed to ride out of the avalanche.

The avalanche occurred at 2900 metres above sea level. It is thought the two snowboarders were taken down 200 metres and potentially over rock bands into a rock crevasse and may have died from trauma despite one being able to release his airbags.

The rescue and recovery took almost two hours with multiple helicopters also involved. 

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.