After the recent avalanches across Europe, and in Les Houches, we were overwelmed by your thoughts, concern and enquiries regarding the Chamonix Exclusive team and Chalet No.5.
Located in an area designated by the Marie of Les Houches as a ‘White Zone’, this means Chalet No.5 is deemed not to be in an area of risk (of avalanches ever occurring). We are therefore pleased to advise that at no time during the high levels of snowfall was there any risk to Chalet No.5 or our clients. The surrounding ski runs are also in the same classification. As a consequence, the Les Houches ski area was open throughout the storms and afterwards.
The avalanche in Les Houches was close to Taconnaz, a well known and populated area of Les Houches that lies at the far end of the village, around 2.5km from the pistes and Chalet No.5. Although close to Taconnaz, the Bourgeat Couloir sits high above only a small hamlet of properties. The properties in this area had already been designated as residing in a Blue Zone area and this means that they reside in an area of potential avalanche risk (unlike Chalet No.5). Properties being built in Blue Zones after the classification system was introduced (decades ago) have to meet strict avalanche protection guidelines in respect of their design and build (the other classification is red and this is the highest risk - no new building can be built in such a zones - although one or two properties built before the classification may still exist). Permanent avalanche breaks (bariers and containment areas) were already in place, but as an extra precaution the local Marie had requested residents evacuate their properties. This with hindsight was clearly a seensible step for them to take.
Whilst distressing for the owners of the properties in this area effected, as a consequence of the avalanche breaks and evacuation, we are very pleased to be advise that no one was caught up, and therefore injured in the incident. Some minor damage to property and vehicles did result, but this was quickly dealt with by the authorities who deserve a great deal of credit.