Swedish ski resort hit by avalanche

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12:36 CET+01:00
An avalanche broke out Monday in Åre just a day after alert levels were raised in the area, but according to the police nobody was trapped or injured.

In the days before New Year's Eve, snowfall and shifting temperatures increased the risk of avalanches in the northern mountain areas.

On Sunday, skiers triggered four avalanches in Åre.

A level three alert was issued in Åre, Bydalen and Ramundberget. The maximum level is five.

Both spontaneous avalanches and those triggered by people were deemed likely to occur.

Police received alarm about the Åre avalanche at around 11.30am on Monday.

A helicopter, mountain rescue personnel, and search dogs were sent to the location, an area popular among off-piste skiers.

The search party was called off at 1pm.

Skiers triggered the avalanche, according to Mårten Johansson, head of the Åre Avalanche Centre (Åre Lavincenter).

"None of the witnesses could guarantee that anybody was caught in the avalanche," Johansson told newspaper Aftonbladet.

That is why a big rescue operation was launched.

"Those who triggered the avalanche were lucky they ended up above it and were safe."

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On Sunday, the Swedish Ski Lift Association (Svenska liftanläggningars organisation) warned against off-piste skiing.

Skiers who venture outside supervised areas should be careful, bring appropriate equipment, keep informed about weather conditions and know how to act in case an avalanche breaks out, said the association.

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