Publish date:
Updated on

Avalanche buries skiers in France

On this day in 1970, an avalanche crashes down on a ski resort in Val d’Isere, France, killing 42 people, mostly young skiers. This disaster was the worst such incident in French history.

The resort at Val d’Isere was operated by a nonprofit youth organization and attracted many young ski enthusiasts. On the morning of February 10, most of the guests were eating breakfast in a large room facing the mountain. Suddenly, there was an explosion-like sound and approximately 100,000 cubic yards of snow came rushing down the mountain. Three trail workers who were on the hill were swept away and killed.

The young people inside the hotel had little time to react. The snow exploded through the hotel’s large windows and swallowed the crowd inside. Some people were thrown down hallways and through windows. Others were buried so deeply that they could not move at all. Outside, the snow pushed cars right off the road and blocked access to the hotel. The snow was 100 yards high in some spots.

Thirty-nine people inside the hotel lost their lives to the avalanche and 60 more suffered serious injuries. French President Georges Pompidou declared it a national tragedy, and authorities ordered evacuations of other resorts in the region. This proved to be a wise move, as other avalanches followed in the next few days. In fact, the abandoned hotel at Val d’Isere was struck again two days later.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!


The French and Indian War ends

The Seven Years’ War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain. In the early 1750s, France’s expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought the country into armed more

Spies swapped

On February 10, 1962, American spy pilot Francis Gary Powers is released by the Soviets in exchange for Soviet Colonel Rudolf Abel, a senior KGB spy who was caught in the United States five years earlier. The two men were brought to separate sides of the Glienicker Bridge, which more

Mormons begin exodus to Utah

Their leader assassinated and their homes under attack, the Mormons of Nauvoo, Illinois, begin a long westward migration that eventually brings them to the valley of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been persecuted more