Newscaster 1: The Italian Alps region is the third most popular destination for skiing holidays in Europe after France and Austria because of the area’s excellent resorts, guaranteed snow falls in many locations and high levels of service.
Newscaster 2: And more and more ski enthusiasts from Asia are visiting the area each year, according to ski holiday companies.
Newscaster 1: The passion for skiing in this beautiful part of Northern Italy is unmatched anywhere, and the region’s après-ski scene is second to none.
Newscaster 2: But at the height of the 2016 season, a couple of skiing tragedies have cast a shadow over the slopes.
Newscaster 1: On the twelfth of March, six skiers lost their lives and several others received serious injuries after an avalanche hit slopes near the resort of Brunico. Those killed included five Italians and one Austrian. One of the victims was a sixteen-year-old secondary school student.
Newscaster 2: When the avalanche hit, three helicopters, a team of specially trained dogs and more than seventy rescue workers took part in the search for bodies and survivors.
Newscaster 1:The avalanche struck in the morning, engulfing slopes at an altitude of 10,000 feet on Mount Nevoso, near the Italian border with Austria. Rescue helicopters cannot reach a height like this easily. They have to carry as little fuel as possible and very little rescue gear to ensure that loads are light.
Newscaster 2: What’s particularly tragic is that conditions on Mount Nevoso that day were good and skiers in nearby resorts were excited about recent falls of fine snow. But avalanches can occur from nowhere and this is what happened on the twelfth of March. The skiers caught up in the tragedy were climbing to the peak of the mountain and planning to ski down.
Newscaster 1: If the avalanche had happened later in the day, the death and injury rate would have been much higher. If an avalanche occurs high up on the side of a mountain as it did on Mount Nevoso, there is no way out for skiers lower down the slope. They are simply swept away or buried under deep snow.
Newscaster 2: Back in February, five skiers from the Czech Republic died in a similar avalanche in the Austrian Alps near the winter sports resort near the city of Innsbruck.
Newscaster 1: Skiing in mountain areas is more hazardous than cross-country skiing, and visitors to the Alpine resorts know the risks. Avalanches like the one on Mount Nevoso are rare, but when they do occur and when they claim so many lives, they cast a dark cloud over a sport that gives much pleasure, but that is risky even when conditions appear perfect.