Dramatic images reveal avalanche dangers in French Alps

Photos of a wall of snow towering above people and vehicles on a road that was buried by a massive avalanche shows the current danger levels in the French Alps after "once-in-generation" snowfalls this week.
The snowslide blocked the road between Bessans and the village of Bonneval-sur-Arc in the Savoie department on Tuesday.
 
The avalanche left the 250 residents of Bonneval cut off after covering the road with between five and seven metres of snow.
 
"It's been 20 years since we've seen an avalanche like that in this area," said expert Alain Duclos, the president of the organisation Data Avalanche.
 
But given the amount of snow that has fallen in recent days Duclos said such a huge avalanche was expected.
 
Data Avalanche
 
Data Avalanche
 
 
Data Avalanche
 
 
Avalanche warnings in the area had been at maximum level after the kind of snowfall that comes once every 30 thirty years, according to Météo France weather agency.
 
The avalanche cut access to Bonneval and authorities had to put in place an emergency operation to clear the road. Duclos was able to get some impressive pictures of the operation.
 
"Since the year 2000, avalanches have been triggered in a preventative way, which means we haven't seen an avalanche of this exceptional magnitude," Duclos told Franceinfo. "But these are the mysteries of nature."
 
 
Data Avalanche
 
Data Avalanche
 
Data Avalanche
 
On Wednesday, an avalanche smashed into young skiers at the resort of Valmeinier and left one 9 year-old girl buried. Rescuers were able to spot her just in time thanks to a shoe sticking out of the snow.
 
By Thursday the avalanche threat level had receded but at higher altitude the risk remains high. Above 2,100m the risk level is rated 4 out of 5.