Free skier sets off avalanche at World Tour event in Austria

BY foxsports • February 3, 2015

KAPPL, Austria (AP) A Freeride World Tour event in the Austrian Alps has been canceled after the second starter set off an avalanche - from which he escaped with bruised ribs and legs.

Organizers say French free skier Julien Lopez set off the 4,000 square meter snow slab on the 2,800-meter Quellspitze as he hiked back up the hill to pick up a ski he lost during a crash in Tuesday's competition.

The 33-year-old Lopez, the 2009 world free ski champion, was carrying an air bag system that prevented him from getting buried under the snow, and he skied down to the finish area after being helped by a rescue crew.

Organizers say the course was cleared by mountain guides after snowfall on Monday ''but 100 percent safety doesn't exist in the mountains.''

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