British man, father of two, dies in avalanche in the Alps

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 29, 2010 1:35 pm

We’re sorry to report another avalanche death. Mr. James Ryan, aged 36 was killed when an avalanche struck his ski tour in Val di Rhemes in the Italian Alps. There 6 skiers in the group, and only Ryan was killed.

He and his fellow skiers were skiing out of bounds, and were three days into the famous Haute Route tour, a tough high-altitude trek which starts in Chamonix, France, and cuts through Italy, ending up in Zermatt, Switzerland.

Italian police are investigating the cause of the avalanche. If it was caused by the men, they could face prison time. It is a criminal offense to start an avalanche in Italy, and since a death was the result, the prison sentence could be ten years if anyone is convicted.

Mr. Ryan was from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in England, and was married to Helen Ryan. They had two young children. He was a lawyer, or solicitor, at the Leeds-based law firm Walker Morris. The chairman of Walker Morris, Peter Smart was quoted as saying, “James set off on his holiday last Thursday, it was a grand plan he had with a group of friends to ski across France, Italy and Switzerland, stopping off in wooden chalets overnight.

This wasn’t a group of inexperienced young guys going off piste and setting off an avalanche, they were all experienced skiiers.

James was just an absolutely fabulous young man, one of life’s gentlemen and he will be truly missed. He had a beautiful family, his office is covered in photographs of their smiling faces, it is terribly, terribly sad.”

The avalanche started at about 5PM Sunday near the Punta Paletta run on Mount Rosso. It was 437 yards wide. This death marks more than a dozen avalanche deaths in the Italian alps this year.

Our deep condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. James Ryan.