Skiers had a lucky escape as an avalanche swept across a busy slope at the French Alpine resort of Tignes.
Initial reports yesterday morning suggested the huge wall of snow had engulfed a beginners’ slope.
The piste was crowded with up to 30 people buried by the snow slide.
However, local authorities confirmed that the avalanche had not claimed any lives, with only four skiers “impacted by the blast”.
Angela Barnes, a television producer at Sky News who is on holiday in the resort, told The Times: “Two snowboarders arrived at the bottom of the mountain, shaken and saying, ‘Our friends are up there and people are caught’.”
Workers from across the resort were scrambled to the scene to help the search mission.
Bad weather, with low-lying cloud and limited visibility, hampered the operation.
Helicopters were unable to take off, forcing the high mountain police stationed in Courchevel to travel to the scene by road, a journey of an hour and a half.
The avalanche followed more than 3ft of snow falling in the previous 48 hours.
About 2,000 British holidaymakers are currently in the resort, according to Abta.