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Spanish, French skiers die in French mountains

A traffic jam on the RN90 road between Albertville and Moutiers on the way to ski resorts AFP

A 24-year-old Spaniard and a 22-year-old Frenchman died while skiiing during heavy snowfall in French this weekend. As storms swept large parts of the country officials warned that skiing off-piste would be "practically suicidal" over the next few days.

The Spanish man was found dead by a gendarmerie helicopter in the Pyrenees mountains on Sunday morning.

A search was launched on Saturday evening after his friends noticed he was missing and alerted the authorities.

It was broken off during the night but resumed in the morning and the man's body was found off-piste.

The rescuers said that, although he was wearing a helmet, he appears to have been killed when he fell and hit his head on a rock.

22-year-old dies in Alps

A 22-year-old man from the Paris region also died on Saturday while cross-country skiing in the French Alps.

He was caught in an avalanche at 2,600 metres off-piste.

His four companions survived.

Because of heavy snowfall, which left 4,000 holidaymakers stranded in emergency shelter, rescuers were unable to reach the scene until Monday morning.

Local rescue official Patrice Ribes told France Info radio that skiing off-piste over the next few days would be "practically suicidal" with the risk level in the Savoie region put at four out of five.