Tragedy as snow groomer falls 1,300 feet down mountain at Swiss resort

Glacier 3000 snow groomer
One of Glacier 3000’s Pistenbully snow groomers (not the one involved in the accident) (Image credit: Glacier 3000 / Facebook)

The driver of a snow groomer at Switzerland’s Glacier 3000 luxury ski resort is in a life-threatening condition after the vehicle fell around 1,300 feet / 400m down a mountain slope.

The accident occurred around 8:35am on Monday, when the snow groomer tipped over for unknown reasons as the driver was returning it to the garage near the top station of the resort, which is about 40km east of Monetreux.

According to a press release issued by the Vaud cantonal police, the vehicle then fell about 1,300 feet before coming to rest. 

At some point the driver – only identified for now as a 35-year-old Swiss national living in the region – had been thrown from the groomer’s cabin, and rescuers found him in the snow with life-threatening injuries.

He was then airlifted by Air Glacier to Les Diablerets and then transported to the CHUV by a REGA helicopter. 

This mountain rescue operation involved a patrol from the gendarmerie mountain platoon, another from the traffic unit, the Diablerets rescue column, mountain rescuers from the station and a helicopter from Air Glacier and one from REGA.

An investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched by the local prosecutor’s office with the involvement of specialists from the Vaud gendarmerie.

Glacier 3000 purchased in 2005 by Gstaad local Marcel Bach, former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and French billionaire Jean-Claude Mimran (the 'Sugar King of Africa'), who transformed an ailing ski area into a year-round mountain playground.

We offer our sincerest hopes to the driver that he pulls through.