Monday 15 August 2022 05:28 PM Accountant, 34, slipped and plunged 80ft to his death while skiing off-piste in ... trends now
A 34-year-old father-of-one who plummeted to his death had been taking his skis off on top of a cliff in the French Alps because there was no route down the mountain, an inquest has heard.
Mike Rowell was traversing an off-piste section at the world-renowned French resort of Chamonix near Mont Blanc when he died in the 'desperately tragic accident' earlier this year.
Winchester Coroner's Court heard that Mr Rowell, a chartered accountant, was an accomplished skier who had been skiing with his friend Niall Jones when they ran out of ski tracks and stopped on March 12 this year.
Mike Rowell was traversing an off-piste section at the world-renowned French resort of Chamonix near Mont Blanc when he died in the 'desperately tragic accident' in March
Mr Jones told the court that Mr Rowell had gone forward to inspect the route and that he vanished moments later, leaving only one ski sticking out of the snow.
The married father of one is believed to have fallen around 80ft. His cracked helmet was uncovered on the slope 160ft below where his body was found by rescuers near the exclusive resort of Chamonix.
The resort is nestled at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe at more than 4,800m above sea level.
Chamonix Valley is considered one of the best resorts in the world for expert skiers due to the area's extensive off-piste terrain.
Mr Rowell's wife, Helen, told the inquest that her husband was an accomplished skier and that he didn't take risks.
'Mike was very calm, kind, generous, clever man,' she said. 'We had spent a lot of time skiing together.
'He hadn't been skiing for four years before the trip... He was definitely capable of skiing off-piste.'
Mr Jones told the inquest he and Mr Rowell had been skiing at 2,100 metres and that conditions were sunny and warm on the day Mr Rowell died.
Chamonix Valley resort is