Oxford Student dies during Varsity Ski Trip

A tragic loss

France skiing Sport val thorens varsity ski

A 22 year old student from Oxford University, has died in Val Thorens, the location of the Varsity Ski Trip.

Firefighters in the French Alps, who double as paramedics, found him in cardiac arrest. They had been called by his friends who were reported to have discovered him in a state of unconsciousness at around 8AM on Saturday morning.

Resuscitation attempts were sadly unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead. The circumstances of the death are undergoing investigation by Albertville police, by the means of a post-mortem and toxicology tests,

Previous concerns about the behaviour on the trip, attended this year by more than 3,000 students, was underlined last year by a security official at Val Thorens, who told The Times that students were “risking their lives” by partaking in drunken challenges, such as building ‘human pyramids’, and competing in ski-races whilst intoxicated.

The student , who was a third year studying History at St John’s College, had been on the trip previously, when he was the College representative for OUSSC, the Oxford University Ski and Snowboard Club. He had also partaken in the Varsity Surf trip, which was in Moliets, France, last year.


NUCO Travel, the trip’s tour operator, confirmed the death to The Times today, saying: “Sadly one of our passengers passed away on Sunday 4th December 2016.” The spokesperson understandably refused further comment in order to respect the privacy of close friends and family of the deceased. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also told The Times that they were “supporting the family of a British national who died in France on 4 December.”

A spokesperson from St John’s Oxford described the death as “tragic” to the newspaper. The student has been identified by The Times, yet out of respect we chose not to name him in this report.

A statement from the University of Oxford said ‘We would like to express our deep sadness at the tragic death, and send our condolences to his family and friends. While we await the findings of the official investigation we are offering support to students who may have been affected.

Members of the College were invited to gather yesterday to remember him, and any member of the College who is particularly affected by this sad news has been encouraged to contact the Chaplain or any member of the Welfare team.’

Family, friends and students alike are thought to be receiving support as the results of the cause of death are being determined.