Skier in 900ft death plunge

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A British skier who died after falling nearly 900ft in the French Alps was a keen sportswoman who "lived life to the full", neighbours said yesterday.

Nottingham-born Ceiwen Faulkner, 32, who lived in London, was skiing off-piste at 6,800ft when the accident happened. She slipped as a guide was taking her, husband Peter and three other skiers down a treacherous mountain path in the Meije region of the Alps, near the French resort of La Grave.

"The woman must have been a good skier because the accident happened in a very dangerous area - off-piste and high on a glacier full of crevasses," said a mountain rescue worker.

Antoine Sullivan, who lives next door to the house in Highbury, north London, where the Faulkners have lived for 10 years, described them as "a very friendly and happy couple".

He added: "They were wonderful people, very active and sporty. They were always off on some holiday or another - skiing, scuba diving and tennis."

His wife, Christine, said: "They lived life to the full, a young couple with no children - they just thought why not make the most of life?"

Skiers are always advised to take a guide and not to stray off course if they wish to venture to the spot where Mrs Faulkner died. The area is notorious for accidents and a rescue worker said: "Every season we have several bad accidents up there. It's inevitable. Thick snow gives way to ice and unexpected drops. Even in good weather skiers are at great risk."

He said Monday's accident happened in ideal conditions - sunny weather and plenty of snow. An inquiry has been opened into the accident by the French authorities.