Rescuers and search dogs have taken to the slopes to practise rescue skills in the build-up to the deadly avalanche season in the Swiss Alps.

Emergency crews laden with specialist equipment landed with their dogs on the snowy slopes of Glacier 3000, above the village of Les Diablerets.

Nineteen people died in the Swiss Alps during the 2018-2019 winter season, official figures show.

Conditions have become more hazardous as Switzerland's glaciers retreat due to global warming, leaving mounds of unstable scree behind them.

Climate change is not the only factor however, according to Christian Reber, president of the alpine rescue association of the French-speaking Swiss region,.

"The change is the people's behaviour - there is today greater risk-taking than there was before," he said.

More than 500 Swiss glaciers have already vanished and the government says 90% of the remaining 1,500 will have disappeared by the end of the century if nothing is done to cut emissions.

During the training, doctors used spades to dig out a volunteer, assisted by dogs which have been trained to burrow through drifts and sniff out victims.

Rescuers have been using dogs to rescue avalanches victims for 75 years, said Reber, as it is sometimes more efficient than technology prone to malfunction.

"The dog has a sense of smell and this sense of smell does not fail", he added.