The three German skiers, male and aged 32, 36 and 56, were near the resort of Lech, in the Tyrol region, when they were hit.
Police said the four friends had skied onto a closed trail. Although they had avalanche protection equipment and deployed airbags, the victims were buried by the avalanche and suffered multiple injuries.
Meanwhile in France, two ski patrollers were killed when the devices they use to trigger avalanches exploded.
A search for the missing German skier in the group, age 28, had to be called off because of heavy snow and the risk of avalanches. They were located via cellphone tracking. Ski patrollers are in charge of preventing potential dangers to skiers, notably by triggering controlled avalanches with powerful explosive charges.
The latest avalanche brings to at least 24 the number of weather-related deaths reported in parts of Europe this month.
Some 500 soldiers have been drafted in to clear roads and roofs in the most heavily affected areas, and a further 1,000 soldiers are on standby, the government said.
Three people were injured after an avalanche hit the Swiss resort of Schwaegalp on Thursday.
Snow set in again in the northern Alps yesterday night after authorities had done their best to clear some of it. In the Bavarian town of Kempten, local authorities closed 11 sports halls as a precaution through Tuesday because the weight of snow on their roofs was expected to increase, the German news agency dpa reported.