Extreme Avalanche Risk Leaves Thousands of Tourists Stranded in Ski Resort Town

13 January, 2018, 06:35 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Trains resume service in snowbound Swiss ski resort

Authorities evacuated 20 people from Visp around 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Zermatt after a snowy mudslide rammed into part of the town, Swiss broadcaster SRG reported.

Trains have begun running to the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt where up to 13,000 tourists have been trapped by heavy snowfall since Monday.

Frank Techel, an SLF avalanche forecaster, said roughly three to four meters (about 10-13 feet) of snow had been dumped on the Zermatt area so far this year, which he called an "extraordinary" amount for the region in such a short span.

Bulldozers have been deployed to help clear the streets of snow.

Extreme weather has caused havoc in several Swiss areas, including in the canton of Bern, where a World Cup downhill training run had to be cancelled due to snow and high winds.

"The railway can not operate at 11.15 am as planned due to the hard removal of snow between Tasch and Zermatt", the statement said.

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A police official in Zermatt said an estimated 300 to 400 people flew out the day before, when some 13,000 tourists were unable to leave by road or rail.

Up to 1.8m of snow fell inside 36 hours in parts of France's Savoie region, creating avalanches, cutting off towns and causing loss of power.

The avalanche risk has been raised to the maximum level of five on the avalanche warning scale, the highest it's been for almost 10 years.

One skier was killed and another injured during an avalanche in the French Pyrenees.

Meanwhile there was still no sign of the British snowboarder John Bromell who went missing in France just before the massive snowfall which covered the Alps.

Helicopters have also started to airlift some of the stranded groups away from the resort with the authorities pledging they were in control of the evacuation.

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