Tourists evacuated from Alpine ski resort

Zermatt, snow, heavy, snowfall, Alps, 2018, winter, ski, avalanche, risk, warning, rail, bus, travel

Zermatt

Skiers stranded due to heavy snow and avalanche risk

Helicopters are airlifting stranded tourists from the upmarket Swiss ski resort of Zermatt after about 13,000 visitors were stranded in the mountain village for two days by heavy recent snowfall and an exceptional risk of avalanches.

With even more snow to come, the airlift is taking out about 100 people per hour who urgently need to leave, to the nearby village of Täsch, a three-minute flight, from which rail replacement buses await for their onward journey.

The access road to the car-free mountain village, which has a resident population of about 5,500, has been closed because of the extreme avalanche risk and trains are unable to reach the station.

Ski slopes, hiking paths and cable cars around the village remain closed due to too much snowfall, a problem being faced in numerous Swiss and French resorts.

A mild wind has brought unseasonably high temperatures to lowland areas, but places above 1,400m have seen one to two metres of snowfall in recent days.

“Very large avalanches”
In Zermatt, near the Matterhorn, there is no immediate risk to the 13,000 tourists who remain there, which is approaching the village’s maximum capacity.

Electricity in the village has now been restored after an earlier power cut, although the resort continues to warn of “possible power breakdowns all over Zermatt”.

“People are enjoying the snow, going shopping, eating and drinking. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. No one can go skiing or hiking, but it’s quiet, even a little bit romantic,” one visitor told the Guardian newspaper.

Expected further snowfall on top of lots of old snow risks “numerous large and, in many cases, very large natural avalanches”, warns the Swiss federal institute for forest, snow and landscape research, WSL. Such avalanches could reach “an exceptionally long way”, it added.

Related stories

Poor snowfall hits ski chalet bookings

“Many dead” in avalanche at hotel

World’s steepest funicular opens in Alps

x

Check Also

Air France, cancel, delay, strike, February, pay, grounded, flights, Paris, Toulouse, Lyon

Air France strike hits Paris flights

Travellers are advised to postpone their flights until February 27 as chaos strikes airports.

Swedavia, security, gates, Sweden, airports, Arlanda, Gothenburg, Are, ski, baggage

Sweden deploys airport self-service tech

Automated entry gates are being installed at security checkpoints across the country.

Avinor, Oslo, airport, Gardermoen, ski, equipment, baggage, rules, dates, busiest, winter holiday, fly

Busiest winter dates to fly from Oslo

Hundreds of thousands of passengers will be using Oslo Gardermoen in the next couple of weeks.

Over the Moon, snow groomer, suite, erotic, luxury, stay, hotel, mountain, Alps, France, resort, La Plagne, Arpette, summit, Bellecôte

Sexy new mountaintop suite – in a snow groomer

A romantic escape with erotic touches is promised on a mountain summit in the Alps.

Copenhagen, winter, tourism, visitors, number, stats, incoming, inbound, Tivoli, open, February, anniversary

Copenhagen’s winter visitor boom

Tourists are visiting in winter at double the rate in the summer months.

SJ, sweden, rail, ski, north, mountain, travel, transport, fly, domestic tourism, why, where, Åre, Sälen, Riksgränsen, night train

How Swedes are travelling this winter

More Swedes are travelling by rail in Sweden this winter, a new survey says.