Saturday, 20 January, 2018

13000 tourists stranded in Swiss resort town due to avalanche risk

Trains remain blocked by snow on the railway tracks at the Zermatt train station after heavy snowfall and avalanches trapped more than 13,000 tourists at Zermatt which is one of Switzerland`s most popular ski stations on 09 January 2018 Heavy snowfall has trapped some 13,000 tourists at Zermatt one of Switzerland's most popular ski stations the Alpine resort said Tuesday
Melinda Barton | 12 January, 2018, 21:13

Officials from the town of Zermatt said roads were closed and trains services halted because of the snowy conditions and power outtages.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the so-called air bridge could transport about 100 people an hour, conditions permitting.

Swiss state-backed broadcaster SRF showed images of several people wheeling their luggage out to three helicopters, with their blades whirring atop an icy plateau.

A small section of the railway linking Zermatt to the nearby village of Täsch was reopened on Wednesday.

By Tuesday afternoon, about 31.5 inches had dumped on the town of Zermatt in the past 24 hours, according to Switzerland's WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.

But an avalanche risk at its highest level means the stranded tourists will not be able to take advantage of the abundant snow for the time being.

Luckily, there is no risk of heavy snowfall at the Matterhorn in Disneyland for the foreseeable future. "It's a bit romantic", resort spokesperson Janine Imesch told AFP, adding that "there is no panic". The ski runs, lifts, and walking paths were also closed authorities have started evacuating people by helicopters.

Despite the fact that they are stranded, the tourists in Zermatt are reported to be in good spirits and the tourist office describes the atmosphere as "relaxed and comfortable", The Guardian reports.

The intense snowfall in the Zermatt and Saas valleys was part of a broader weather pattern that was causing mudslides and intensifying the avalanche risk across a broad swathe of south-western Switzerland.

"Numerous large and, in many cases, very large natural dry avalanches are to be expected as a outcome of fresh snow and strong wind", a statement from the Swiss Federal Institute of Forest, Snow and Landscape Research said.

Meanwhile, an aerial search has failed to locate British snowboarder John Bromell, 39, who went missing in the French resort of Tignes on Sunday.