Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

13000 trapped in Swiss ski resort

13000 trapped in Swiss ski resort

Mud and rockslides, as well as flooding, have forced the closure of a number of roads across Valais, as has the risk of avalanches, which regional police have said is now at the highest possible level.

Some visitors were more upset that nearby ski slopes were closed than getting stranded in the posh, picturesque resort town.

Trains began running again in the Zermatt ski station on Wednesday after crews dug through mounds of snow blocking the tracks, offering relief to thousands of tourists stranded at the popular Swiss resort.

The ski village and others at high altitude in Switzerland's Valais region have received more than three feet of snow in recent days, forcing the avalanche risk to be raised to its maximum level, according to the region's president, Romy Biner-Hauser. "It's a bit romantic", Imesch said, adding, "there is no panic".

The snow has blocked all roads and rail links leading to the resort, which lies below the famed Matterhorn mountain, leaving tourists with no means to leaving the area.

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As a result, Swiss authorities have deployed helicopters to ferry tourists who requested evacuation out of the town, north to the village of Taesch where the avalanche danger is less pronounced. None of the 29 people staying in the resort were injured.

Around 100 people at the resort's converted Olympic village complex, which housed athletes during the 2006 Turin Games, were also evacuated over fears the weight of snow could cause the roof to collapse. Due to heavy snowfall in the region interrupted by road and rail.

French forecasters labelled recent falls as the worst in 30 years with up to 6ft of snow being dumped in 36 hours in parts of Savoie.

The 39-year-old went missing in the resort of Tignes on Sunday after saying he wanted to complete "one last run", police said.

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