13000 trapped in Swiss ski resort

13000 trapped in Swiss ski resort

A view on a dumped snow from the roads in a river in Zermatt, Switzerland, 09 January 2018.

Some media reports said some 13,000 tourists were stranded in Zermatt due to the heavy snow and an avalanche risk.

Snow has blocked the access road to the resort and the train hasn't been able to reach the station since Monday. The ski runs, lifts, and walking paths were also closed authorities have started evacuating people by helicopters. Helicopter teams were also deploying to trigger controlled avalanches to release snow build-up after more than 1 meter of snow fell in some parts of the region in 24 hours. "We really recommend that people stay at home, the avalanche risk is high, these are conditions that we've not seen since 1978", said Captain Hélène Delas, a firefighter with the Savoie Fire Department, as cited by Euronews. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable.

"Power has returned, there's still the chance that it could go out. but at this time things look good", a tourist office spokeswoman in the town said. "People are enjoying the snow, going shopping, eating and drinking".

In France, police told AFP news agency they were searching for a British skier who went missing near the resort of Tignes.

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

"The snow clearance is more complicated than expected".

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. This is the highest it has been for nearly 10 years.

An avalanche hit the resort of Les Houches, near Chamonix, yesterday, damaging chalets and cars, but no casualties were reported.