After 2-Day Halt, Trains to Snowbound Swiss Town Resume

After 2-Day Halt, Trains to Snowbound Swiss Town Resume

Skiing out is not an option, because the avalanche risk is set at the rarely used maximum on a five-point scale - the highest it has been for nearly 10 years.

A train packed with tourists has begun the descent from a snowbound town near Switzerland's Matterhorn as railway service resumed following a almost two-day suspension due to avalanche risks.

In neighbouring Switzerland, authorities worked round the clock to reopen the Zermatt Matterhorn Railway, a vital lifeline to the snowed in ski resort.

Several other ski resorts across Switzerland, France and Italy are also closed due to the extreme avalanche risk caused by the the highest snowfall the Alps has experienced for nearly 10 years.

Tourists visiting the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt were stranded at the resort for two days due to heavy recent snowfall and an elevated risk of avalanches. Nearby Saas-Fee also remains cut off. "It's a bit romantic", resort spokesperson Janine Imesch told AFP, adding that "there is no panic". The snow has blocked all roads and rail lines leading to the resort in the southern Swiss canton of Valais, which was also hit by power outages.

■ THE helicopter search for a British skier missing in Tignes in the French Alps since Sunday continued yesterday.

Luckily, there is no risk of heavy snowfall at the Matterhorn in Disneyland for the foreseeable future.

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.

But with the school holidays now over, the number of tourists and residents cut off was around 5,000, sharply down on the 11,000 people in the area last week, Italian media said.

French forecasters said snowfall in the Savoie area of the Alps was only seen "once in every 30 years" after an estimated 1.8 meters fell over 36 hours.