ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com December 16, 2018


Thousands Stranded in a Swiss Resort

13 January 2018, 03:08 | Erica Roy

Zermatt is home to about 5,500 inhabitants and has the capacity to accommodate 13,400 tourists spread across hotels and rental apartments

Zermatt is home to about 5,500 inhabitants and has the capacity to accommodate 13,400 tourists spread across hotels and rental apartments

Skiing is not possible as slopes are closed because of the risk of avalanches.More than a metre (39in) of snow fell in parts on Monday alone.

A helicopter "air bridge" ferried down hundreds of passengers Tuesday and early Wednesday as ground travel became all but impossible, and other helicopter teams were also deployed to trigger controlled avalanches to release snow buildup.

Heavy snowfall closed down the famed Zermatt resort in Switzerland Tuesday, leaving almost 13,000 tourists stranded there.

Helicopter teams used controlled explosions to trigger avalanches and clear unsafe areas of snow so the train line to the town could be safely reopened.

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.


The resort has a total of 13,400 tourist beds, including 7,200 in hotels and 6,200 in apartments. The rest were "enjoying the snow, going shopping, eating, and drinking", says the spokesperson.

Frank Techel, an SLF avalanche forecaster, said roughly three to four meters (about 10-13 feet) of snow had been dumped on the Zermatt area so far this year, which he called an "extraordinary" amount for the region in such a short span.

Area roads were closed Monday morning and train services were canceled Monday night. Nearby Saas-Fee also remains cut off.

For most of the way the only way in or out was by helicopter airlift, with many tourists choosing to pay 70 Swiss francs (£50) for a seat on a flight.

The heavy snowfall has caused casualties across the region. EPA-EFE/MATEUSZ BOCIAN ORG XMIT: OWLL MATEUSZ BOCIAN, KEYSTONE, via EPA-EFE A hotel employee shovels snow off the rooftop in Zermatt, Switzerland, on January 9, 2018.



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