Thousands face being stranded at ski resort AGAIN amid avalanche fears

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By Sallyann Nicholls
A hotel covered in snow is seen in Zermatt , Switzerland (Jan 8, 2018)
A hotel covered in snow is seen in Zermatt , Switzerland (Jan 8, 2018)   -  Copyright  REUTERS

Top ski resort Zermatt has closed for the second time in two weeks due to avalanche fears. It’s thought that at least 9,000 tourists are currently staying in the village.

Around 13,000 tourists were stranded there for two days on January 8 after thick snow blocked transport routes and prompted the avalanche risk to be raised to its maximum level.

Heavy snowfall over the weekend increased the avalanche danger level to maximum yet again in parts of the Alps, prompting other popular resorts to close in and around Switzerland.

Rail and road connections to St. Anton in Austria were blocked off on Monday, while Andermatt, a skiing village in central Swizerland, was also closed amid the severe weather.

Villages across the Swiss region Valais have been evacuated. Residents from Mayens-de-Conthey were told to vacate their homes on Saturday morning, according to local media. It was the second time locals have had to leave this month because of avalanche fears. 

At least 28 homes in Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers fell into the “red” zone and were evacuated on Sunday, Valais police said.

The avalanche risk on January 22nd, 2018.
The avalanche risk on January 22nd, 2018.Institute for snow and avalanche research.

“The situation will remain very dangerous until at least Tuesday,” they said in a statement, adding that “all unnecessary travel should be avoided” in the area.

Residents of Davos have been evacuated amid the heightened avalanche risk, where world leaders are due to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Thursday. But organisers say the weather should improve in time for the gathering in the Alpine town.

On Sunday, experts at MétéoSuisse predicted at least three feet of snow will have fallen in southern Switzerland between Saturday afternoon and Monday night.