Snow falls continue in Austrian resorts

9th January 2019, by Abi Butcher

A horse wading in snow last weekend gives an idea of the snow levels in Obergurgl

A horse wading in snow last weekend gives an idea of the snow levels in Obergurgl

Another cold front has hit Austria — with even more due at the weekend, resulting in villages and ski resorts over the Austrian and Bavarian Alps being cut off amid near historic levels of snow.

Avalanche warnings across Austria and Eastern Switzerland remain at 4/5 — with off-piste skiing being banned and some resorts being completely cut off by the weather. The Austrian ski resort of Hochkar was evacuated on Monday due to avalanche warnings — after three feet of snow fell in 24 hours.

“We have to bring everyone down from the mountain, both guests and staff. As far as I know, this has never happened in the history of Hochkars, but we can not guarantee medical care at the moment,” Friedrich Fahrnberger, the resort’s mayor, told local NÖN news.

Yesterday morning, another cold front due to last 48 hours arrived, adding to the already exceptional snow levels in the northern Tirol, Salzburgland, Upper Austria and Styria. This includes resorts such as Obertauern, Saalbach, Zell-am-See and Schladming — as well as Kitzbühel.

Obergurgl yesterday cancelled its night skiing and skishow Festogel “due to the strong winds and the further prediction for tonight”.


Trees covered in snow in Kitzbühel yesterday. Pic: Facebook/Kitzski

Kitzbühel authorities have called for caution among skiers and snowboarders wanting to go off-piste. Several people died in different Austrian ski resorts over the weekend in separate avalanches.

“The continuing and intensive snowfall have perfectly secured the skiing season for this winter. However, the extraordinary snow does not only bring joys, but also call for caution!” said Kitzbuhel authorities. “Off the secured and marked runs [there is a danger of] acute avalanches - please stay on the secured and marked slopes. The Railway Kitzbühel also asks for your understanding when it comes to temporary closures because of runway safeguards.”

Obertauern is to issue another update at 10am this morning, following overnight road closures due to heavy snow.

Despite near record-breaking levels of snow in northern and north-eastern areas of the Alps (up to 70cm is expected in this current storm cycle), much lighter snowfalls are expected in western Switzerland and France — with the southern Alps including French/Italian border and Italy receiving nothing from this latest storm.

But all eyes continue to rest on Austria.

“Some favoured spots such as the Arlberg/Vorarlberg may even see another metre or more at altitude,” says Fraser Wilkin of weathertoski.co.uk in his snow update Today in the Alps — another one will be published later this morning.



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