Avalanche cuts off Zermatt

5th January 2012, by Chris Gill

Zermatt in Thursday's snowfall

Zermatt in Thursday's snowfall

An avalanche has blocked the railway into and out of Zermatt in Switzerland, cutting off the resort overnight.

Heavy snowfall throughout the day on top of already deeply laden slopes is the most likely cause of the slide, which happened at lunch time on Thursday. And the poor weather is preventing resort staff from assessing the situation and clearing the tracks. Helicopters are also unable to take off or land in the area.

‘The whole town is completely impassable,’ said a spokeswoman for the Zermatt tourism office. Holidaymakers have missed flights home, stuck in resort overnight.

The scene is typical of much of the northern Alps at the moment, with massive quantities of snow falling in a short space of time. While it may be the best start to winter for decades, and with more snow for some than the whole of last season, the current weather is pretty unpleasant; some respite is needed for things to settle down again. Thankfully the outlook seems a bit brighter next week, but until then the snow keeps coming ...

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