Trains resume service in snowbound Swiss ski resort

  • Trains resume service in snowbound Swiss ski resort

Trains resume service in snowbound Swiss ski resort

The intense snowfall in the Zermatt and Saas valleys was part of a broader weather pattern that was causing mudslides and intensifying the avalanche risk across a broad swathe of south-western Switzerland.

Authorities evacuated 20 people from Visp around 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Zermatt after a snowy mudslide rammed into part of the town, Swiss broadcaster SRG reported.

Relief trains have started to reach thousands of tourists stranded by snow and avalanches in the Swiss Alps.

"After nearly two days that Zermatt was cut off from the rest of the world, the destination is now reachable by train", it said in a statement.

"The situation is actually very calm in the village", Christian Ziorjen from Zermatt Tourism said. "It's a bit romantic", resort spokesperson Janine Imesch said.

The resort said on its website that ski slopes, hiking paths and cable cars around the village remained closed.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the so-called air bridge can transport about 100 people an hour, conditions permitting.

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

The avalanche risk has been raised to the maximum level of five on the avalanche warning scale, the highest it's been for almost 10 years.

Heavy snowfall has blocked access to some Italian resorts and villages, among them Cervinia in the Valle d'Aosta region. Fortunately, the 29 people staying there were able to escape without injury by fleeing through the garage.

The 39-year-old went missing in the resort of Tignes on Sunday after saying he wanted to complete "one last run", police said.

The Zermatt tourism office said Wednesday: "After being cut off for nearly two days, Zermatt can now be accessed by train again".