Two die in Swiss Alpine ski resort accidents

Accidents claimed the lives of a snowboarder and a toboggan rider in the Swiss Alps over the weekend.

Two die in Swiss Alpine ski resort accidents
Chairlift at Hoch-Ybrig ski resort. Photo: Tourism Switzerland

A 34-year-old woman died on Sunday after falling out of a chairlift in a freak incident at a ski resort in the canton of Schwyz.

The accident happened on Saturday at the Hoch-Ybrig ski area around 3pm, Schwyz cantonal police said.

The woman, a snowboarder of undisclosed nationality, was on the six-seater Hesisbol chairlift with her husband, police said.

As she tried to leave at the terminus of the lift, her backpack became stuck and she missed the exit.

The lift continued round until a circuit breaker was tripped, halting the chairlift.

At that moment, for reasons not explained, the woman fell out of the chair, plunging seven metres to the ground , police said.

She suffered severe head injuries and was transported in critical condition by air rescue authorities to a local hospital, where she died on Sunday, police said.

Cantonal police and the local prosecutor have launched an investigation into the mishap, in cooperation with the Swiss Accident Investigation Branch (SUST).

The Hesisbol lift serves the NBC Snowpark, an area designed for snowboarders in the ski resort located in the Alpine foothills close to Schwyz, the capital of the canton.
Ski resorts typically warn skiers and snowboarders to take off backpacks and to check for loose straps and clothing before boarding chairlifts to avoid potential problems.

It is not clear also whether the victim at Hoch-Ybrig was wearing a helmet.

Elsewhere, a 51-year-old Italian man died while tobogganing on Saturday night at the Arflina-Fiderer Heuberge mountain resort in the canton of Graubünden.

Cantonal police said the man, a resident of Switzerland, was following a snow grooming machine down a trail.

At around 10.15pm he collided with the “rear tiller” of the machine when he tried to overtake it, suffering fatal injuries in the process.

Police released no other details about the incident.

The Graubünden resort is noted for an 11-kilometre long toboggan run, which starts from the Berghaus Arfina at 2,000 metres and descends to the village of Fideris.

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Graubünden says no to hosting 2026 winter Olympics

Residents of the canton of Graubünden on Sunday rejected a plan for the area to host the 2026 winter Olympics.

Graubünden says no to hosting 2026 winter Olympics
The campaign to put Graubünden forward as a candidate was defeated at the polls on Sunday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Over 60 percent of people voted in a referendum against the idea of Graubünden becoming the official Swiss candidate.
The cantonal authorities were asking for approval of a 25 million franc fund for Graubünden’s candidacy.
Only nine million of that would have been paid by the canton itself, the rest being paid by the federal government and the Swiss Olympic committee, reported news agency ATS
The plan would have seen the Games spread over various locations in the canton as well as in Zurich, Einsiedeln and Engelberg. 
Backers said hosting the Games would bring a welcome boost to Graubünden’s economy, which has suffered in recent years under the strong franc and a dip in winter tourism.
It’s the second time in five years that the canton has rejected such a plan. In 2013 a proposal for Graubünden to host the 2022 winter games was also quashed.
According to some, this new proposal came to soon after the last one. 
The rejection of Graubünden leaves only one other region in the running as the Swiss candidate for 2026. 
Last May the cantons of Vaud and Valais teamed up to launch a joint bid for candidacy that would see the Games spread out across several sites in the two cantons. 
Sion was chosen as the host city of the shared bid, though competitions would be held in 14 towns and cities including Lausanne, Champéry, Crans-Montana, Verbier and Zermatt. 
Sites further afield, such as St Moritz and Kandersteg, could even be involved.
With only one candidacy now on the table, national Olympic committee Swiss Olympic will spend the next few weeks assessing whether Sion 2026 meets the specified criteria – namely, that hosting the winter Olympics there would have a positive impact on the country, and that it has the capabilities to win its bid for the Games in 2019. 
Swiss Olympic will make its decision on March 7th, before final confirmation on April 11th.
Switzerland has twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games, in 1928 and 1948, both times in St Moritz, Graubünden.