IN PICS: Swiss ski resorts deal with aftermath of heavy snow

Caroline Bishop
Caroline Bishop - [email protected]
IN PICS: Swiss ski resorts deal with aftermath of heavy snow
Zermatt train station after heavy snow. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP

Holidaymakers will once again be able to get to and from Zermatt and Zinal in the canton of Valais after being stranded for 24 hours following heavy snow that raised the avalanche risk to maximum.


The railway line between Täsch and Zermatt was due to reopen on Wednesday morning with the first train expected to leave at 11.15am, the resort said on its website. 
However the resort later tweeted that there would be a delay. "The railway cannot operate as planned due to the difficult removal of snow between Täsch and Zermatt. The persons in charge are working hard on the reopening and are confident to open the railway in the afternoon," it said.
The line between Täsch and Visp in the valley remains closed but a bus replacement service is running. 
Workers attempt to deal with the vast amounts of snow in Zermatt. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP
Zermatt was cut off from the outside world on Monday evening after huge amounts of snow fell in the area, forcing the authorities to close the railway line and nearby roads around the car-free village due to the extreme risk of avalanches.
The blockage left some 13,000 tourists stranded in the village, without even being able to ski since the pistes were closed. But the village itself was not threatened by avalanches, and everyone remained safe, authorities told the press.
On Tuesday afternoon an air bridge was set up for a couple of hours, allowing some people to get in and out by helicopter. 
But others simply made the most of being stranded in a beautiful Swiss village with fairytale snow. 
“The situation is rather romantic. People are finding it funny and are making the most of their forced holiday to go to the spa or walk about. There was a great atmosphere in the bars on Monday night, tourist office president Paul-Mark Julen told 20 Minutes.
The Local reader Max Schmieder, who has just started a job in Zermatt, said it was “strange to be so dependent on weather situations. People can only go to the shops, stay in the hotel or go out for lunch”.
Tourists were also left stranded in Saas-Fee after the access roads were closed due to avalanche risk.
“We go for walks, make the most of the calm, relax. It’s fantastic to be stuck here, there are worse places!” one 20 Minutes reader in the village told the paper.
The road from Saas-Grund to Saas-Almagell reopened on Wednesday morning, but the road between Stalden and Saas-Grund remained closed. 
The situation wasn't so good, however, for those who couldn’t reach the resorts, including 300 Belgian schoolchildren who were forced to remain in Sierre after the road to their destination, the ski resort of Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers, was closed, reported Le Matin.
A snowboarder walks in the village of Zinal. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
However they were later able to continue their journey after the road to Zinal reopened on Tuesday afternoon. 


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