Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Tourists Evacuated from Zermatt after Extreme Avalanche Danger Leaves Thousands Stranded

The iconic Matterhorn, as seen from outside Zermatt. Photo: Courtesy Kosala Bandara/Flickr

On Tuesday, following a prolonged period of heavy snowfall and fierce winds, CBS News reported that a select number of tourists are choosing to evacuate the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt by helicopter due to the extreme avalanche danger around the resort.

Per CBS News, some 13,000 tourists are stranded at the resort at the bottom of the famed Matterhorn mountain because the current avalanche danger in the surrounding area has reached level five–the highest level on the avalanche-warning scale–prompting Swiss officials to close all roads, trains, cable cars, ski slopes and hiking trails into and around the town.

As a result, Swiss authorities have deployed helicopters to ferry tourists who requested evacuation out of the town, north to the village of Taesch where the avalanche danger is less pronounced. However, an official who spoke with CBS News on the condition of anonymity made sure to clarify that none of the evacuations were government ordered; they were requested by cautious individuals.

To that end, a tourism official told The Guardian that really, there is no reason for fear at the moment, and that most within the Swiss ski village are quite calm.

Despite the heightened avalanche warning, locals say that by and large, most visitors are fairly unbothered in Zermatt. Photo: Courtesy of Bernardo Contopoulos/Flickr

“Everything is normal, everything is under control,” Janine Imesch, a spokeswoman for the resort, told The Guardian. “People are enjoying the snow, going shopping, eating and drinking. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. No one can go skiing or hiking, but it’s quiet, even a little bit romantic.”

Still, despite that reassurance from Imesch, a statement released Tuesday by the Swiss Federal Institute of Forest, Snow and Landscape Research underscored just how high the avalanche danger in the area was.

"Numerous large and, in many cases, very large natural dry avalanches are to be expected as a consequence of fresh snow and strong wind," the statement read. "Without question, it is inadvisable to engage in ski touring, freeriding and snowshoe hiking outside marked and open pistes."

Play
READ THE STORY
In Between Chemo & a Double Mastectomy, This Woman Went Skiing…A Lot
Up Next Ski

In Between Chemo & a Double Mastectomy, This Woman Went Skiing…A Lot

In Between Chemo & a Double Mastectomy, This Woman Went Skiing…A Lot

A single drop of blood fell to the snow, making a hollow plop. Halfway up hiking a backcountry run, Dina Mishev stared down at the lone drop of red on white. More blood pooled to the point of her nose. Dina watched as another drop fell, joining the first one on the snow. The blood stared back at her, a reminder of all the reasons why she couldn’t let herself stop climbing. Fresh from her second round of chemo a few days prior, Mishev was actively ignoring the pain, nausea and exhaustion

Play
READ THE STORY
Snowboarder Brock Crouch Suffers Serious Injuries in Whistler Avalanche
Up Next Snowboard

Snowboarder Brock Crouch Suffers Serious Injuries in Whistler Avalanche

Snowboarder Brock Crouch Suffers Serious Injuries in Whistler Avalanche

News broke across social media yesterday that up-and-coming snowboard star Brock Crouch had been seriously injured in a backcountry avalanche Sunday in Whistler, British Columbia while filming with Absinthe Films. So far, there hasn't been much in the way of definitive detail on what happened to the 18-year-old Californian boarder, but according to an Instagram post from his older brother, professional golfer Mike Glennie, Crouch may be lucky just to be alive right now. "Feeling extra

Play
READ THE STORY
Reflecting Back on One of Chamonix’s Best Seasons Ever
Up Next Ski

Reflecting Back on One of Chamonix’s Best Seasons Ever

Reflecting Back on One of Chamonix’s Best Seasons Ever

Ah, the land of croissants and red wine. Chamonix, France is to extreme skiing as Yosemite is to rock climbing, or Pipeline is to surfing. In a nutshell, the legendary mountains surrounding Mont Blanc have drawn the attention of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders looking to ride the biggest lines of their lives. Each year, a veritable pilgrimage of riders convenes in this magical valley in the French Alps to put their alpine skills to the test. So far, the 2017-18 season turned out