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
Why Wild Barn Coffee Hosted an All-female Nude Ski Event
Up Next Ski

Why Wild Barn Coffee Hosted an All-female Nude Ski Event

Why Wild Barn Coffee Hosted an All-female Nude Ski Event

This week in 'Women in the Mountains' we sat down with Wild Barn Coffee’s Jenny Verrochi who masterminded an underground women’s naked ski event. Sounds cheeky and chilly! Will Beihoffer photo. On March 20th, you could see a full moon on top of Bluebird Backcountry’s West Bowl. Well, 22 full moons to be exact. It was all part of a women's event focused on one beautiful, singular goal: skiing butt naked in the backcountry. The cheeky idea came from Jenny Verrochi, who’s based in Boulder,

Play
READ THE STORY
Listen to John Collinson on The Powell Movement
Up Next Ski

Listen to John Collinson on The Powell Movement

Listen to John Collinson on The Powell Movement

John Collinson’s upbringing was a little different than most pro skiers. He grew up in a closet in Snowbird employee housing with his older sister Angel, and didn’t do many things that most kids do. However, what he did experience was unfathomable, like summiting Rainier at 4 years old, summiting Everest at 17, and so much more. On the podcast, Mike Powell and Collinson talk about how he went from the closet to his sister's shadow, to pro skier, to social media influencer known for his

Play
READ THE STORY
Taking Steps of Stoke With Lonnie Kauk
Up Next Snowboard

Taking Steps of Stoke With Lonnie Kauk

Taking Steps of Stoke With Lonnie Kauk

Lonnie, taking that next stoked-out step. | Ikon Pass photo. Ikon Pass holder, professional snowboarder and rock climber, Lonnie Kauk grew up seeking magic lines throughout his native Yosemite Valley and surrounding mountains. From early turns as a 2-year-old with his grandfather to scoring a pass at Mammoth Mountain – and now an Ikon Pass for the 21/22 season – Lonnie continuously embraces one step of stoke after the next. The Ikon Pass crew sat down with Lonnie to discuss his journey