News Headlines     |     


Heavy snow in The Alps
Saturday January 21, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

Austria has once again been hit by huge snowfalls. 70cm fell overnight in places over the weekend and the avalanche risk is at its highest. Resorts were once again cut off causing havoc with some transfers. The snowfall has also spread to France.

It was forecast, preparations were made but the high volumes of snow and high winds still caught a few by surprise.

The resorts of Ischgl, St Anton, Kuhtai, Lech and Galtur had their access roads closed as the avalanche danger was put at Level 5.

They remain cut off.

Most of the runs were closed for those people trapped in ski resorts as the high level of snow caused huge problems for the ski patrol.

Many people are simply battoning down the hatches and staying indoors.

We have just been sent the images below from the Austrian Tirol by PlanetSKI reporter, Katy Dartford, who has been covering the winter Youth Olympic Games.

Train travel badly affectedTrain travel badly affected












Villages cut offVillages cut off












As Saturday wore on the snow became heavier in France with the roads treacherous for people leaving the main resorts of Les Arcs, Le Plagne, Val d'Isere and Tignes.

Some did not make their flights out of Geneva airport.

Snowsports racing was badly affect as events were cancelled at the Youth Olympic Games but the Hahnenkamm, in Kitzbuehel, did manage to take place - albeit on a shorter course.

The Swiss veteran, Didier Cuche, won it for a record breaking 5th time as we have reported elsewhere on PlanetSKI.

He was even cheered by the Austrians.

In Innsbruck the final weekend of competition at The Youth Olympic Games was badly hit by the heavy snow.

"The unanimous decision was made to cancel the Ski Cross finals because of snowfalls of up to 70cms during the night in combination with strong winds which are set to continue through to tomorrow," said a statement we have received at PlanetSKI from the organisers.

They say once the storm stopped they would need three days of work to build the course again and clear the snow.

In Switzerland events were also affected. The Verbier Ride was cancelled.

If you were in the resort and disappointed not to see it then here is a video of the event from 2011.

The content editor of PlanetSKI, James Cove, is currently in Sochi, Russia, with the senior management team from Britain's largest tour operator Crystal. 

"They have been on conference calls and blackberry commnication with their staff back in the Alps keeping abreast of the situation and taking decisions on whether to move people in and out of resorts or not," said James Cove.

They moved some people on Friday as a precaution and it seems to have paid off as they were able to get home.

With roads closed, avalanche danger and many people unable to get to their final destination on time, and sometimes not at all, it is a testing time for the tour operators.

Crystal moves around 13,000 people in and out of ski resorts on average at the weekend and so bad weather days are a logistical nightmare.

They do not insure for weather delays and so have to put people up in hotels and re-schedule flights at the company's expense.

Snowploughs out in AustriaSnowploughs out again in Austria












Crystal is offering holidays to Sochi in Russia ahead of the 2014 Olympics and we will be having a series of features about the ski area, the Olympics and what Russia has to offer later this month. In the meantime see the first blog from James Cove as he arrived.

Since he wrote it he has been in contact and says the ski resort of Rosa Khutour is now in his current Top 10 resorts in the world for the variety of terrain on offer. Last count he has been to over 300.

"Like The Alps we have had high levels of snow here in Russia too but the roads seemed to be closed not by the snow but by the visiting politicians.  Yesterday the President of Belarus was here and the road was closed so he could get in and out."

The resort of Rosa Khutor has had over 3m of snow in the past week.

That is a lift under thereThat is a lift under there













Back in The Alps the storm is continuing and we will bring you further news as we get it.

It is just the latest big snowfall this winter in The Alps, but let's hope it is reported with slightly more accuracy by the manistream newspapers than earlier this month.

For our last snow overview from The Alps then see here.

For the spirit of the mountains

Related Articles

FRESH AVALANCHE WARNINGS (Saturday April 21, 2018)
FRESH AVALANCHE WARNINGS (Tuesday April 17, 2018)
SHERPAS IN VERBIER (Monday April 16, 2018)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners