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Army called in to clear snow in Italy
Monday February 3, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

There has been over 3m falling in some Alpine areas since the weekend. Some resorts are closed and the military is helping to dig out in Italy and it is on standby in Austria. PlanetSKI reports from the Alps.

There has been the biggest snowfalls for 15 years in some places in southern Austria and Northern Italy.

At last though the snow has eased.

One of our readers, Craig Burton, has just arrive in Alta Badia in the Dolomites where it has been snowing heavily for the past few days.

"Sun has broken through today for the first time in a week and they seem to be slowly digging the resorts out. There has been an unbelievable quantity of snow and Arabba I understand is still pretty badly hit with very little open," said Craig Burton.

"The powder on the to the sides of the slopes and under the lift lines is deep and dry, though many of the slopes are blue gradient so hard going at times. Very fond of this part of the world, and paradise for intermediates who like cruising the blues and eating wonderful food," he added.

Craig Burton is the managing director of the tour operator, Ski Solutions.

Alta Badia, DolomitesAlta Badia, Dolomites














In Arabba, Italy, the snow has caused all slopes to be shut and the army to be drafted in.

3.3m of snow has fallen in the past week.

The soldiers have been digging out roads and clearing snow off buildings.

The pictures below come from the tour operator, Inghams.

Insane amounts of snow!

Arabba, ItalyArabba, Italy

















Arabba, ItalyArabba, Italy













The picture below is of Chalet Heidi, run by the British company Ski Total, in the Italian resort.

Arabba, ItalyArabba, Italy













The resort was closed as there is so much snow.

Arabba has had 7.5m since Christmas Eve.

Arabba, ItalyArabba, Italy












Elsewhere in Italy the snow has been extraordinary.

Clearing roofs is the priority, but it is hard and dangerous work.

Making safeMaking safe













Parts of Southern Austria have been put on the highest avalanche warning after a large snowstorm over the weekend.

See here for our story from the weekend.

In many areas the risk has now dropped to 3 but the danger is considerable.

Here is the latest from the Austrian Avalanche Authority:

"The avalanche danger in Tirol's backcountry touring regions is considerable over widespread areas above approximately 1800m.

Avalanche prone locations are found in wind loaded terrain in all aspects, frequently on west to north to east facing slopes.

In particular the freshly formed snowdrift accumulations are highly prone to triggering and can be released even by minimal additional loading.

Caution is also urged towards transitions from deep to shallow snow. Skiing and freeriding tours in outlying terrain require experience in assessing avalanche hazards.

Especially in the regions of East Tirol where snowfall was heaviest, full depth snowslides can still trigger naturally, particularly on steep, grass-covered slopes below about 1600m."

Some ski areas have been closed in resorts such as Obergurgl.

Below is one of the mountain restaurants.

Hohe Mut Alm, ObergurglHohe Mut Alm, Obergurgl













The snow has caused road, rail and air travel problems.

Some regions have seen more than 1.5m of snowfall in just 24 hours, resulting in some severe problems and the authorities have put the military on standby.

In Austria 3,500 homes were without power after with power lines becoming frozen in areas of the province of Carinthia.

Heavy snow in the provinces of Styria and Burgenland have caused travel delays on the roads and railways.

The Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna closed earlier in the week due to freezing ice.

It was the first time it has been forced to shut in its 260 year history because of the danger from black ice.

As we reported earlier on PlanetSKI two people have died in Austria.

Bozen and Seiser Alm in the South Tirol have had the highest avalanche warnings of 5 with 3m of snow and also Gross Glockner and Heiligen Blut in the East Tirol have similar snow levels with the same high avalanche risk.

However in contrast Seefeld where one of our reporters, Krystyna Chauncey, is at the moment has had less snow. A more modest 20cm of snow in the village, but much more up on the slopes. 

But several days on from the snowfall the weather has warmed up and much of the snow on the X-Country tracks (at 1,200m) needs refreshing.

"There are huge variation of snow in Austria at the moment. In the south there is the heaviest snow of the winter and the most many people can remember, while in the Northern parts it is more like late Spring with bare slopes low down and serious worries for the rest of the winter," said Krystyna.

Road into SeefeldRoad into Seefeld













Elsewhere in the Alps Slovenia has been hit hard.

1 in 4 homes are without power after snow has brought down electricity lines.

There has been chaos on the roads too.

Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic have offered assistance and have sent electricity generators.

Some homes have been without power for 4 days and it is estimated half of the nation's forests have been affected.

For the spirit of the mountains

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