Heavy snowfall leaves 13000 tourists stranded in Swiss Alps

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The avalanche risk in the town of Zermatt means skiing is not possible

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The avalanche risk in the town of Zermatt means skiing is not possible

There are now "around 13,000 tourists at Zermatt", she said, while the station website warned that "arrivals and departures are not possible".

In pic: An avalanche crosses the road and railway on the way towards Zermatt in St. Niklaus, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, train services resumed to continue the evacuation of 13,000 visitors from the Swiss resort town of Zermatt, near the famed Matterhorn mountain.

In the parallel Saas valley, road access to the resort of Saas-Fee is also blocked from the village of Stalden onwards.

"The guests and local residents weren't placed in any danger at any time - they had power and supplies", the tourism office said.

The rail network in Tasch remains closed due to snow, but replacement buses are operating, making it possible for people to reach regional airports.

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"We can't ski or go walking, but it's calm, a bit romantic", Janine Imesch, a spokesperson for the Zermatt area, told the media. It then said the line would remain closed at least until the afternoon.

An official said about 100 people could be evacuated per hour, conditions permitting. More than a meter (39 inches) of snow fell in parts on Monday alone with another meter falling yesterday.

"The snow clearance is more complicated than expected". This is the highest it has been for nearly 10 years.

French forecasters labelled recent falls as the worst in 30 years with up to 6ft of snow being dumped in 36 hours in parts of Savoie.

An avalanche hit a five-storey building in Sestrieres, in the Italian Alps, late on Monday, but the 29 people staying in the building escaped without injury, fleeing through the garage.

Beyond Valais, the first men's World Cup downhill training run in Wengen, in the canton of Bern, was cancelled Tuesday due to snow and high winds, organisers said.

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