Austria ‘snowed in’

Several ski resorts are currently cut off with roads blocked by snowfalls that are over six feet high in the past few days and which are set to continue to the weekend at least. At the ski resort of Planneralm, the Austrian military made their first helicopter flight to supply 500 people due to a road closure from the danger of avalanches.

A second resort, Hochfügen in the Zillertal near Mayrhofen is also currently cut off because the roads are blocked, and around 700 tourists are currently marooned in the village.

In Lower Austria more than 1000 members of the volunteer fire brigade have been shovelling snow off rooftops in half a dozen villages to prevent them from breaking under the weight.

Kitzbühel particularly is in the midst of a huge snowfall, surrounded by over eight feet of deep snow with more than two feet of new snow falling in just one night last week in the same Alps region, leaving road maintenance centres to clearing out the roads for 10 days in a row.

The region, which has more than 700 miles of piste and a dozen or so ski areas, has snow up to 13.3 feet deep, especially on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun.

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On Tuesday alone, more than 60 snow warnings were issued, all for Austria. The excessive snowfall means that the avalanche situation is critical with warnings at the highest possible level of 5 in the North Alps.  

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