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Saturday January 12, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Austria & Switzerland are being hit by yet another snow storm and it's been snowing heavily in France too. PlanetSKI is in the thick of it. UPDATED


Up to 3m of snow has fallen in parts of Austria since the start of January.

And still it falls.

The was more heavy snow overnight on Monday and some resorts remain cut off with all rail and road links closed on Tuesday.

From small resorts like Gargellen.

Gargellen, AustriaGargellen, Austria

















To the large resorts such as St Anton.

Our editor, James Cove, tried to reach St Anton on Monday.

It was a wintry scene flying in to Innsbruck:

"At the moment all road and rail links are closed due to the threat of avalanches and there is no  question of them opening tonight so an evening in Innsbruck it is," said James on Monday evening.

Regular readers will know Innsbruck is his favourite city in the mountains so it's not much of a hardship for him. Wink

And in St Anton itself there was very limited skiing first thing on Tuesday  with just a handful of drag lifts open at resort level.

As the day progressed 22 of the 80 odd lifts in the area were able to open.

St Anton and The Arlberg: virtually shutSt Anton and The Arlberg: virtually shut
















Many trains at Innsbruck remain motionless.

Innsbruck main railway stationInnsbruck main railway station

However the clouds have finally lifted to give view of the surrounding mountains - including the Olympic ski jump.

Innsbruck, the Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, the Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, the Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, the Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, the Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, the Tirol, Austria

And skiers and snowboarders are heading to the local resorts by bus.

Innsbruck, the Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, the Tirol, Austria

The weather is forecast to clear today thus allowing the clearing operation to start.

There is talk of St Anton opening to the outside world later today.

James remains poised.

Elsewhere we have had reaction on social media to all the snow.

Facebook reactionFacebook reaction











See the PlanetSKI Facebook page to add your comments from where you are in the mountains.

And in travel news...And in travel news...










Just over the Austrian border in Germany, a hotel in a cut-off ski area was hit by an avalanche on Monday.

No one was hurt in the slide in the village of Balderschwang in Bavaria just after 5am.

The Hotel Hubertus had more than 100 guests who have all been moved out to other accommodation.

Avalanche at Hotel HubertusAvalance hits hotel - photo Hotel Hubertus
















The police say the damage to the building is extensive.

Windows have been pushed in and a large amount of snow has been deposited inside the hotel.

The hotel says the slide hit the ground floor and damaged the spa area which had been closed since the weekend on the recommendation of the specialist avalanche team.

Last week an avalanche struck at a hotel restaurant in Switzerland, injuring three people, as we report lower down this article.

In Switzerland the International Ski Federation was hopeful of getting the Snowboard World Cup underway Laax in Switzerland today.

"It's still dumping in @LaaxSwitzerland, so no training for the second day in row at the #laaxopen," the FIS tweeted on Monday.

"The forecast is calling for better weather tomorrow so fingers crossed for then."

And Tuesday has been much, much better, so training was able to go ahead, with qualification in the halfpipe and slopestyle competitions due to take place on Wednesday.

Laax, SwitzerlandLaax, Switzerland, before it cleared
















LaaxLaax, Switzerland, Tuesday 15th January
















In some Austrian resorts helicopters are being used to blow snow off the trees as the weight of the snow is causing many to collapse.

The falling trees threaten the lifts and other infrastructure.

The same techniques are being used beside road and rail links.

PlanetSKI's Katie Bamber is also out in the Austrian Alps.

"I am in the Ski Amade area close to Salzburg where 2m has fallen and it is currently coming down heavily," said Katie.

"In the city of Salzburg all parks and public gardens have been closed amid fears that trees may collapse under the weight of snow."

"The landscape is, quite literally, buried in snow."

Here is her latest snow report, filmed on Monday:

And here is Katie measuring the snow in the resort of Maria Alm.

Looks like there is up to two Bambers of snow.

Salzburg area in AustriaSalzburg area in Austria

















"There was 30cm overnight on Saturday and not much of the ski resort of Maria Alm is open."

"The area has had the highest levels of snow for three decades according to the Director of Ski Amade, Chris, who I skied with at the weekend."

See here for Katie's full report:

"Such quantities of snow above 800m altitude only happen once every 30 to 100 years," said Alexander Radlherr from Austria's Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics.

The snow eased off at the start of the weekend which allowed some sort of clear up to begin.

Maria AlmMaria Alm

Maria Alm, AustriaMaria Alm, Austria















Maria Alm, AustriaMaria Alm, Austria














"Up to Monday night, a further 40-80cm of new snow will fall at altitude across a wide swathe of the northern Alps, with some central and eastern Swiss and western Austrian resorts seeing another metre or more," said the alpine snow expert, Fraser Wilkin from, at the weekend.

"The Arlberg/Vorarlberg region (e.g. St Anton, Lech, Warth-Schröcken) currently looks like it will be in the sweet spot," Fraser added.

See here for our updated reports on all the snow:
And at last there is some decent snow over in the French Alps too.

Our chief reporter at PlanetSKI, Jane Peel, has posted this report:
And here is how it looks in Courchevel in Les3Vallees:

Courchevel, FranceCourchevel, France

If you are heading out to the slopes soon, with all this fresh snow, you might want to check out an affordable way to get kitted out for winter with Decathlon.

Courchevel, FranceCourchevel, France

But we should also note that the heavy snow is not across the whole of the Alps. 

The southern Alps of Italy and France are struggling.

The Alps: a tale of two halvesThe Alps: a tale of two halves

However, Italy hasn't avoided the wild weather completely... it's just of a different kind.

It's been warm and windy in parts.

Have a look at this video from Sunday of a chairlift at Bardonnechia.

Video credit: Bardonecchia Borgo Vecchio

Back in Austria the let up on Saturday allowed some clearing up to get underway and the helicopters were able to fly to detonate many avalanches.

They had been grounded due to high winds.

Military helicopters have also been deployed in Austria to blow snow off treetops to reduce the risk of trees falling on roads and rails.

The military also rescued 66 German teenagers from a mountain guest house in the Kasberg mountain near the town of Grünau im Almtal in Upper Austria.

They had been snowed in for several days.

In and around Vienna 500 soldiers are clearing roads and a further 1,000 are on standby.

"There has been severe disruption to road and rail transport," said a statement from Austrian National Rail on Sunday.

"Due to heavy snowfall, we are currently experiencing service disruptions. In some cases, this has resulted in massive disruptions of the rail service."

The city of Innsbruck in the Tirol has seen huge amounts of snow and here is how it looked on Saturday.

The pictures come from our good friend, Holger Gassler, who lives in the city.

Innsbruck, the TirolInnsbruck, the Tirol

Innsbruck, the TirolInnsbruck, the Tirol

And this is where Holger spent his day: Glungezer, near Hall.

It is a fabulous resort in the Tux Alps in the Tirol, south-east of Innsbruck

Glungezer, AustriaGlungezer, Austria

In Switzerland, an avalanche hit a hotel restaurant, injuring three people, in Schwägalp.

The avalanche was 300m wide.

Cars were completely buried and a bus partly submerged.

One of the guests said that initially he thought snow was falling from the roof.

"There there was a gigantic noise, and the back area of the restaurant was engulfed in masses of snow," said a guest.

After the avalanche on the Schwägalp, rescuers search for potentially missing people with probing rods.

Clearing snow with shovels from inside the hotel Säntis on the Schwägalp....

People are being urged to be extra cautious off piste.

A teenager died in an avalanche in St Anton as he was skiing with this family away from the marked runs.

The avalanche risk in some areas is now at its highest level.

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI report of a series of avalanche deaths in the recent storms:

Austrian rescuers battled through chest-deep snow to reach a snowboarder.

The 41-year-old Polish man had lost his way after going off piste at the resort of Schlossalmbahn.

In Bulgaria two snowboarders died in an avalanche the Pirin mountains. 

21 people have died in weather-related accidents in Europe in 10 days.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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