Overnight winds of up to 125 miles per hour also meant there was significant damage to infrastructure on the course, notably at the finish area where tents and the stands were hit.

Overnight winds of up to 125 miles per hour also meant there was significant damage to infrastructure on the course, notably at the finish area where tents and the stands were hit.
Heavy snowfall has trapped around 13,000 tourists at Zermatt, one of Switzerland's most popular ski stations.

The snow has blocked all roads and the train leading to the resort in the southern Swiss canton of Valais, which was also hit by some power outages, head of the train station Janine Imesch said.

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

The main access road has been closed since early yesterday, while the train was halted last night, she said.

Zermatt is home to about 5,500 inhabitants and has the capacity to accommodate 13,400 tourists spread across hotels and rental apartments.

But the stranded tourists will not be able to take advantage of the abundant snow for the time being, due to the high risk of avalanches in the area.

'It is not possible to do downhill or cross country, but that's OK. It's a bit romantic,' Imesch said, adding: 'There is no panic.'

Despite her optimism, however, commune president Romy Biner-Hauser said that every precaution is being taken since the avalanche threat is at maximum - or 'extreme'.

The snow has blocked all roads and the train leading to the resort in the southern Swiss canton of Valais, which was also hit by some power outages

The snow has blocked all roads and the train leading to the resort in the southern Swiss canton of Valais, which was also hit by some power outages
He told Le Nouvelliste: 'The situation is being monitored every half an hour and if things change, we will take the necessary measures.'

The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research warned of 'numerous large, and, in many cases, very large' avalanches.

It went on: 'From starting zones that have retained some snow the avalanches can reach an exceptionally long way. Exposed buildings and exposed parts of transportation routes are endangered. Extensive safety measures are to be maintained in particular for the late morning.


'In the afternoon the natural avalanche activity will decrease. Without question, it is inadvisable to engage in ski touring, freeriding and snowshoe hiking outside marked and open pistes.'

A reconnaissance flight is planned over the area to help determine the situation and how to proceed.

A number of other Valais villages were also isolated by the heavy snow. The Simplon region of Valais was hit by 3.5 feet of snow in a 24-hour period, the ATS news agency reported.

A webcam showing the snow-covered resort

A webcam showing the snow-covered resort
Mud and rockslides, as well as flooding, have forced the closure of a number of roads across Valais, as has the risk of avalanches, which regional police have said is currently at the highest possible level.

At lower altitudes, heavy rains have meanwhile forced the evacuation of around 20 people from the tiny village of Eyholz, and the hamlet of Mottec was also emptied as a precaution, the RTS broadcaster reported.

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.

Overnight winds of up to 125 miles per hour also meant there was significant damage to infrastructure on the course, notably at the finish area where tents and the stands were hit. The piste itself was unaffected.