More than 10,000 tourists stranded in European ski resorts after heavy snowfall

Heavy snow has cut off ski resorts in Switzerland and Northern Italy, leaving more than 10,000 tourists stranded.

Italian media reported that Cervinia, in the Aosta Valley, is half-buried under two metres of fresh snow, triggering avalanche warnings.

The freak weather conditions resulted in the deaths of a mother and her 11-year-old daughter on an off-piste ski run in Val Venosta, northwest of Bolzano, Italy, UK Express reports.

There have been several avalanches in Europe due to heavy snow fall. Source: Channel 7
There have been several avalanches in Europe due to heavy snow fall. Source: Channel 7
Skiers had to be rescued from a ski lift. Source: Channel 7
Skiers had to be rescued from a ski lift. Source: Channel 7

Italy's Alpine rescue service said the two were rescued alive in critical condition despite "prohibitive" weather conditions but died soon after.

Forecasters at the weather centre in Bolzano put the risk of an avalanche at four on a scale of one to five along the Cresta di Confine on Italy's border with Austria.

The Italian resort of Cervinia had two metres of fresh snow. Source: Twitter/Anna G Milan
The Italian resort of Cervinia had two metres of fresh snow. Source: Twitter/Anna G Milan
A church covered in snow in Cervinia. Source: Instagram/flaviometeo_2000
A church covered in snow in Cervinia. Source: Instagram/flaviometeo_2000

A number of mountain villages, including in the Valais, Bernese Oberland as well as in the southeast and in central Switzerland, were blocked as roads or rail links were suspended due a high risk of avalanches and mudslides.

Meanwhile, high winds in Austria turned ski lifts into giant swings with skiers having to be rescued by resort staff.

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