Heavy snow fell on many parts of the European Alps a couple of weeks ago, cutting access off to some of the more popular ski resorts because of a rising avalanche danger.
A fast accumulation of snow combined with heavy winds that ran its course across the Alps caused many trees from falling and increased the threat of avalanches, prompting many road closures to some of the well-known resorts of Lech, St Anton, Zermatt and Val d’Isere.
In Ischgl’s case nearly 1,000 British holidaymakers were among those staying in Ischgl and the neighbouring village of Galtur in the Tirol.
As the roads were not blocked on change over day for most, this meant they could enjoy excellent skiing and boarding conditions after the four days of non-stop snowfalls until January 16th, dumped five feet (150cms) of snow, which brings the total depth of snow on the mountain to eight feet (250cms).
The main access road, along the Paznaun Valley from Landeck to Ischgl, was open on the weekend, allowing holidaymakers to get in and out of the resort. But afterwards the road has been closed as a precaution because of the risk of avalanches.
The road between the village of Kappl and Ischgl has been shut, as well as the road beyond Ischgl to the smaller resort of Galtur, also popular with British skiers.
“Although the roads have been closed, the resort itself has been operating as normal with skiers and boarders experiencing amazingly good conditions,” said Paznaun-Ischgl Tourist Director Andreas Steibl.
Thirty-six of Ischgl’s 44 ski lifts were open today by the Tuesday along with 155 kilometres of runs.
British ski instructor Sarah Hannibal, who works in Ischgl, said, “The skiing conditions are fantastic, although obviously no one is going off-piste at the moment because of the amount of snow. It has been very windy at the top of the mountain which means visibility can be affected by wind-blown snow – but the holidaymakers are having a wonderful time.”
Sarah added, “Many ski instructors who live in other parts of the valley were the ones affected most by the conditions and they have had to make arrangements to stay with friends or at hotels in Ischgl. That includes me – I live in Galtur and have been stranded in Ischgl – but it’s no hardship when the skiing is so good. And having this amount of snow at this stage of the winter means that everyone can look forward to a fabulous season.”
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