Zermatt Liberated!

Rail access to Zermatt will recommence at 11.15 today as storms and heavy snow showers which had caused extreme avalanche danger moved  on.

The resort was cut off from the outside world (except for by helicopter) at the start of this week leaving 13,000 people trapped in one of the world’s most beautiful ski resorts, attracting global media interest.

It’s unclear how concerned they were, a Zermatt spokesperson told The Guardian that the mood was ‘calm’.  The resort reports the Matterhorn is visible again this morning and posted the picture above at 8am.

An avalanche last week blocked the main rail line up from the valley and earlier this week as a second wave of extreme weather came in after a weekend lull, the rail connection from neighbouring Tasch used by all visitors to the car-free village was also closed, effectively cutting the resort off.

That link re-opens today although the line down to Visp in the Valley remains closed and that rail connection will be replaced by a coach service.

The avalanche danger on the slopes remains at its highest level and the morning bulletin lists only two cable cars as operating, but almost all of the rest of the area’s lifts are described as ‘in preparation’ given the impression that the slopes will re-open soon.

Zermatt now has 3m lying on its upper slopes.  Resorts have reported up to 1.2m of snow in 24 hours to yesterday and up to 3m of snow in the past 7 days.  Engelberg in Switzerland is the first to report a 5 metre snow base on its upper runs.