British skiers trapped in Austria after snowfall of 18ft

British skiers trapped in Austria after snowfall of 18ftRex

Thousands of British skiers are stranded in villages in the Austrian Alps after a freak snowfall of up to 18ft.

Among the worst affected resorts is Ischgl, popular with British holidaymakers for its extensive skiing and nightlife, as well as Galtur and St Anton am Arlberg.

Officials say tens of thousands of holidaymakers in the Tirol are cut off after the snow fell in just 48 hours, making roads completely inaccessible. Experts say there is also a high risk of avalanche.

In Ischgl 13,000 people, including more than 1,000 British tourists are trapped, while one Russian visitor reportedly managed to leave the resort by helicopter.

The weight of the snow means that many trees have collapsed, further complicating road clearances.

"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.

Avalanche warning service spokesman Rudi Mair told The Daily Telegraph: "This is a type of snowfall the like of which we have not seen for years. Combined with that there are very high winds which are making conditions especially dangerous."

Teams are working around the clock to clear the roads and secure the snow falls.
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