Associate Editor

The town of Zermatt at the base of the Matterhorn on a more peaceful evening. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Inertia

Swiss authorities are deploying helicopters in order to transport some tourists who wish to leave Zermatt Resort at the base of the Matterhorn mountain after unusually heavy snowfall has stranded thousands.

By Tuesday afternoon, about 31.5 inches had dumped on the town of Zermatt in the past 24 hours, according to Switzerland’s WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. The avalanche risk has been raised to the maximum level of five on the avalanche warning scale, the highest it’s been for nearly 10 years.

For now, the only way out for the nearly 13,000 tourists in Zermatt is a three-minute helicopter transport to the village of Taesch, and only a handful have elected to leave.

Swiss officials say despite the elevated avalanche risk, there’s nothing to worry about.


“There is nothing to panic about, everything is fine,” Janine Imesch of the Zermatt tourism office told CBS News on Tuesday. “Only the ski areas are closed. In the village, the atmosphere is relaxed.”