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8 Jan, 2012 17:47

Winter wonderland turned snowy trap (VIDEO)

Heavy snowfalls in the Austrian and Swiss Alps have left thousands of tourists stranded in the mountains, with a recent snowstorm bringing road traffic to a standstill.

Many of the winding lanes are closed off completely, covered under a meter of snow. Some reports estimate around 30,000 people who were vacationing in Austria are now trapped in their hotels. Skiing is impossible, with authorities warning of avalanches. Some villages have even been evacuated by military helicopters. New arrivals expecting to make their way through Austria by train will be disappointed – all train services in the area have been cancelled, and hopeful skiers and snowboarders have to risk the trip either by bus or car. Authorities hope the snowfall will end by Monday, bringing road conditions back to normal. But the risk of an avalanche remains, and in neighboring Switzerland officials have doubled guard patrols on the slopes – and are setting off controlled snow slides using dynamite.