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Zermatt's avalanche emergencies of Jan 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Edit (+new headline) 25 Jan 2018:

The second emergency of Jan 2018 - which began last Saturday 20 January with another closure of the rail link (and helicopter evacuation for those who needed it) - is drawing to a conclusion. But at the time of posting the service road connection from the nearest village - Täsch - remains closed. And the rail connection from Täsch to the valley town of Visp is also closed. But four days of extremely challenging operations, in the face of major avalanches into the valley - described by the resort itself as "crisis management" and the most serious situation since 1999 - are drawing to a close. Zermatt's official statement today:

https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Media-corner/Press-releases/First-Train-Trip-to-Zermatt

The Local Switzerland sums up the drama:

https://www.thelocal.ch/20180125/zermatt-no-longer-cut-off-as-train-services-resume

The latest statement of the railway company Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn:

https://www.matterhorngotthardbahn.ch/en/winter/

Quote:
The shuttle Täsch-Zermatt-Täsch runs according to the timetable
Bus replacement runs for the stretch Visp-Täsch until at least thursday evening (25.01.2018)
The Gornergrat Bahn is running between Zermatt and Riffelberg. The section Riffelberg-Gornergrat will remain closed until at least today closing time, 25.01.2018


Powerful snow clearance on the Gornergrat railway, high above the resort (video):


http://youtube.com/v/HAGEB2akfYg

[end of edit]

---------------------------------------------
Reports:

"13,000 stranded". The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/09/thousands-stranded-without-electricity-in-swiss-ski-resort-of-zermatt

Reports and photos. Mail Online:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5250315/13-000-tourists-TRAPPED-Swiss-ski-resort.html

Zermatt emergency statement:
https://www.facebook.com/1402224212671822/photos/p.1935919739768918/1935919739768918/?type=3&theater
https://www.zermatt.ch/en

Other links to reports from Switzerland, Italy:
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1935675603126665&id=140224212671822

"French Alps on red alert"
https://www.thelocal.fr/20180108/french-alps-on-red-alert-as-avalanche-threat-reaches-exceptional-level


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 25-01-18 15:35; edited 2 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Davina Goldballs, all these have already been covered on the forum.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The chaos is crazy for what is a big, but not gigantic, snowfall.

Places like Japan and Washington State get snowfalls of this size several times every year and they don't go into meltdown.
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I think you'll find the geography of Zermatt and Washington state to be significantly different. But well done, carry on.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I suspect that DG can't remember which of his many facebook accounts he is logged into when he posts on there. Zermatt on the Lewes page... ???
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I thought the "13000 tourists trapped in Zermatt" amusing. There are 13000 tourists there - but probably 12500 of them aren't due to leave until next Saturday, so not exactly trapped!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
From the BBC report

Despite the fact that they are stranded, the tourists in Zermatt are reported to be in good spirits and the tourist office describes the atmosphere as "relaxed and comfortable".

So not exactly mass panic then
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
There are worse places to be 'trapped' I guess.
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I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Alps snow strands thousands of tourists in Switzerland - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-42623293
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Back in the early 90's when we were living in Zermatt, the side of the mountain fell off (about 30 million m3) just above Randa just below Zermatt and we were cut off for for several days while the military built a bypass road which is still used today! They also had to build a pontoon bridge as the landslide also blocked the river and flooded the valley from side to side! Amazingly, no-one was killed as the village is on the other side of the valley......

14_03-Randa-1
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

The chaos is crazy for what is a big, but not gigantic, snowfall.

Places like Japan and Washington State get snowfalls of this size several times every year and they don't go into meltdown.


Chaos? Meltdown? Is this the Daily Express? Still, you might be right, maybe they're not very good in Zermatt at dealing with snow, railways, avalanches, that sort of thing....
Here in the UK, we know how to cope with a 10cm dump.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Whitegold wrote:
The chaos is crazy for what is a big, but not gigantic, snowfall.

Places like Japan and Washington State get snowfalls of this size several times every year and they don't go into meltdown.


If Washington State and Japan got snowfalls the same percentage larger than the norm then I suspect they might have similar problems you nutsack.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I like that the Guardian fanfare that people are stuck and highlight "approaching Zermatt’s maximum capacity" almost forgetting that there isn't much risk of them exceeding capacity seeing as no one can get there.

Whitegold wrote:
The chaos is crazy for what is a big, but not gigantic, snowfall.

Places like Japan and Washington State get snowfalls of this size several times every year and they don't go into meltdown.


A) It's not chaos
B) Problems at the minute are more to do with the conditions than the amount of snow. Certainly in the Savoie there's been a bit of a freeze/thaw cycle with the freezing level much higher than normal, on the back of and before decent snowfall. Upshot is quite a lot of wet ground and unstable snow.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
An update this afternoon from SwissInfo ...

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/access-blocked_train-services-to-zermatt-remain-suspended/43812570

More links, photos, video ...

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1935675603126665&id=140224212671822
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@KenX, Can't believe you swapped Zermatt for Chantemerle Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@jellylegs, twas a long time ago and Mrs KenX (at the time, now ex KenX) wanted to return to the uk.......
Anyway, couldn't afford to retire in Zermatt!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The popular Kumme chairlift, which serves the higher terrain of the Rothorn, has been part-destroyed by an avalanche which has taken out the bottom station ...

https://www.j2ski.com/ski-chat-forum/posts/list/0/17932/chair-lift-demolished-avalanche-zermatt.page

http://www.alpinforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=58190&start=350

-------------------------------------
A postscript to the past week's extraordinary events ... branded "Schneechaos" by Swiss news site SRF. The words of local architect and hotelier Heinz Julen ...

https://www.srf.ch/news/panorama/schneechaos-in-zermatt-fuer-manche-wurde-das-schneechaos-zum-event

Heinz in English: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1935675603126665&id=140224212671822&comment_id=1939885352705690&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

A very snow-loaded roof, above the resort:
https://www.weerwoord.be/m/2351226
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
For the second time in 10 days, Zermatt has been experiencing storm conditions. This time the Gornergrat railway has shut down (including tomorrow Friday) due to extensive damage to the overhead power cable by fallen trees.

Avalanche risk (level 4) has caused the supply road from Täsch to Zermatt to be closed.
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Zermatt has been cut off again (rail/road access suspended) since Saturday evening by resumed heavy snowstorms. Limited heli operations have flown some tourists to the nearest village Täsch. Avalanche risk is at level 5. At 08.50 this morning the resort advised "Due to the current avalanche situation, guests and locals are asked to stay in their buildings or in the village centre."
Screen-grabs of official information:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1949177855109773&id=140224212671822

Report from Deutsche Welle: http://www.dw.com/en/heavy-snowfall-cuts-off-alpine-towns-in-switzerland-and-austria/a-42248169

Report + video from Euronews: http://www.euronews.com/2018/01/21/thousands-trapped-as-zermatt-cut-off-by-snow-again
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Extraordinary scenes above Zermatt's church ...

https://www.facebook.com/20minutesonline/videos/1814382275261289/?fref=gs&dti=325182624251298&hc_location=group

An update on the snow crisis ...

https://www.facebook.com/groups/325182624251298/permalink/120048691672086
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Hurtle wrote:
@Davina Goldballs, all these have already been covered on the forum.


I don’t think s/he reads the forum at all; much like Zuckerberg and Facebook...

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/23/never-get-high-on-your-own-supply-why-social-media-bosses-dont-use-social-media
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I think it's interesting and good all in one place.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Rubbish now being collected in Zermatt! Normality is starting to creep back despite the airlift continuing.
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This video relayed by the train company that operates the line to Zermatt - the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn - explains why the connection remains closed for a 4th day (the official word is that the earliest the line can reopen is 18.00 tonight) ...


http://youtube.com/v/GMSuTPSZs2s

Updates ...
https://www.facebook.com/groups/325182624251298/permalink/1201213229981562/

Official bulletins ...
https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/News/liveticker
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Forums like this is usually for exchanges, hence the term “SOCIAL media”

When one poster starts a monologue, there’s nothing social about it. It’s called a blog. More so when the content of the blog had no real substance and many days out of date.

Someone who claims to be an journalist had just posted an out-of-date blog in a social media. Shows the abysmal standard of today’s “professional journalism”.

Or is it just THIS journo individual being more inept than average?
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Given that it's 31 January ... and the revised title of this thread is "Zermatt's avalanche emergencies of Jan 2018" ... a couple of postscripts (within the script!) might be worthwhile ...

1. The unsung heroes of what was almost (but not quite) a civil emergency - Air Zermatt maintained a flow of visitors in/out of the resort and limited food supplies, but things were getting quite serious - included members of the local fire service. They (Feuerwehr Zermatt) compiled this video compilation to commemorate their role in 'avalanche management' last Saturday ...

https://www.facebook.com/spfwzermatt/videos/1153938531403068/

2. SwissInfo reports "Record number of avalanche blasts in Switzerland".
https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/dynamite-winter_record-number-of-avalanche-blasts-in-switzerland/43859570

Quote:
For safety’s sake, Swiss ski resort and security authorities have set off thousands of avalanches this winter – blowing up 120 metric tonnes of explosives so far, reports Sunday newspaper NZZ am Sonntag. In a normal winter, 80-120 tonnes would be sufficient for the whole season.


3. It's not as serious as it gets. Zermatt went through a crisis in March 1963 far more serious than avalanche threat. It necessitated a full evacuation of the town and became an international case study. This clip from Hansard, dated 8 April 1963, gives a clue as to what happened ...

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1963/apr/08/zermatt-typhoid-outbreak
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hurtle wrote:
@Davina Goldballs, all these have already been covered on the forum.


Ray Zorro wrote:
I suspect that DG can't remember which of his many facebook accounts he is logged into when he posts on there. Zermatt on the Lewes page... ???


abc wrote:
Forums like this is usually for exchanges, hence the term “SOCIAL media”

When one poster starts a monologue, there’s nothing social about it. It’s called a blog. More so when the content of the blog had no real substance and many days out of date.

Someone who claims to be an journalist had just posted an out-of-date blog in a social media. Shows the abysmal standard of today’s “professional journalism”.

Or is it just THIS journo individual being more inept than average?


These points were not replied to originally because I genuinely didn't understand the points being made. The reports from Zermatt etc. were collated here because there was no sign of them anywhere on snowHeads that I could find. How far should one have to look for a front-page story - on a specialised ski site - that was gathering international attention from general media elsewhere? The snowHeads "snowNews" section last carried a posting on 22 November 2017. I would have thought that a 'snowNews' section would be the obvious place to run major stories.

This thread has generated over 3300 views from 25 posts: a hit rate way above average. Was the content really that superfluous? Were all the reports and videos linked above really mentioned elsewhere? As I say, I couldn't find anything.

Anyway ... whatever ... the key word here is journalism. It does actually matter. So I'm actually wholly in agreement with the objective aspects of the comments above. For one thing journalism was - last month - of practical use to anyone thinking of entering (or leaving) Zermatt. Historically, this was a rare crisis for a resort with a 150-year story of isolation at the end of a very dangerous valley, which has used engineering solutions to maintain and develop communications. In ancient times, the small farming community of Zermatt was cut off from the rest of Switzerland and the world for months every winter and had to self-survive.

Which brings me to mention China. For 42 years now (since 1976) I've written stuff on skiing, and there's a little Zermatt story that sticks in the memory. It involves a long-time tourist director in the resort (whose name I can't recall just now) who once - probably 20+ years ago - told me that much of his time was spent in China, advising their 'ski developers' how to run resorts. Such is the international status of the 'Matterhorn spot'. And that anecdote happens to be directly relevant to a story linked to today ...



https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-skiing-insight/chinas-winter-resorts-face-tougher-terrain-despite-olympics-excitement-idUSKBN1FQ07K

---------------------------------------------

3 other stories, in passing, which may or may not pass the stringent 'journalism judges' above ... but they've inspired thinking towards a new 'school of journalism' ...

1. "The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics start on Friday ...
THE BOSS OF BRITISH SNOWSPORTS SPEAKS"
https://www.facebook.com/groups/298456/permalink/1618204844962180/

or https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/dan-hunt-great-britain-ski-and-snowboard-team-leader-my-first-day-in-this-top-job-was-just-as-scary-a3759331.html

---------------------------------------------

2. "Royal couple William and Kate at the extraordinary Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Ski Museum, above Oslo"
3. "Biggest fraud case in ski history?"

https://www.facebook.com/groups/52298456/permalink/1614563481992983/

or 2. http://norwaytoday.info/news/fairy-tale-winter-meets-kate-william-holmenkollen/
3. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2018/02/02/quiros-reaches-82-million-settlement-jay-peak-fraud-case/301137002/

---------------------------------------------

Hope all that assists. Regards, David Goldsmith
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Update:
Zermatt's rail link to Täsch has again been hit by an avalanche and 1/
https://www.zermatt.ch/en/liveticker

-----------------------
In other news:

SCOTLAND'S SKI SLOPES SNOW-BLITZED
Massive blizzards have swamped Cairngorm, and the other 4 Scottish Highlands ski areas are doing well

"WORLD'S ONLY SKI-THRU ATM REAPPEARS WITH ROTATING PENGUIN"

.. https://www.inthesnow.com/worlds-ski-thru-atm-returns-new-rotating-snowboarding-penguin-feature/
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
6 weeks later ... another big one above Zermatt, two days ago (Tue 27 Mar) ...

https://www.facebook.com/groups/zermattcommunity/permalink/2075657502679136/

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