Ski slopes, rail links and roads in [R517R, Zermatt] have now reopened following the avalanche on Thursday.

The avalanche occured at 1:30 p.m Thursday, leaving hundreds of skiers stranded, unable to leave the resort. All the resort's slopes were also closed.

More than a metre of snow fell in less than 24 hours, causing an avalanche which completely covered the train track and roads at 1,620 metres, halting any travel in or out of the resort.

Rail staff had a tough job clearing the tracks, due to the sheer volumn of snow and strong winds which left the village "completely impassable" and dozens of British skiers were forced to abandon their flight home.

Zermatt hasn't seen this much snow since 1999; a metre has fallen on the resort in just one day. 

By Friday afternoon, the road and rail links were clear and open to travel.

Zermatt offers year-round skiing thanks to its high-altitude position. It operates the highest ski lifts in Europe and is one of the largest summer-ski areas in the world. The Matterhorn ski paradise extends from the Rothorn paradise (3103 metres), through Gornergrat (3089 metres) to the Matterhorn glacier paradise (3883 metres) and the Schwarzsee paradise (2583 metres).

Zermatt is easily accessible: the resort is car-free, but there are multi-storey car parks in Tasch and from here shuttle trains run to Zermatt every 20 minutes. Alternatively, there are direct train connections between Zermatt and Brig and Visp.