Two German skiers were killed in separate avalanches in the Alps on Sunday as heavy snowfall triggered the second-highest avalanche warning level in Bavaria and Austria.
The avalanche danger was assessed as “high,” the Bavarian Avalanche Warning Service said after storms over the weekend dumped a heavy load of snow on the northern side of the Alps.
“The main problem is the enormous weight of new snow on the unstable old snow cover,” BAWS said.
Despite the risks, two skiers ventured off-piste and were buried in two separate avalanches in the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg. Rescuers were able to dig out the two German men but were unable to save them.
In a separate incident, a Swiss snowboarder was killed when he was stuck head first in deep snow after veering off piste.
The strong winter storm that struck Bavaria starting on Saturday has left thousands of people stranded a resorts, clogged roads and forced the cancellation of 120 flights in Munich.
In the past several days, the storm has dumped more than one meter (3.2 feet) of fresh snow in the alpine region. Meteorologists expect the snowfall to continue in southern Bavaria and the Alps through Sunday and into Monday night.