Authorities in Switzerland resorted to dynamite to clear a route to the ski resort of Zermatt, where more than 13,000 tourists were snowed in and cut off for two days.

Helicopter teams used controlled explosions to trigger avalanches and clear areas of snow so the Zermatt Matterhorn Railway to the town could be reopened. It was not just a matter of clearing 1m of snow from the tracks. The risk of avalanches was too high for trains to run.

The only way in or out had been by helicopter airlift, with many tourists choosing to pay 70 Swiss francs ($100) for a seat on a flight.

A small section of the railway linking Zermatt to the nearby village of Taesch was reopened. From there the road has been cleared and it is possible to continue by bus.

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- Telegraph Group Ltd