.Hundreds of British holidaymakers have been trapped in the Austrian alpine village of Ischgl after a freak snowfall.
The resort is shut off after 18ft (5.4m) of snow fell in just a few days – almost as much as during the whole of last season.
Police closed the Tyrolean destination because of fears of avalanche. There have been two since Saturday.
Lifts at the top of the mountain were switched off with Army helicopters reportedly scrambled at one stage to airlift inexperienced skiers to safety.
The nearby popular resorts of St Anton and Lech were also badly hit.
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Lisa Tyrell from tour firm Inghams told Sky News: “The road to Ischgl was opened briefly today but it’s been closed again.
“Our changeover day is Saturday and we managed to transfer our 2,000 clients in and out of the resort but independent travellers are likely to be having a bit of a problem.
“All the skiing companies obviously anticipate snow problems and are geared up for this this kind of situation but it’s been a challenge because there’s been so much snow across the whole of Europe.”
He added: “It’s great for skiers, of course!”
Ankie Kathrein, manager of the Solaria Hotel, told The Times: “There is a bit of panic that you can’t get out.
“You are not allowed to leave Ischgl. Police are guarding the exits to the town because of a fear of avalanches. It is very dangerous.
“People are getting hectic and panicked. But perhaps the nightlife is maybe a little bit more up because people think, ‘Well, what else can I do?'”