Hundreds of Britons were among thousands of tourists stranded in western Austria after heavy snowfalls.
The ski resort villages of Lech, Zuers and Stuben have been hit and the Vorarlberg region is covered with snow after more than two feet fell in 24 hours.
Roads from the villages have been closed since midday on Wednesday.
A further foot of snow is expected to fall tonight and it’s unclear when the roads will reopen.
Ludwig Muxel, mayor of Lech, revealed that around 7,500 tourists are snowed in and work on easing the avalanche threat so that the roads can open again can’t start until there’s an improvement in the weather.
He said: ‘The avalanche danger is simply too great at present to drive along the roads to these towns.
‘But the bars and restaurants are well stocked and there is no danger of power failures, so everyone will be comfortable.
Experts at Austria’s Avalanche Warning Service have put out their highest avalanche alert yet this winter season for many parts of Austria.
Some tourist on package holidays due to fly home have been told they can stay at their resorts for free until the situation improves and roads are open again.
Chris and Clare Funnel from Manchester are among those stuck in Stuben at the Haus Flexen.
Mr Funnel said: ‘We were due to fly out on Friday. There is a slight chance the road will be open but failing that the travel rep said that we are on the holiday company’s time.’
A spokesman for the airport said: ‘Obviously people booked for Alpine holidays are disappointed that they are being bussed instead to local venues.
‘But the roads are impassable. More snow is on the way.’