A massive avalanche hurdled down a slope at the former Winter Olympics site in Sochi, Russia on Sunday. The avalanche killed two skiers, while four others were able to escape unharmed.
The avalanche was 80 cubic meters and struck at Sochi’s Rosa Khutor ski resort around midday. It buried six skiers on the “Labyrinth” slope, according to the Interfax news agency. The snowslide resulted in fatal injuries for two female skiers, reported the Russian Emergencies Ministry. The resort’s website released a statement saying, “despite all efforts to revive them, they could not be saved.”
The other skiers were unharmed except for one who left the site with a broken arm. Some of the skiers managed to dig themselves out of the snow. There were a total of 105 rescuers, 20 vehicles, and one aircraft that took part in the search and rescue team.
Witness Mikhail Karamyshev said, “We were skiing on the slope of Rosa Khutor, got tired, and sat down to rest. Suddenly we saw an avalanche sliding down. It appeared literally within seconds and practically swept away everything in its path. Those sitting and resting were knocked over and carried away in the direction of the ravine.”
Other witnesses expressed the thought that the incident could not have possibly happened at the given part of the slope and with such good weather conditions. Experts are now trying to determine the cause of the avalanche and it has been noted that a small avalanche occurred on the same slope previously.
The Emergencies Ministry department of the area had also issued an avalanche alert earlier for those skiing at heights above 1,300 meters between March 19 and March 21. Risky period for avalanches can be determined by a sudden change in temperature and melting show. Avalanches still manage to kill several dozen people at ski resorts every year
Switzerland Tourism has a lot to celebrate for the past year. The area saw an increase in travel and tourism in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year. There was an increase of four percent over 2012 for a total of 1,585,467 overnights by United States Americans. This number is determined by counting only overnights in Swiss hotels. Vacation homes and other sorts of accommodations are not included in the number.
The number of arrivals also increased over 2013 by 4.7 percent. The average stay was about 2.2 days and the results locked in America’s eight percent market share of all foreign overnights in Switzerland. The United States is in fourth place after the Swiss themselves, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Typically Americans spent about 220 Swiss Francs, which equates to $250, each day. This adds up to a total spending of about $400 million, contributing vastly to Switzerland’s annual tourism revenue.
Alex Hermann, Director Americas of Switzerland Tourism, says, “In 2013, once again, an increasing number of American travelers visited Switzerland. Particularly exciting is the fact that the strongest growth was recorded in the mountain regions of Switzerland. We are very excited to see Americans rediscover the Swiss Alps!”
Americans found the best places to visit in Switzerland to be the Zurich Region, the Geneva Region, and the Lake Lucerne Region. The largest increase in tourism from Americans was in Graubunden. This site is widely known for its resorts at St. Mortiz and Davos in addition to the Bernina and Glacier Express scenic train excursions.
Switzerland is mostly respected for its skiing opportunities and for becoming the birthplace of winter tourism 150 years ago but the country also has sites to offer during the summer months. The Alpine peaks are beautiful in the summer and the country is boasting this year’s summer theme as: “Views. Swiss Made.” The theme will highlight hiking, walking, and biking opportunities in the Alps and along the lakes.