Two skiers have become the latest victims of the extreme weather hitting the Alps. The amount of snow falling has broken records in several ski resorts.
A Czech ski instructor was killed by an avalanche when he was skiing off-piste with his father at the Ankogel mountain in southern Austria on Tuesday. He was swept away and buried by loose snow, according to police.
In Switzerland, a 20-year-old Swedish skier also died on Tuesday in an avalanche near Haute-Nendaz in the Valais above the Rhone river valley. She was wearing a transmitter that meant she was quickly found and dug out quickly but did not survive.
The third successive week of heavy snowfall in the eastern Alps, meant some resorts in Austria, southern Germany and Switzerland reported 3 meters (10 feet) of settled snow.
Warmer, wetter weather with rain falling on the settled snow has increased the risk of avalanches.
Thousands cut off
Although the snow eased on Tuesday, people were still cut off from road transport. In Salzburg province in Austria, about 40,000 residents and tourists were unable to move out.
Read more: Can the weather make us ill?
An avalanche swept into two Austrian mountain inns, with snow and ice crashing through windows and down a staircase at a hotel in Ramsau. The 60 guests were able to escape.
In Switzerland, soldiers posted to the Davos ahead of next week's World Economic Forum narrowly escaped harm from an avalanche triggered by a controlled explosion. Images of their escape were posted on social media.
The snow and heavy winds also wreaked havoc in Slovakia, where there were several traffic accidents and roads came to a standstill.
In Bavaria, the water levels in the river Woernitz rose and flooded roads and houses in Harburg, north west of Munich.
rc/jm (AFP, AP)