SWISS authorities near the famed Matterhorn peak yesterday closed facilities and transport links into Zermatt amid a heightened risk of avalanches, stranding 13,000 tourists in the town.

Ski slopes, hiking trails, cable cars, roads and train services were suspended after heavy snow increased the risk of a torrent of snow descending on the Swiss resort, which is at the foot of the Matterhorn peak and is a magnet to both backpackers and millionaires.

Janine Imesch of the Zermatt tourism office said power has been restored in the town and no people are at risk because authorities blocked access to the nearby ski slopes and hiking trails a day earlier.

“There is nothing to panic about, everything is fine,” added Imesch.

The office’s website earlier indicated that arrivals and departures from the town were not possible. It noted a “power breakdown all over Zermatt” and called on people to “stay at home” so as not to disrupt snow-clearing crews.

Authorities in Zermatt have begun an “air bridge” by helicopter to take tourists down to the village of Taesch.

An official said about 100 people could be evacuated per hour, conditions permitting.

One local hotelier also said authorities were setting off controlled explosions to help clear away piled up snow on roads and train tracks.