Three avalanches came down in Ankogel in the Austrian province of Carinthia.
One, just outside the secured ski resort, buried two free-riders who were able to dig themselves out, an Austrian police spokesman said.
He added that it was too early to say anything regarding potential fatalities.
A fourth avalanche spilled onto the piste in the Swiss resort of Andermatt where two people were pulled from the snow and taken to hospital with minor injuries, a Swiss police spokesman said.
There could be more people buried under the snow and a large rescue squad was carrying out a search with considerable resources, he said.
Reto Pfister, state police spokesman in the Swiss canton of Uri, told NBC News. ‘We believe there are more people buried but we can’t say how many.’
According to the National Geographic, humans cause 90 per cent of all avalanches with the highest period or risk either during or immediately after a snow storm as underlying snowpack is quickly overloaded by a deluge causing the weak layer beneath to fracture.
The DPA news agency reported that heavy snow had fallen in recent days in the region raising the avalanche threat to ‘significant danger’.
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