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First snow closes many of Switzerland’s alpine passes

First snow closes many of Switzerland’s alpine passes

The first snow of the winter season has fallen across the Swiss mountains, and has caused havoc for many drivers. With more winter weather expected to come, authorities have made the decision to close several of the country’s alpine passes. Some disruption is expected to last until the end of the working week.

Some alpine passes in Switzerland remain open

As of November 2, there are several mountain passes that are not closed, but have warnings in place due to the recent snowfall. These include:

  • Ofenpass
  • Albulapass
  • Splügenpass
  • Oberalppass
  • Lukmanierpass

Despite the snowfall, highway authorities have worked to clear many of the mountain roads, and several that were previously closed have now been able to reopen as usual. 

Mountain passes that are currently operating as usual in Switzerland, as of November 3 are:

  • Julier Pass
  • Forcola Di Livigno
  • Bernina Pass
  • Flüelapass
  • Umbrailpass
  • Malojapass
  • Simplonpass
  • Glaubenbielenpass - Panoramastrasse
  • Brünigpass
  • Glaubenbergpass
  • Ibergereggpass

Despite these passes remaining open, authorities have warned drivers to take sensible precautions when driving in the snow, after a spate of accidents were caused by drivers operating vehicles with summer tyres. Traffic regulations advise to take extra care when driving in tunnels and be sure to use winter tyres and snow chains where appropriate. 

Closed mountain passes in Switzerland

Other mountain passes are currently closed due to the wintery conditions. Full or partial winter closures are common throughout the Swiss, Austrian and Italian alpine regions, and are used to help protect drivers from potential avalanche risk, as well as minimise accidents on the most dangerous roads. The closures also allow the government to undertake essential repair and maintenance on the roads to ensure drivers’ safety. 

The passes that are currently closed for the winter are:

  • Pragelpass
  • Grosse Scheidegg
  • Grosser Sankt Bernhard
  • Nuefenpass
  • Furkapass
  • Grimselpass

Three passes remain blocked until further notice due to the heavy snowfall and dangerous weather conditions. Authorities will review the conditions on these roads regularly, and will aim to reopen the roads as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The passes that remain blocked are: 

  • Gotthardpass (not to be confused with the Gotthard Tunnel which remains open)
  • Klausenpass
  • San Bernardino Pass

This information is correct and accurate as of November 3, 2021. For more detailed, up to date information, please check MeteoSwiss.

Switzerland’s ski season is around the corner

While the snow may be causing trouble for drivers wishing to drive into the mountains, many skiers in Switzerland are happy with the news of snowfall. According to meteorologists, more snow is expected to arrive in the mountains throughout the week, with hopes that ski slopes could be ready in as little as three or four days. 

Switzerland’s ski season is especially anticipated this year, due to the relaxation of COVID-19 measures that have been in place since March 2020. Skiers from both Switzerland and abroad are hoping to take to the slopes and enjoy the beautiful surroundings this winter. 

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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