Tourists relieved as access to snowbound Swiss town returns

Access to a Swiss village near the famed Matterhorn peak has reopened after unusually heavy snowfall blanketed roads and railways, stranding thousands of tourists.

Work crews with shovels, plows and helicopters located and bored through the cumbersome snow mass to end a near two-day suspension of train and vehicle traffic to the Alpine resort of Zermatt.

Train service resumed late Wednesday, and road access restarted Thursday.

Some 13,000 tourists had gotten stuck, with sporadic helicopter flights the only way out.

Texan Mike Donovan expressed relief he could make his flight back home: "It wasn't bad to stay here, and the ski conditions were really good."

Switzerland's avalanche research institute said the region has gotten three to four meters (10-13 feet) of snowfall this year.