Guests at a hotel in central Austria's massive alpine mountain range on Tuesday awoke to a blindingly white sight: the picturesque wooden lodge had been half-buried in snow following an avalanche, a recurring event this season in the German-speaking nation, as documented by an epa-efe reporter present.
The epa-efe photojournalist captured images of officials at the town of Ramsau am Dachstein inspecting the building for damage while trudging through several feet of powdery snow.
In addition, several firefighters were deployed to the area with the mission of clearing some of the mountain roads that have been blocked by the accumulation of billions of unique, hexagonal crystalline flakes.
The quaint resort village of Ramsau am Dachstein is located smack-dab in the middle of Austria's portion of the Alps (which make up almost 29 percent of the country's total surface area), some 270 kilometers (168 miles) to the west of the capital, Vienna.
Although it is popular among tourists all year round, the winter months see countless visitors seeking to enjoy the region's generous amounts of snow, which is ideal for skiing.
However, even this widely-beloved result of a fascinating atmospheric phenomenon can sometimes be too much, as evinced by the pictures taken by the epa-efe reporter.
For example, more than 41,000 people just in the federal state of Salzburg were trapped on Monday evening due to the emergency closure of many roads, authorities said.
The frequency of unpredictable avalanches can also turn deadly at times: 10 people – most of whom were skiers – have been killed so far this winter in Austria by the dangerous snowslides, according to provisional data by the Austrian Board for Alpine Safety.
This figure – which covers the period between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15 – is twice the yearly average of accidental deaths occurred in the country's mountainous areas.