efe-epaBleiberg (Austria)

The armed forces of Austria were on Wednesday using explosives to create artificial snow avalanches in the country's Alpine mountain regions in order to prevent naturally-occurring snowslides such as the ones that have been wreaking havoc this winter season, as documented by an epa-efe reporter.

Artificial avalanche control reduces the threat of real avalanches by actively triggering the phenomenon through the detonation of explosive charges either on the surface or below the snow.

Images captured by the epa-efe photojournalist showed the explosions causing spectacular snowslides on the slopes of Mount Grimming, located near the village of Bleiberg, some 340 kilometers (211 miles) to the southwest of the capital, Vienna, next to the tri-border area with Italy and Slovenia.

The high rate of snow precipitation has lately caused considerable chaos in the German-speaking Central European country.

On Tuesday, guests at a hotel in the Austrian town of Ramsau am Dachstein awoke to a blindingly white sight: the picturesque wooden lodge had been half-buried in snow following an avalanche.

On Monday evening, more than 41,000 people in the federal state of Salzburg were trapped 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.