High temperatures have left slushy and bare trails in the Swiss mountains, which have far less snow than is average for this time of year.
According to the Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, there is only about half as much snow as usual above the 2,000-metre mark.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 metres, there is only about a quarter of the typical amount of snow for this time of year. In some places there is less snow than in recorded history.
Meanwhile, more than two dozen people have been killed in Swiss avalanches this past winter – most of them toward the end of the ski season.
By mid-April there had been 110 avalanches involving 179 people. A total of 25 people were killed in 15 individual incidents.
The worst avalanche occurred on March 25 in Valsorey bei Bourg-Saint-Pierre in canton Valais. Four people died, and a fifth person is still missing.
swissinfo.ch and agencies