THE WEATHER: Sliding Death

Laden with snow shovels, pickaxes, blankets and stretchers, German and Swiss skiers by the hundreds last week dashed across the Austrian borders at Bregenz and Feldkirch. Customs officials forgot all the usual frontier formalities as they waved them on. The shouted phrase, "We're going to Blons," was all the passport that was needed.

Blons, a quiet village in Austria's picturesque Great Walser Valley, was only one of many corners of Europe caught in the backlash of a deceptively mild winter that had suddenly turned vicious. Cross-Channel shipping was brought to a dead...

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