Avalanches in Austria and Switzerland have left five people dead, leading officials to warn on Saturday of the risks posed by particularly unstable snow cover. Three of those killed were visiting Austria’s Alpine regions. “One winter sports enthusiast was killed in an avalanche in Kaltenbach on Saturday,” a police spokesman told Agence France-Presse, without giving further details of the accident in the small Alpine village. Austrian news agency APA reported that the victim was a 17-year-old New Zealander who was skiing off-piste. On Friday, a 32-year-old Chinese man, who was also said to be skiing away from the designated routes, died in an avalanche in the resort of Soelden. A third victim was found dead on Saturday after being reported missing the previous day. APA reported that the man, in his 50s, had died in the Kleinwalsertal valley on Austria’s border with Germany. In Switzerland, two off-piste skiers were killed by an avalanche on Saturday morning in the southeastern region of Graubuenden, police said. A third member of the group was caught up in the flow of snow but managed to escape unharmed, local police said in a statement. Bodies found in search for missing foreign skiers after avalanche in Japan The two skiers who died were a 56-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man, said police. The rescue operation there was hampered by poor visibility and bad weather, police said. Over the past two days, intensive snowfall and wind have increased the avalanche danger. The officials in Austria have warned winter sports enthusiasts to exercise caution. Tibet avalanche death toll rises to 28 in Lunar New Year homecoming tragedy Despite the alert level being set at four on a scale of five however, many holidaymakers have ventured off the marked slopes, authorities said. The avalanche situation also led to numerous rescue operations on Saturday, which were themselves made more dangerous by the weather. With the February school holidays under way in Vienna, Austria’s resorts have filled up, after a poor start to the season because of the lack of snow at low and medium altitudes. In recent years, in Austria, a leading winter sports destination, avalanches have killed around 20 people a year.