Bodies of 4 missing skiers found near Italy's Courmayeur ski resort

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The bodies of four skiers who went missing in an avalanche on Sunday were recovered Monday, buried under two meters of snow near the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur in the northern Valle d'Aosta region bordering on France and Switzerland, ANSA Italian news agency and RAI News 24 public broadcaster reported.

The victims recovered Monday include a New Zealand woman and a Swiss man who lived in London, a Frenchman with a British-Swiss passport, and a Polish man who lives in France, according to RAI News 24 public broadcaster.

The search for the four began after they went missing on Sunday, and had to be suspended last night "due to the risk of more avalanches", the Alpine Rescue Service tweeted Sunday evening.

The four fatalities bring to a total of eight the death toll due to avalanches caused by people skiing off-piste, or off the officially marked ski trails, according to the Alpine Rescue Service.

"Eight dead in the mountains last Sunday, all due to avalanches that overcame off-piste skiers: six people lost their lives in Valle d'Aosta, one in Lombardy and one in (Trentino Alto Adige). In the latter case, the fatality was a youth aged 18," the mountain rescue service tweeted in reference to three of Italy's northern regions, where ski resorts in the Alps and the Dolomite mountain ranges attract winter sports fans from around the world.

Also on Monday, the Meteomont weather service run by Italy's Carabinieri military police issued an orange (meaning significant risk) avalanche alert throughout the Alps from East to West, with a "Strong Level 4" warning in the northern Lombardy region due to "recent snowfall with 20-60 centimeters of fresh snow."

"An off-piste skier in the Livigno ski resort (near Switzerland) caused an avalanche and was buried by it," Meteomont said in a statement Monday in reference to the death on Sunday of a man in his early 20s.

Every year, Italian authorities exhort skiers to stick to the marked trails and not go off-piste.

Northern Italy saw copious snowfall over the weekend, which caused traffic along the A22 motorway connecting Italy and Switzerland through the Brenner Pass to be backed up for over 12 kilometers, leaving drivers stranded in their snowbound cars and trucks for hours, as seen on RAI public broadcaster.

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