An avalanche warning sign is seen next to the slope at Schlick 2000 ski resort near Neustift im Stubaital, Austria Image Credit: REuters

Around 10 people were buried in an avalanche in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area in western Austria on Sunday, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported, adding that one person had been rescued.

The avalanche occurred at about 3 p.m. (1400 GMT), APA said, adding that several helicopters and search teams deployed soon afterwards.

"We are doing everything we can to rescue the winter sports enthusiasts," APA quoted the municipality of Lech as saying.

Rescuers search for skiers

Some 100 people were involved in the search, with rescuers requesting headlamps so that they can continue the search in the dark, APA added.

Lech/Zuers markets itself as "one of the best ski areas in the world" and part of the cradle of Alpine skiing.

The resort's website said that the ski area was closed as of 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Sunday and that there would be an update on skiing at 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday. A spokesperson for the resort could not immediately be reached for comment.

There was no information immediately available on the identity of the victims.

Officials had warned of high avalanche risk in the area over the weekend.

In recent years, avalanches in Austria have killed about 20 people on average each year.