50 years ago, during the winter of 1950/51, the Swiss Alps experienced two extremely severe avalanche situations within a short time period, each of which were caused by completely different weather patterns. The first period of extreme avalanche activity occurred on January 19th/20th, 1951, and was caused by a persistent north-westerly storm. It affected mainly the central and eastern areas along the northern slope of the Swiss Alps. The second severe avalanche period, which caused extensive avalanching mainly on the south side of the Alps, followed three weeks later on February 11th/12th, 1951, due to an extraordinarily strong southerly barrage. In both cases, the Gotthard area was hit hard by severe avalanching. On the whole, a total of about 1500 avalanches caused the death of 98 people and resulted in great devastation. However, compared to the avalanche disaster of February 1999, which claimed 17 victims, the monetary value of the property damage and indirect damage remained rather low.