alp snow plow
A snowplow works overtime outside the French Alps, where inclement weather has stranded 15,000 vehicles. Reuters

An heavy snows stranded some 15,000 drivers in the French Alps as they made their way to and from ski resorts in the holiday season. The weather has so far claimed the life of one man, who died when his vehicle slid and fell into a ravine near France's Isere region.

The area had been under a severe weather watch, along with 75 percent of the rest of the country. The concern was for heavy snowfall combined with freezing temperatures overnight, leading to slippery, treacherous roads. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve issued a statement urging drivers to "exercise the utmost caution," even encouraging vacationers who could delay their trips to do so.

Area authorities have set up 20 shelters across 12 towns to accommodate the number of affected travelers who have abandoned their cars.

One such traveler, Kate Rhodes, is stranded on a bus. She told Sky News the situation "is very frustrating. The biggest drama of all is of course most people's phones have run out of battery so they are getting anxious about other friends who are also traveling at this time, and letting family know they are fine."

The bad weather has stretched as far northeast as Germany, where it caused a traffic jam that stretched for 15 miles on a highway outside Stuttgart.