German police chase daytrippers off ski slopes

German police spent Sunday chasing daytrippers off the slopes of a closed ski resort

after hundreds of people flocked to Winterberg, east of Duesseldorf,

defying appeals from authorities to "stay home".

Winterberg has seen a rush of thousands in recent days, leading to traffic jams, overcrowded parking lots.

Earlier in the day police had sought to block access to the town, but spokesman Sebastian Held said the district's interconnected slopes, covering thousands of square miles, have posed a challenge when trying to enforce Germany's strict regulations.

"Unfortunately, we saw again today that the announced ban to access the ski slopes did not stop too many people from coming here anyway. That's why we had to close the access roads here in consultation with the town. This means that we have consistently closed the main access roads leading to Winterberg in order to prevent the ski slopes from filling up again."

Authorities said they had registered 176 violations of the face mask-wearing law and 94 violations of social distancing rules.

Germany is likely to extend a national lockdown beyond January 10. Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders are expected to agree to the extension when they convene on Tuesday. It is not yet clear how long the extension would last.