British skiers shun safety helmets
A study by the Ski Club of Great Britain and a ski and snowboard equipment hire company has found that more than half of British skiers will not be wearing ski helmets on the slopes this winter.
Only 42 per cent of those who responded to the survey said they would wear a helmet, even though a quarter of all injuries on the slopes last winter were head injuries.
Although medical experts are divided on whether wearing a ski helmet will prevent injuries, the study claimed that 11 deaths last season might have been avoided if the skiers had been wearing head protection.
Many skiers began wearing helmets last winter following the much-publicised death of British-born actress Natasha Richardson who died following a fall in a Canadian ski resort.
The Ski Club of Great Britain (www.skiclub.co.uk) advises that all children under the age of 13 wear ski helmets and that adults wear helmets 'at their own discretion'.
The Austrian government introduced a new law last winter that all children under the age of 14 wear helmets following the death of a mother, Beata Christandl, who collided on the slopes with a politician, who was subsequently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Ms Christandl was not wearing a helmet and died of a head injury sustained in the crash.
Jean Guy, head of piste security in the French resort of Saint Nicolas, said there had been a noticeable increase in the number of skiers wearing helmets, but he said the number of accidents was also increasing.
People - including the British - are skiing too fast he said. The slopes are well-groomed so the skiers go faster and faster and so we are seeing more injuries.""