A new helmet law for children younger than 14 is being rushed into Austrian ski resorts following a series of accidental deaths this winter.
Authorities said this season in Austria there will be at least 5,500 skiing and sledging injuries, and 10 percent of the victims will suffer head injuries. The sub-zero conditions on the slopes have created much faster pistes, making impacts far more severe when skiers collide.
Christian Kaulfersch an A&E doctor told The Sunday Times, "Crashes at 30 mph are like falling onto concrete from a second-floor balcony." The Ski Club of Great Britain recommends helmet use for 14 year olds and younger, but the Austrian Skiing Federation believes that head protection should be worn by all skiers, adults and children.
Beata Christandl was the 17th skier to die in an accident on the piste in Austria this season. Christandl died of head injuries on New Year's Day after a collision with a German politician at a combined speed of 60 miles per hour.
The very latest accident on the Austrian slopes involved a British student who is critically ill after sledging down a mountain using an inner tube. Twenty-four-year-old Urszula Grubb from London is in Vienna General Hospital after crashing into a tree on the weekend of Jan. 17.