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Alpine skiing becomes more and more dangerous

Alpine skiing has always been considered one of the most prestigious and expensive ways to spend winter holidays. However, alpine skiing has also become a very dangerous pastime due to climate changes. Injuries and deaths off-piste in France have shot up by 163 per cent over the past two years.

Alpine skiing becomes more and more dangerousSkiing accidents and deaths have reached record levels across Europe, as Alpine ski resorts continue to experience unstable conditions caused by climate change.

As the peak skiing season approaches, figures from official skiing data website reveal that injuries and deaths off-piste in France have shot up by 163 per cent over the past two years, as skiers lose patience with poor snow on the marked runs. Even on the pistes, strewn with rocks and black ice, skiers are falling victim: for every 100 accidents in French resorts in 1997, there were 119 in 2006.

The Alps are enduring their warmest succession of years in five centuries. Last year was the worst on record for fatalities in the French Alps, with 57 deaths - double the average - on the slopes.

But poor conditions are not the only factor: the few resorts with decent snowfall this season - such as Zermatt in Switzerland - are finding their pistes overcrowded as a result, heightening the risk of human collision, the Independent reports.

Heidi Reisz, an experienced Swiss-born skier, was injured in exactly this fashion in Zermatt earlier this season. "I was hit from behind by an out-of-control novice and suffered concussion. They said my injuries were consistent with someone who had been in a car crash," said Ms Reisz.

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12/2008 02/2009


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