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Should Swiss pensioners be allowed to ski?

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The cost of dealing with ski accidents in Switzerland has risen dramatically since the turn of the century, partly because higher numbers of older skiers are being injured. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

A report from the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) shows the total for treating injuries from winter sports accidents rose by 66% to CHF298 million ($292 million) in 2013. General health cost increases are partly to blame.

In the year 2000, about a half of the injured people were 35 or older. By 2013, the figure had risen to 60%. SUVA’s snow sports campaign leader, Samuli Aegerter, says the costs of treating over 50s is twice as high as treating under 30s, because they are more likely to break bones and suffer multiple injuries. They also receive more compensation from their accident insurance, as they tend to earn more than younger skiers.

Swiss public television, SRF, asked whether an age limit should be imposed on skiers to save costs, or whether elderly people should be subjected to special ski tests. Both ideas have been heavily criticised by the veteran skiing community.