More and more skiers are ending their days on the slopes in a hospital bed. Well-prepared pistes may be part of the problem. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
It’s estimated that in 22% of all snow sports accidents, skiers end up with broken bones.
In the last week of December 2014 alone, the Swiss Air Rescue Service helicopters were called out 135 times because of ski or snowboard mishaps in the Swiss Alps.
One of the reasons for the high number of accidents is speed.
SUVA, the country’s biggest accident insurer, has been carrying out speed tests on the slopes, and many skiers were astonished to find out how fast they were going. Silvan Baumann, visiting from France, was caught doing 87 kmph on the Titlis mountain in central Switzerland before he wiped out, fortunately without suffering any injuries.
Experts say people are skiing faster because the slopes are so well prepared by piste bashing machines, sent out in force in ski resorts every night.
Mogul fields, which tend to act as brakes, are few and far between. Christoph Bissig, head of saftey on the Titlis, says he would like to reintroduce the bumps, but many visitors prefer wide, flattened slopes so they can go faster.