Skiing deaths down sharply

Significantly fewer people lost their lives on slopes in the Austrian mountains in the past winter holiday period.The Austrian Committee for Alpine Safety (KfAS) said today (Fri) 33 skiers and snowboarders were killed. With 48 people, most of last winter’s victims died on prepared pistes. The organisation added that 96 people lost their lives on and off prepared slopes in the 2009/2010 season.Only three skiers and boarders were killed by avalanches last winter. Thirty-nine people perished in the same way in the 2009/2010 winter vacation period.Tyrol – Austria’s most popular winter sports area – accounted for the highest number of skiing fatalities last winter (20), followed by Salzburg where 19 holidaymakers died.The KfAS also announced today that 3,807 accidents occurred on slopes in the Austrian Alps in the 2010/2011 winter holiday season. The institution stressed that the number of hit and run offences rose from 828 the previous cold season to 884 this winter.The winter holiday tourism industry plays an essential role in the Austrian economy. One out of three skiing and snowboarding holidays in Europe are booked in the country.