Last season, head injuries accounted for almost a quarter of all ski injuries sustained on the slopes but a recent study has found that only 42 per cent of British skiers plan to wear a ski helmet next season. The survey, which was conducted by Ski Club of Great Britain and Ski Republic, a ski and snowboard equipment hire company, also found that of the 17,500 head injuries sustained last season, 7,700 injuries and 11 deaths could have been avoided if a helmet had been worn.
The findings follow the high-profile death of the British actress Natasha Richardson , who died in March after sustaining a head injury during a skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resort, in Quebec. Richardson, who died aged 45, had not been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Last season, the Austrian government introduced a law requiring all children under the age of 14 years to wear a helmet on its ski slopes after the death of Beata Christandl, a 41-year-old mother of four, who died after a high-speed collision on the slopes with Dieter Althaus, a German politician. Mr Althaus, who was later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the fatal acccident, had been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident but Ms Christandl had not.
Recent research in Canada and Sweden has found that snowboarders are up to four times more likely to have an accident on the slopes than skiers, while men are more likely to get injured than women. A poll conducted by Telegraph Travel earlier this year found that only 39 per cent of British skiers wear a ski helmet on the slopes.