In Colorado, there have been a growing number of criminal charges brought against skiers and snowboarders who are found to be in violation of the Ski Safety Act. Austrian officials have signaled intentions to get tough with out of control skiers as well, jailing a 37-year-old man for four months and fining him 1,800 Euros.
The accident occurred on a piste at the Hochrindl resort in Carinthia at Christmas last year. The adult smashed into a five-year-old boy, leaving the victim seriously injured. The child suffered a serious head injury and spent several days in a coma as he fought for his life. The court heard that the boy is now recovering.
The skier, a baumeister from Graz in southern Austria, claimed that the boy had not followed the rules, but the court rejected the defence and the man was convicted of causing negligent injury after he failed to avoid the child. The court heard he had been going too fast and had hit the boy at full speed shortly after making a small jump on the run.
The prosecutor said that the man was not following the proper skiing regulations. Skiers should always give way to those in front of them and make sure they are in control at all times.
When he was arrested the man said that he had been devastated by what he had done. He had already voluntarily paid 8,000 GBP in compensation to the family of the injured boy. The court had the option of imposing a sentence of up to two years but opted for a shorter sentence because of the skier’s obvious remorse.