A western New York skier faces a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge after a collision three weeks ago that seriously injured a veteran ski instructor.
Dominic Galasso, 25, was charged by state police with a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment, stemming from a March 4 collision at Kissing Bridge with Carl Hensler, 64, of Fort Erie, Ont.


ski fall.jpgThe head of security at Kissing Bridge told state police that Galasso was skiing in a “full tuck” position when he hit Hensler on Mistletoe, an intermediate slope, late that afternoon. Hensler’s injuries included a broken arm, leg and nose. Three weeks later, Hensler is still in the hospital with internal injuries, along with fractures to his nose and arm. He is listed in fair condition after two surgeries. Galasso suffered a minor facial injury, according to state police.
The reckless endangerment charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and additional charges are being considered. The charges will likely set a precedent in new York State.
And it’s not just U.S. prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against reckless skiers. An Austrian court earlier this month convicted a German state governor of negligent homicide in a skiing accident that killed a woman on New Year’s Day. The court in the southern city of Graz, Austria, fined Dieter Althaus the equivalent o $41,550 and ordered him to pay another $6,300 to the victim’s husband.
Althaus, 50, is the governor of the eastern Germany state of Thuringia and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. Althaus was not present for Tuesday’s trial because he is still recovering from head injuries sustained in the collision at an intersection of two trails at the Riesneralm ski area in Austria’s Upper Styria region. Investigators said Althaus had skied onto the wrong slope at the time and skied a few yards along it in the wrong direction.
The first criminal conviction in a skier’s death occurred just nine years ago in Colorado. In 1997, a collision between an employee of Vail Ski Resort and a visiting skier resulted in the visitor’s death. Three years later, the employee was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Prior prosecutions in Colorado related to collision-related skier deaths were resolved through plea bargains, Jim Chalat said to The Buffalo News. The 2000 conviction by an Eagle County District Court jury “is now a precedent that gives prosecutors a basis upon which they may make a prosecution for recklessness,” Chalat said. See the full article.

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