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Carefulness 'can cut skiing deaths'

The amount of skiing injuries can be brought down further simply by people being more careful, experts have said.

Advancements in ski equipment and protective gear have reduced the number of accidents on American slopes considerably over the last decade, but the average number of annual deaths due to ski injuries has remained steady at around 40.

The National Ski Areas Association said the 2009-10 season saw the death of 25 skiers and 13 snowboarders out of 59.8 million skier/snowboarder days. Thirty of the deaths involved males.

Jasper Shealy, a professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said: "It is a rare event and it looks to me, based on our research, that this is something that is going to be very difficult to address because the deaths primarily are due to collisions with fixed objects, where somebody is going at a relatively high rate of speed."

The nature of the fatal accidents makes it difficult to have a total control on safety - with a typical skiing death involving males in their teens to late 40s who are intermediate or better skiers, wearing a helmet, and going down at a great speed before losing control.

Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association, advised that the best way to avoid injury on the slopes is to wear a helmet, ski or ride in full control, being able to avoid objects and other skiers and snowboarders.