French ski fields open with safety plea

8th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 8 (AFP) - As early snow prompted French ski resorts to open for business this week, authorities urged the millions of visitors who will practice winter sports this season to take care in a bid to bring down the death and injury toll.

PARIS, Dec 8 (AFP) - As early snow prompted French ski resorts to open for business this week, authorities urged the millions of visitors who will practice winter sports this season to take care in a bid to bring down the death and injury toll.

Messages telling skiers and snowboarders to keep control of their speed and give way to those uphill are to be put on ski-lift pylons in 76 resorts in the French Alps and Pyrenees, officials said.

Some 20,000 posters and 150,000 postcards reinforcing the pleas are also to be spread through the mountain villages and towns as part of the EUR 140,000 (USD 186,000) campaign, they said.

The last winter season saw 54 deaths and more than 55,000 emergency call-outs on French slopes, according to the French sports ministry. Ten of the deaths occurred in avalanches, 13 in off-piste areas and 14 on marked runs.

"The number of accidents still remains too high," Dominique Laurent, a ministry official told a media conference in Paris Tuesday.

"We have to keep up a safety campaign on the slopes that encourages responsible behaviour," she said.

One of the first fatalities of the season just beginning was recorded last Saturday, when a 35-year-old French skier ran into a Spanish snowboarder and died of a throat wound. The Spaniard was shocked but unhurt.

A tourism official for the Alpe-d'Huez region in the French Alps, Christian Marie, said the number of French taking ski holidays had remained relatively stable in past years, but the number of tourists from eastern European countries, especially the Czech Republic and Russia, was on the rise.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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