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Little girl killed in St Anton

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
A young British skier was killed in a terrible accident yesterday 17 December in St Anton, Austria.
Today's London Evening Standard newspaper carries the following report:
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Girl, 10, killed in ski horror

by Nigel Rosser
A 10-year-old British girl has been killed skiing in Austria after falling on a run described as "very difficult, even for expert skiiers."

Her father was injured as he desperately tried to rescue the girl, named as Kathryn Nicols, who had gone over a precipice in St Anton.

Kathryn's mother and two brothers watched in horror she plunged 15 to 20 metres off the piste and crashed into an avalanche barrier, breaking her neck.

Paramedics battled to keep her alive but she died shortly after reaching hospital.

Police in Tirol said Kathryn lost control of her skis after rounding a long, left-leaning curve on the slopes between Kapall and Gampen.

Her 51-year-old father, who had been following her, tried to climb down to rescue her but slipped and also hit the barrier.

Austrian police said: "All the family were watching as she went down, first with her father following her down the hill. She was going too fast and missed her turn. They saw everything."

The special Alpine police are examining the site of the crash to determine how fast Kathryn was going and where and when she went out of control.

The family are believed to have recently arrived at St Anton, one of Europe's premier ski resorts, for the Christmas holiday.

Kathryn and her father were taken by helicopter to hospital in Zams last night, where doctors were unable to save her life.

Today her father was being treated for minor injuries at the hospital. He is said to be "mentally devastated" at the loss of his daughter.

The pilot of the rescue helicopter, Markus Lanschuetzer, said: "The British family with three children were all skiing together. The daughter had been in the front and at the bottom of a steep piste she missed the bend and crashed off the piste, falling 20 metres and hitting the avalanche barrier head-first."

Dr Klaus Kell from Zams hospital said: "The father was taken by one helicopter and the girl by another. The girl had serious spine injuries, particularly around her neck.

"The father suffered bruising and slipped when he tried to rescue his daughter, and also hit the barrier. He is in a stable condition as far as his physical health is concerned, but, mentally, what he is going through we can do little for."

A police spokesman said: "It was a very steep slope and definitely a demanding piste even for good skiiers. But the conditions were good, the snow was excellent. The accident happened at a height of about 2,240 metres."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "It is a tragedy, especially considering it has involved a 10-year-old girl. Her family were with her and they are being offered whatever support we can give."

St Anton is home to the worldfamous Arlberg ski school which has taught millions of people including Prince Edward and pop stars Peter Gabriel and Kim Wilde. The resort hosted the 2001 world skiing championships, opened by Prince Edward.

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As a St Anton regular, and someone who's taken his own daughters to the resort I can't imagine the depth of the tragedy for the family concerned.
Sometimes the edge of a ski trail is so close to potential disaster. I doubt if there's a reader of this forum who hasn't felt the threat at one time or another.
I'm sure everyone here at epic-ski will wish to extend deepest sympathies to the family involved.
post #2 of 14
That's horrible. And the father will be second-guessing his actions/judgment the rest of his life.
post #3 of 14
How very, very sad. My heart goes out to the family. My father witnessed the same thing with my brother when he fell to his death during a climbing accident.

Just reading that brings back all the pain......
post #4 of 14
That is horrible news. As a father who plans on skiing with his children in the future it's even more disturbing. On their Christmas vacation nonetheless.
post #5 of 14
That just breaks your heart. God, what an awful story.
post #6 of 14
In a family orientated sport, this is a tragedy.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
The media this morning is reporting that the trail, off which the girl died, was graded 'blue'. In Europe that's usually gentler than a US 'blue' (which usually equates to a European 'red' run).
post #8 of 14
It's sad to see that skiing (like many other sports/leisure pastimes) brings so much joy to so many people but also brings so much grief to an unfortunate few.

My thoughts go out to the family.

DB
post #9 of 14
It's probably the sort of trail that should have some netting tactifully located below the line of sight. You hate to spoil the natural view and beauty, but on a beginners trail where there is a high probability of an off course venture?

On my one trip through the alpine countries, I noted that they were not keen on guide rails along the roads either. That did restrain me from some some "spirited driving".
post #10 of 14
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by yuki:
It's probably the sort of trail that should have some netting tactifully located below the line of sight. You hate to spoil the natural view and beauty, but on a beginners trail where there is a high probability of an off course venture?

On my one trip through the alpine countries, I noted that they were not keen on guide rails along the roads either. That did restrain me from some some "spirited driving".
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jeez Yuki, can't there be anyplace in the world that isn't OSHA approved? One of the things that makes European skiing so great is the lack of barriers. It encourages people to be responsible for themselves - (something that most Americans are slowly being bred away from).
post #11 of 14
Cheap seats:

I've been to a few places that have had a barrier that was down below visual range.... I guess that when my kids take off ahead of me ...... "all balls and no brains" .....

No, I don't subscribe to an OSHA like world for the slopes, though OSHA does occupy a large part of my real work world.

Note that David's latest post changes the character of the run from an expert trail to a blue/green easy run. My first reaction was .......... the father was out of his mind to lead the family down a trail that was, perhaps, beyond their collective abilities.
post #12 of 14
Sad story.
There is a pattern, in Virginia Beach we had several drownings of tourists last season. http://www.pilotonline.com/news/nw0828dro.html
In the "Ohio"-case, they had just arrived in the resort and were too anxious to head to the water.
What can we learn?
Nothing new, really: In the early season, when pacing yourself is most important, the anxiety level is at the top. Not a good mixture.
post #13 of 14
These past months, the Western Tyrol and the tarentaise Vallees have experienced extreme sub-zero temperatures. As an annual St. Anton skier, I know for a fact that when the Arlberg resorts are iced over..all its runs are double-diamond!
My deepest condolensces to the parents of Kathryn Nicols.
post #14 of 14
No words whatsoever...
As a father of two I can't express enough the horror I felt while reading this thread.
All my condolences and prayers to the girl
(even is she's beyond that, now)and her family.
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