The conditions at mid-Atlantic resorts do lead to accidents. Slopes can be icier, and they're narrower and shorter than places out west. And often not all slopes are open. Combine that with weekend crowds and you've got a lot of skiers crammed onto slopes. Many mid-Atlantic skiers are there for the day or night, so they might be more tired than someone camped out at a resort for a week-long vacation. Local resorts also tend to attract more beginners than some of the western resorts, and with a smaller number of trails, there's a greater chance that you'll have beginner skiers spilling onto trails they really shouldn't be on. Places like Winter Park have huge sections of the mountain dedicated entirely to beginning skiers and boarders. I suspect, also, that night skiing (popular in the mid-Atlantic) tends to be more dangerous than day skiing, but I don't have stats to back that up.
One thing I've noticed is that many of the fatalities I've heard about occur on beginner trails -- not expert slopes as one might originally assume. (This is again anecdotally; I don't have raw statistics.) Most seem to be head injuries, which seems to stress the importance of wearing a helmet. I started wearing a helmet last season and it's no big deal; I'm not sure why I didn't start wearing one sooner.
[This message has been edited by Scott (edited 01-20-2004).]
Tom / PM
It doesn't say of she was wearing a helmet.
Since getting a helmet I refuse to ski without one.