- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

MONT TREMBLANT, QUEBEC (AP) - The ski resort where actress Natasha Richardson had her fatal fall was subdued Thursday, as employees refused to speak about the freak accident.

But skiers still crowded the sunny slopes _ and the gentle hill Richardson fell on was teeming with beginners, many of them children.

The 45-year-old Richardson fell on one of the resort’s easiest ski runs Monday afternoon. She turned away immediate offers of medical help, but complained of a headache an hour later. She died Wednesday evening in a New York hospital.

Many skiers Thursday said they bought a helmet because of Richardson. An autopsy revealed she died due to a blunt impact to the head.

Catherine Vale, 22, said she watched reports of Richardson’s fall and urged one of her friends to buy a helmet.

“It’s pretty shocking that could happen to someone so easily,” she said.

Quebec officials said Thursday they are considering making helmets mandatory on ski slopes. Emergency room doctors had been lobbying for the requirement even before Richardson’s death, said Jean-Pascal Bernier, a spokesman for the sports minister.

“It’s tragic that she died, I can’t believe it,” said Marie Rivest as she ushered her two young children toward the chair lift at the bottom of the run where Richardson fell.

Both Rivest and her children wore helmets. “I guess anything can happen,” she said.

The Tremblant ski resort, about 80 miles northwest of Montreal, has issued a statement saying they were deeply saddened by Richardson’s death, and offered condolences.

Tremblant spokeswoman Catherine Lacasse said the resort has no further comment now out of respect to Richardson’s family.

“I have nothing to say,” said one Tremblant employee, echoing the sentiments of many instructors and staff.

But dozens of skiers and snowboarders took breaks from the runs to discuss Richardson’s death.

“I bought a helmet yesterday after I heard,” said Nathalie Beaulieu, 41. “My daughters always wear them, but now my husband and I will, too.”

Not everyone said they would change their ways.

“I haven’t worn one up to now and I’m OK,” said Jacques Garnier, 45. “My kids wear them, for sure, though.”

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