An “active” widow died on a family Christmas trip to France after suffering a catastrophic head injury when a fellow skier crashed into her on the slopes, an inquest has heard.

Theresa Madden was left “shaken” but initially seemed okay after a mystery collision on the slopes while skiing in Barèges on December 27 last year – however her condition worsened as the day went on.

The 63-year-old, whose husband tragically died in March 2019, was very active - regularly playing tennis and going to the gym, tending to her garden and enjoying activities like walking.

She was a keen skier and joined a trip to Barèges with other members of her family while on a Christmas trip to visit relatives.

At an inquest into the Little Kimble woman’s death at Buckinghamshire Coroners Court on Tuesday, a statement from her son Samuel described the moment he realised something was not right with his mother towards the end of the day on December 27.

He said they had started on a final run down after a successful day on the slopes – him snowboarding and Theresa skiing.

The slopes were busy and Samuel stopped halfway down the hill to regroup with his mother before continuing down, but he felt he was “waiting too long” for her to appear and was preparing to walk back up to find her when she appeared looking “visibly shaken”.

He said: “She had snow covering the left rear of her helmet. I asked her if she was okay and she said she had been taken out by another skier but she couldn’t remember who. She remembered six French men had helped her to her feet and made sure she was okay.

“We don’t know who crashed into her or who the men were.”

They started skiing the last 150 metres to the bottom but after around 50 metres, Theresa said she did not know where she was.

When they made it to the bottom, Theresa recognised her sister Kate who was also on the trip, and Kate went to the medical office at the resort for advice - where she was told to get Theresa something to eat and drink.

Theresa’s memory returned and she Googled her symptoms, concluding she may have suffered a concussion but added that she felt fine and did not think she needed medical attention at that point.

Later on, after returning back to the home of family they were visiting around an hour and a half away, Theresa developed a headache and went to lay down.

Samuel said his mum appeared “normal” before they all went to bed – but at around 3.30am the next morning, the family were awoken by Theresa “retching and feeling dizzy” in the bathroom.

An ambulance was called and Theresa was rushed to hospital in Lourdes for scans, which revealed she had suffered a “huge” bleed between her brain and her skull.

She was transferred to another hospital in Pau for emergency surgery to drain the blood.

The inquest heard how, after the first surgery, she suffered a seizure and another operation was needed on December 29 after a bleed was discovered in her frontal lobe.

Following the second surgery, she was transferred to another hospital and was put in an induced coma – but after being taken off the coma-inducing drugs, doctors were concerned she was not improving.

Another MRI scan revealed “huge areas of damage” to her brain and doctors said Theresa would likely never wake up from her coma and if she did, her brain would be severely impacted.

The family returned the next day to say their goodbyes and she sadly passed away at 3.20pm on January 17.

Theresa’s cause of death was recorded as severe head trauma and senior coroner for Bucks, Crispin Butler, concluded she died as a result of misadventure.