Originally Posted by fressen
If by "Dangerous" you mean death-defying, and by "skiing" you mean making conservative, riskless decisions while gliding down groomed piste runs, I might agree with you. However, if you include the potential for injuries (minor to major) and if your skiing becomes a little riskier (terrain parks, trees, off-piste, back-country, leaping off of things, speed...etc.) the word "Danger" can certainly be used as an adjective to describe skiing.
Warning, this is long...
Erm, by "danger" I meant death. The idea that skiing could be dangerous without being deadly is certainly hugely important and a big hole in my original post's logic. I accept that, no prob. But it's also seeking to redefine the original problem, when clearly by the terms I was describing the issue -- death rates -- I had a certain idea of what danger meant.
Respectfully, no matter how one slices 'n dices the numbers, reworks the players, jiggles the parameters, etc., it all comes back to one basic truth: very, very, VERY few people actually die skiing. The main force behind all the numbers I cite is that they are based on ski visits, ie, deaths per ski visits nationwide.
Why is this an issue in the first place? Why did I start this thread? Oh, man, you may not want to know: but if you do, here's my best shot:
While poorly timed (the tragic death of the avalanche victim in Utah is at the moment garnering broad news coverage), I feel that the emphasis I've seen in my own experience on deaths in skiing can create a fear in new or returning skiers that goes beyond a prudent usefulness, that distorts, that even hurts the sport. Yet my interest in the subject is much, much more personal than that. I'm not so arrogant to think that anything I say about skiing can help or hurt "the sport." But I am PERSONALLY susceptible to enormous anxieties. I used to be afraid of flying, for instance, until I started to accept that the numbers make fear quite irrational. I have no problem flying now. For all you macho men and women out there, this is all pretty irrelevant. Good for you. So while fear is a useful skiing partner and certainly, I need it, I think it often oversteps its usefulness. Fun is just more important -- I need to keep that firmly in my head at all times, because irrational fear can push it out. I shared these statistics about skiing danger with my wife this week and saw her move from misery-filled green slopes to joyous blue slopes almost instantly. She went from hating skiing to adoring it very quickly. For me, that was proof enough that perception of fear can truly destroy the sport for someone. She'd been hearing some high-profile reports of skiing deaths in New England this winter on the news and she had become paralyzed with terror on green slopes, despite having received superb instruction from Belleayre's staff.
Finally, I have to say, too, that a good friend of mine died this week of lung cancer. His death was ugly, unfair, painful, slow, and ruthless. Here's a man who desperately wanted to live. I reacted poorly. I felt rather irritated reading people on the forum express concern about people who had died skiing. I felt like, hey, we all have to die, and if I get to die skiing, better that than drugged up on an oncology ward. Maybe I should have gone to the "Supporter's Lounge."
So, now you know where I was coming from ... I was certainly a git and a dork, and again, I regret my behavior. You all have been really tolerant and nice. As far as the fundamental idea goes, I actually feel really happy to have discovered these statistics and I hope they help someone else, too.