or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

is skiing dangerous?

post #1 of 75
Thread Starter 
How dangerous is skiing?

I have been skiing for about 4 decades, and as far as I can remember being the fastest skier on the hill, the worst injury I have had is a broken wrist. A wrist that I also broke falling on a motorcycle, and playing soccer.

Still there is a general perception out there that skiing is dangerous. My family, well the female half anyway, is not immune to this myth. They even tried to convince me to stop skiing this season because my wrist was in a cast. One argument used was "We don't want you to die." WTF:.

BTW, My son, his friend and I had a great time skiing at Mt. St. Louis Moonstone yesterday, and nobody got hurt. In fact nobody fell, except at the lift where my son managed to tangle skis up with the skier next to him. My novice son even managed the black diamonds including "stretcher" a couple of times. Too bumpy he said it was. (I cleverly chose this resort so he couldn't expose himself to more difficult terrain ).
post #2 of 75
Did you notice how many times the ambulance came? It comes to the hills around here several times a day, but there are a lot of yahoos among us, here in the south, who skip the lesson and the bunny hill.

Ligament sprains are epidemic among accomplished skiers and broken legs seem to be making a come back.

Statistically, taking a shower is probably more dangerous, so I wouldn't stop skiing.

(Shameless plug for 'real skiing'...) If you didn't ski so fast, you might have avoided the injury. It's not easy to break a wrist with a ski pole. Speed will increase the likelihood and severity of injury. If you skied telemark, you could challenge yourself without going 30+mph. Safer, funner, better exercise and chicks dig it, but kinda like telling you to bicycle instead of motorbiking, telemark is not going to fuel your "need for speed".

Barring free-heel skiing, ditch those stupid beer mug grips. What where you thinking!?
post #3 of 75
A few hours ago, I posted about a very accomplished skier dying on a very easy run during a pre-race warm-up, so I'd say that yes, skiing is a dangerous activity. Many times, you are safer in the woods or on very hard slopes (excluding BC skiing here...) because there is less traffic and the speeds are much lower. One needs to realize that on caugth edge or inattention when going mach 2 on a blue groomed run is enough to send you flying into the woods wich can easily cause death, helmet or not.

With that said, it is still a lot safer than many other sports who aren't necessarily considered extreme (boating without a life vest, ATV riding, etc.)
post #4 of 75
Yes, it's dangerous. I've had one situation where my binding broke and I went flying into the woods at very high speed. Tree impact would have meant death or paralysis. As another poster mentioned, this was on an intermediate groomer where I was making long-radius trail edge to trail edge turns.

I agree that trees are actually **safer** but 10mph into a tree can mean death. Wide open bowls can lead to all sorts of compression injuries and breakages when you hit traverse lines the wrong way.

How dangerous - not that bad but I don't have statistics. I'm staing away from my motorcycle because I feel like that's an accident waiting to happen (broke a finger on the track once). Skiing - no plans on stopping.
post #5 of 75
Thread Starter 
Ok. It's not absolutely safe, but compared to other things people do, how safe is it. How many people die riding a bicycle, climbing a tree, playing pick-up hockey, walking across the street, or just taking a bath?
post #6 of 75
Nah. There are just dangerous skiers.
post #7 of 75
I've had my share of injuries,nothing bad. Cuts,bruise,ect. Yes skiing is dangerous but I'd take my chances on the hill over driving any day.:
post #8 of 75
You are around 100 times more likely to die driving to the ski resort than you are skiing at the ski resort.
post #9 of 75
Heck yeah it is dangerous. You get hooked on it, spend all your time doing it, spend lots of money, quit your job and move to the mountains.

Oh, and about an injury every 500 skier days on average.
post #10 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Heck yeah it is dangerous. You get hooked on it, spend all your time doing it, spend lots of money, quit your job and move to the mountains.
Fer sure!

Just ask any parent whose son/daughter blew off that expensive college education and moved to the mountains to be a ski bum.
post #11 of 75
I'll give my opinion based on 5 years with the Ski Patrol and 22 years of skiing experiance.

I beleive skiing is dangerous for beginers and advancing intermediates. Why? Because they don't have the knowledge and skills to handle the unknowns that pop up in skiing.

Most of the bad accidents that happened were on the Easy slopes, people going a reasonable speed or slow. I feel this is because they don't have momentum to disapate the energy of the fall. When going slow they just fall and go THUD and stop dead (no pun intended).

When people are skiing faster when they fall they tend to slide and the sudden impact is somewhat disapated across a longer surface and due to the speed there is not such a THUD or sudden stop.

I think things change for weekend or day Mountain warriors as they try to emulate top level skiing, tricks, cliffs etc... when they are there for that one day a month, plus again they don't have the skill or knowledge of mountain conditions and occurances.

For people that have years of skiing experiance I beleive the danger level drops a bit. They have knowledge and experiance to get themselves out of trouble.

Is it dangerous? Yes but to varying degrees.

Racing, or skiing very fast is dangerous no matter how you slice it. The limits are being pushed to the edge and the skier is verging on the edge of control. Disaster is always a error away.
post #12 of 75

.

Of course skiing is dangerous. Just this weekend a friend of mine had his binding release prematurely and as a result he crashed into me with his skis following shortly behind (I was set up with a camera). Two weeks before that I caught the stub of a tree branch in the mouth.

Sure stuff happens but as long as you stay smart and alert it probably wont be that bad. Plus its too much fun to skip out on simply because you're afraid of injury.
post #13 of 75
I don't think so, I should clarify that it certainly can be if you just start getting insane at every opertunity. This is of course in no way scientific but the vast number of people I saw being trucked off in the meat wagon were beginners. Not to say that experts can't be hurt or even killed but I think the most dangerous time is when you just take up the sport. Part of this I think is due to the fact that some people do not associate skiing with being an athlete. No 400 pound house frau would even think about going to the local court and get in a pick up game but they will and do try to ski. Of course it is possible to ski while being out of shape but it can't be anyting but a liability.
post #14 of 75
Here is some info, taken from this web site:

http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/0506/...owboarding.asp

Comparative statistics to other sports

Death rates experienced in different activities are sometimes difficult to compare because of different ways of expressing exposure to risk. Below skiing/snowboarding fatalities per million are presented based on “visits” (can be referred to as days of participation) and by participants. Drowning due to swimming and fatalities related to bicycling are also listed below.

Skiing/snowboarding (11/05)

2004 number of fatalities* 45
Number of participants (in millions)** 12.2
Fatalities per million participants 3.69
Days of participation (in millions)* 56.9
Fatalities per days of participation rate (per million) .79

Swimming

2004 number of fatalities*** 2,900
(Drowning: Includes drownings of person swimming or playing in water, or falling into water, except on home premises or at work. Excludes drownings involving boats, which are in water transportation)
2004 Number of participants (in millions)** 53.4
Fatalities per million participants 54.3
Days of participation (in millions)** 2294
Fatalities per days of participation rate (per million) 1.26

Bicycling (resulting from collisions with motor vehicles)

2004 number of fatalities*** 900
Number of participants (in millions)** 40.3
Fatalities per million participants 22.3
Days of participation (in millions)** 2,379
By days of participation rate (per million) .38


As noted above, it's really hard to find good comparative statistics, in part because it's not clear for many activities what the denominator should be when trying to calculate an injury rate. For example, the website above states that 31 people in the U.S. died in 2004 from being struck by lightning, but it's not clear how we'd compare that to the 45 that died skiing or boarding. For how many person-hours per year are people at risk of being struck by lightning? I don't know, but it seems like you're a lot more likely to die skiing than by getting hit by lightning. That's not going to stop any of us, I know!
post #15 of 75
Virtually every sport carries a risk of serious injury . Sports that involve high speeds, such as skiing, surfing, cycling may not necessarily be higher risk but the consequences of a mishap tend to be more serious. I'd venture to say the serious injuries for skiers are still relatively rare. In 32 years of skiing I have had one badly strained knee and a moderately strained shoulder. No one I've skied with has been seriously injured either ( knock on wood). I also rode a bicycle across Canada without any mishap and have fortunately cycled on public roadways most of my life without injury. I am however partially blind in one eye as a result of playing floor hockey - go figure.

I wouldn't be able to count the number of falls I've had over the years and I do like to ski fast. Good bindings and a somewhat forgiving surface have helped. Of course going into the trees at speed could be deadly but that type of thing is probably relatively rare. You do hear about it when it happens because it involves very serious injuy or death.

I agree with the comments from others, the drive up to the hill or to the local grocery is significantly more dangerous than skiing - statistically speaking.

You can live life or sit on the couch and watch it on TV - that's far less dangerous unless you eat too many potato chips.

K
post #16 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Still there is a general perception out there that skiing is dangerous. My family, well the female half anyway, is not immune to this myth. They even tried to convince me to stop skiing this season because my wrist was in a cast. One argument used was "We don't want you to die." WTF:.
This is what really gets me, once or twice a year I will chase a good storm up the east coast to VT which at most is 10-11 hours from my house in Philly. The planned trips to Vt they could care less what I do, but these all of a sudden departures really wig my gf and mom out, they call my cell phone the entire trip about every three hours. I have no idea what is behind this, as this year I was in UT for eight months in which my mom called me about once every two weeks and didn't even ask me about skiing. Both my mom and gf ski and have been to VT and UT so I don't really get it at all, by the way they act you would think I was telling them I would be driving Humvee's in Iraq.
post #17 of 75
[quote=Ice Queen;679001]Here is some info, taken from this web site:

http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/0506/...owboarding.asp


Skiing/snowboarding (11/05)

2004 number of fatalities* 45
Number of participants (in millions)** 12.2
Fatalities per million participants 3.69
Days of participation (in millions)* 56.9
Fatalities per days of participation rate (per million) .79

Query also whether these statistics include non-accidental deaths, such as heart attack due to vigorous activity?
post #18 of 75
post #19 of 75
Purely a matter of my perception:

Skiing is generally less dangerous than the image it has, particularly among people who form their image based on the perception of skiing back in the '50s or the '70s.

Danger of minor injuries isn't particularly great, though akin to other activites where you're outside moving around in somewhat unpredictable ways.

Danger of "middling" injuries -- particularly to knees -- is pretty significant, though. Nothing fatal, but certainly not minor. The same is true of various other sports, like middle-aged basketball (which seems to harder on knees). Less experienced skiers may well be in more danger, on a risk-per-hour basis.

Danger of death or really serious injury is quite low, for ordinary skiers. This elevates quickly if you're anywhere where avalanches are at all likely, or if you ski like a maniac (in terms of terrain or speed). I think the backcountry devotees who expose themselves to these greater risks do so knowledgably, and minimize them to the extent possible; but the risk is still many times greater than for the ordinary guy on the groomers.
post #20 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnythan View Post
You are around 100 times more likely to die driving to the ski resort than you are skiing at the ski resort.
In Colorado, there is about one skier death per 1 million skier days (just from ski-related causes, not heart attacks, etc.).
In the western states, there is about one vehicle death per 70 million passenger miles.
So, if you day-trip from Denver to Summit County for a day of skiing (more or less 70 miles each way), your risk of dying in an auto accident during the drive is roughly double that of dying from skiing that day (yes, wildly simplified, but definitely not 100 times greater).
post #21 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Fer sure!

Just ask any parent whose son/daughter blew off that expensive college education and moved to the mountains to be a ski bum.

Have your parents forgiven you yet?:
post #22 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb View Post
I beleive skiing is dangerous for beginers and advancing intermediates. Why? Because they don't have the knowledge and skills to handle the unknowns that pop up in skiing.

Most of the bad accidents that happened were on the Easy slopes, people going a reasonable speed or slow. I feel this is because they don't have momentum to disapate the energy of the fall. When going slow they just fall and go THUD and stop dead (no pun intended).

When people are skiing faster when they fall they tend to slide and the sudden impact is somewhat disapated across a longer surface and due to the speed there is not such a THUD or sudden stop.
I agree, but with the caveat that sliding at high speeds can be very dangerous today thanks to better grooming. While the initial impact may be dissipated, the odds of sliding into a tree, lift tower or snowmaking equipment is higher - and often more deadly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb View Post

For people that have years of skiing experiance I beleive the danger level drops a bit. They have knowledge and experiance to get themselves out of trouble.

Is it dangerous? Yes but to varying degrees.

Racing, or skiing very fast is dangerous no matter how you slice it. The limits are being pushed to the edge and the skier is verging on the edge of control. Disaster is always a error away.
Experience is probably the biggest variable here. Going back to what I said above about better grooming - Due to experience, there are buffed intermediate trails out there that I simply will not let 'em rip on, because I'm too aware of the potential consequences of catching an edge.

All things considered, however, I don't think skiing is that dangerous.
post #23 of 75
of course skiing is dangerous. Many people say you are more likely to die in a car accident, or just as likely to die in the bathtub. Stats can be argued in any direction...

I'm pretty young at 31, but 75% of the people I know who have died have died on skis. (literally 3 of 4.) And that stat just dropped from 100% this week. Hmmm.
post #24 of 75
Last weekend I ran across four injuries while teaching for four hours. Every year for the past fifteen years there have been multiple deaths here. The ambulance runs to and from the mountain every weekend day. That is certainly higher than the fatality rate on the road up.

Just curious as to whether those morbidity statistics include backcountry as well as resort.

Edit: Having read the article: "A skier/snowboarder visit represents one person visiting a ski area" ...can one assume that the number of fatalities in "bicycling" only includes visits to "bicycling areas"?

I would ventrue that the number of backcountry deaths more than doubles the figures quoted.
post #25 of 75
kgtrips, those kinds of stats usually exclude heart attacks and other stuff not directly tied to skiing, although that site doesn't say explicitly. Harry Morgan, I think those are pretty accurate figures for all ski deaths in all areas. We probably don't have as good a feel for the number of skier visits to backcountry areas that are purely hike only areas, but we probably do know how many skiers or boarders die in the backcountry -- coroners always have to determine a cause of death, so in terms of government statistics in the U.S., death stats are more accurate than just about anything else.
post #26 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Queen View Post
Harry Morgan, I think those are pretty accurate figures for all ski deaths in all areas. We probably don't have as good a feel for the number of skier visits to backcountry areas that are purely hike only areas, but we probably do know how many skiers or boarders die in the backcountry -- coroners always have to determine a cause of death, so in terms of government statistics in the U.S., death stats are more accurate than just about anything else.
My point was that the article does not reference skier deaths outside ski areas, but doesn't make a distinction about the location of deaths in the other referenced sports. That makes their contention that skiing comapres favorably to other sports an inaccurate statement.

Avalanche and immersion deaths are tallied by the state and regional avalanche centers, but only based on reports submitted.

This is one of those issues that will be skewed by regional and local perspective. Last season we had 2 fatalities from falls from cliffs, 1 inbounds immersion and 2 avalanche deaths. We did not have 5 million skier visits.

I have been in treewells. I have been hit and partially buried by avalanches. I have fallen into crevasses. I have broken my leg from a 400 foot fall in the Chugach. I have had to ski out with blood soaking my clothes. I have scars. I have had my knee reconstructed. I have come far too close to dying from compartment syndrome. I have buried friends.

Skiing is as dangerous as you want to make it. If you ski inbounds, on soft snow days, when the slopes are not crowded and you ski in control, it isn't terribly dangerous.

But if you take chances, chances are it may someday take you.
post #27 of 75
Skiing isn't dangerous generally. Falling can be. All my injuries, including punching my wrist up my arm, were caused by hitting the ground, not by skiing. Having the extra ski related equipment around helped influence one injury (the ski hit me on the head after I was studying the ground). And my wife blew out her knee skiing, and no falling was involved 'til after the damage was done, so it's not totally safe.
post #28 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
, but only based on reports submitted.
No stats are perfect. They don't include people like me who break their wrist, keep skiing, don't report anything, and only get their wrist looked at that evening when they go home.
post #29 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
No stats are perfect. They don't include people like me who break their wrist, keep skiing, don't report anything, and only get their wrist looked at that evening when they go home.
We're supposed to report our (skiing) injuries ? Add a collar bone, two head injuries and a nasty cut to the neck (I forgot I'd tuned my skis) to the statistics.
post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
How dangerous is skiing?
Not dangerous at all - as long as you just stay on the sundeck of the apres-ski bar.:
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion