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Though the current pandemic has closed down many businesses, Colorado’s ski resorts, for the most part, are still open. However, if you decide to go skiing or snowboarding, you should not only be aware of tips to keep yourself safe on the slopes, but also safe from COVID.
If you or your loved one has been injured at a ski resort, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our ski and snowboard accident lawyers.
COLORADO SKI RESORTS ARE OPEN
Colorado is one of the most popular destinations in the United States for skiers. In fact, around a fifth or a quarter of Americans come to Colorado to ski every year. The current pandemic may have led to a decrease in numbers, but skiers are still hitting the slopes in Colorado. Making sure that skiers stay safe from COVID is a priority for many Colorado ski resorts. However, although ski resorts in Colorado are open, you should also do your part to stay safe and healthy.
First, you should make sure that the ski resort you are going to is following the current COVID guidelines recommended by the CDC. This means that the resort requires masks and social distancing. However, there are other factors you should consider to ensure that the resort you go to is safe for you and your family. For instance, look to see if the ski resort uses as many “touchless” options as possible. Look to see if the ski resort uses signage that reminds guests of social distancing and masking policies. Look to see if the ski resorts do not allow the resort to operate at full capacity. Many ski resorts are using a reservation system to prevent a resort from being packed. You should call beforehand to be sure that your resort has implemented a similar measure. Some ski resorts are also measuring the temperatures of guests and asking screening questions. See if the ski resort you plan to go to is doing this as well.
Below are some other tips for your ski resort trip.
Masks and Face Coverings
When you are at a ski resort, make sure you have a mask or face covering that covers your mouth and nose. Simply putting a mask on like a chinstrap will be ineffective, nor will a mask be effective if you leave your nose exposed. Because masks can sometimes lead to fogging, test your mask, goggle, and helmet setup before you decide to hit the slopes. You do not want your goggle to start fogging while skiing.
COVID can spread more easily in indoor facilities. Therefore, you should make sure that the ski resort offers outdoor dining. If it does not, you should at least make sure that there is proper social distancing in the indoor dining facility.
Proper Lift Etiquette
When you decide to go on a ski lift, make sure that you are not getting on a ski lift that is at full capacity. Make sure there is always one empty seat between you and other passengers.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Besides COVID, you should also worry about the physical injuries that can result from skiing and snowboarding. Though severe injury and death may be the last thing on your mind when going out to ski or snowboard, deaths and severe injuries do arise from these recreational activities. Experienced skiers are more likely to die than inexperienced skiers. According to the National Ski Area Association, in 2016, a seasoned male skier in his thirties was, on average, more likely to die in a skiing accident than any other group. This may be because experienced skiers tend to perform riskier maneuvers and ski at higher speeds than inexperienced skiers. In Colorado, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, an average of 11 deaths occur each year.
COMMON CAUSES OF SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING INJURIES
- Collisions with other skiers/snowboarders
- Chair lift accidents
- Inadequate instruction from skiing/snowboarding instructor
- Accidents from skiing/snowboarding equipment failure
- Crashes into physical objects such as trees
COMMON SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING INJURIES
- Knee sprains
- Fractured wrists
- Broken legs
- Cranial injuries
- Shoulder dislocations
- Ankle/Foot sprains
- Back injuries
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)/MCL (medial collateral ligament) injuries
- Thumb injury
ACL/MCL, back, wrist, and thumb injuries are the most common of the injuries in the list above. Some special attention will be given to how to prevent these injuries.
Preventing ACL/MCL Injuries
Your ACL is the part of your body that makes sure that your shin does not move too far forward while your MCL is the part of your body that makes sure that your knee does not bend inward. However, when extreme pressure is applied to your legs at an uneven angle, these ligaments can be injured. To prevent ACL/MCL injuries while on the slope, you should strengthen your legs by doing squats and wall-sits weeks or months before going skiing or snowboarding.
Preventing Back Injuries
Back injuries encompass injuries involving muscles and bones. Back muscle injuries can occur when your body is forced into a hunched position. This often occurs on the ski slope when a skier tries to avoid a fall or when the skier is skiing on uneven terrain. Bone injuries can occur when the skier falls or collides with a physical object. A way to prevent such injuries is to strengthen your back by doing back exercises such as cat stretches.
Preventing Wrist Injuries
When you realize you are about to fall while skiing, your instinct will be generally to extend your arms forward to lessen the impact. Though you may lessen the impact by doing so, your wrists may fracture as a result. Consider wearing wrist braces while skiing to reduce the impact on your wrists from falls.
Skier’s thumb makes up approximately 10% of ski injuries. Generally, skiers hold ski poles by putting their hands into the loops of the ski poles. Unfortunately, when a skier falls, this can end up causing their thumbs to bend far too outward, which can lead to a thumb injury. To prevent this injury, try not to place your hands in the ski poles. That way, when you know you are about to fall, you can let go of the ski poles right away. If this is not possible, try to acquire ski gloves that have thumb stabilizers.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF WHILE SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING
In addition to protecting yourself from the most common skiing or snowboarding injuries, there are other ways to reduce your chances of having an accident or, at the very least, reduce the severity of your injuries if an accident does occur. Below is a list of tips you should follow while at the ski resort:
- Wear a helmet
- Make sure to check that your skis or snowboard do not have any damage
- Do not consume alcohol or drugs
- If the weather becomes severe, head to shelter
- Stay within the bounds of the resort
- Follow ski patrol instructions
- Before skiing, make sure that you are hydrated and that your muscles are loose
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SKI OR SNOWBOARDING ACCIDENT
1. Assess Your Injuries and Get Medical Attention
After a ski or snowboarding accident, make sure that you receive medical attention. No matter how well you may feel, you should see a healthcare provider. There are plenty of personal injury cases where a plaintiff starts to suffer from their injuries days or weeks after the accident itself. In such cases, a ski resort can claim that the injuries are from some other accident and not from the resort. Do not let this happen to you.
2. Collect Evidence and Witness Information
If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the scene of the accident and the injuries you received. Because witness testimony can be valuable in a personal injury lawsuit, if there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies.
3. Hire an Attorney
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may wish to hire an experienced ski and snowboard accident attorney. A minor sprain may not require an attorney, but if your injury has prevented you from working, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Furthermore, whether you may wish to hire an experienced attorney may depend on who was the cause of the accident. If the ski resort was responsible for the accident, you may not want to fight alone, as a ski resort probably has an experienced legal team on its side. Remember ski resorts know that skiing and snowboarding are inherently dangerous activities, so your attorney may need to address liability waivers or other barriers to recovering financial compensation for your ski injuries.
CONTACT A SKI AND SNOWBOARD ACCIDENT LAWYER
While Colorado ski resorts are open, contracted COVID-19 is still a risk, and ski resorts must adhere to regulatory guidelines while operating. The experienced Denver attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.