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Come winter, millions of people hit the slopes to ski. Although skiing is oftentimes an enjoyable sport and past time, there are many inherent dangers involved. Even though many people are aware of such dangers and take precautions, unfortunately, people often depend on the conduct of others on the slope. The reckless and negligent behavior of other skiers and snowboarders is a major contributor to accidents on the slope.
SKIING AND SNOW SPORTS POPULARITY
In the United States, snow sports have sky rocketed in popularity, with about 10 million snow sports participants during the 2018 and 2019 season. With so many participants, snow sportsmen were averaging about 5.54 visits to the slopes a year, which is a 19.7% increase in participants since 1998.
During the 2018/2019 season, 37 states had operating ski areas, providing for 476 ski areas across the United States. As for the most popular states for skiing, it comes as no surprise that Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York provide the majority of the ski areas in the country. With their cold climate and mountain terrains, these states provide the perfect place for skiing, with Colorado and Wisconsin containing 31 ski areas, Michigan containing 43 areas, and New York containing 51 ski areas.
HOW COMMON ARE SNOW SPORTS INJURIES?
Given the increasing popularity in snow sports every year, the chances of suffering a catastrophic injury while skiing is likely to increase as well. According to the National Ski Areas Association, a catastrophic ski injury may include:
- Injuries with significant neurological trauma
- Major head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in full or partial paralysis
- Injuries resulting in the loss of a limb
There were a total of 31 catastrophic injuries reported during the 2018/2019 winter season. The majority of which resulted from collisions with the snow surface, stationary objects, or other skiers. Additionally, of the 31 catastrophic accidents that occurred during the 2018/2019 season:
- 90% of the accidents involved males, a majority of which were males under 30 on intermediate terrain
- 20% of those injured were not wearing a helmet
HOW COMMON ARE SNOW SPORTS FATALITIES
According to the National Ski Areas Association, over the past 10 years, skiers are fatally injured at a rate of .69 per one million participants. During the 2018/2019 season, there were 42 reported fatal incidents, the majority of which resulted in collisions with other skiers, the snow surface, or trees. Of these 42 reported fatal incidents during the 2018/2019 season:
- 95% were male
- 26% were not wearing a helmet
COMMON SNOW SPORTS INJURIES
The most common snow sports injuries, ranging from relatively minor to catastrophic, may include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Herniated disk
- Skier’s thumb
- Wrist sprain
- Torn rotator cuff
- Shoulder separation or dislocation
- ACL/PCL rupture
- Meniscus injury
HOW TO STAY SAFE ON THE SLOPES
Winter sports come with inherent risks, and while not every tragic situation may be avoided, it’s important to take note of these safety tips:
1. BE AWARE
Not only is it important to be aware of other skiers and snowboarders, it’s also important to be aware of any adverse weather conditions and changing snow conditions
2. WEAR A HELMET
Helmets may be effective in preventing both minor and catastrophic head injuries; however, keep in mind that wearing a helmet may not always be 100% effective in every situation. During the 2018/2019 season, approximately 85% of participants wore helmets.
3. AVOID RECKLESS SKIING
Collisions with other skiers and stationary objects are the leading cause of ski-related fatalities and injuries. Therefore, it’s important to maintain control when skiing, and understand your responsibility to those around you while on the slopes.
Talk to Zinda Law Group Today
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys have the experience and knowledge that has helped injured victims seek compensation after suffering an injury from a ski or snow sports accident.
Our firm also believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
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