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How Dangerous is Skiing REALLY?

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Here are the statistics.

family skiing

Was Natasha Richardson's fall just a freak accident?

According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), during the past 10 years, about 39.8 people have died skiing/snowboarding per year on average. During the 2007/08 season, 53 fatalities occurred out of the 60.5 million skier/snowboarder days reported for the season. Forty-four of the fatalities were skiers (38 male, 6 female) and nine of the fatalities were snowboarders, (8 male, 1 female). The rate of fatality converts to .88 per million skier/snowboarder visits. This means a chance of dying on the slopes is less than one in a million.

Serious injuries (paraplegics, serious head and other serious injuries) occur at the rate of about 43.6 per year, according to the NSAA. In the 2007/08 season, there were 41 serious injuries. Thirty-two of these serious injuries were skiers (25 males, 7 females) and nine were snowboarders, all male. The rate of serious injury in 2007/08 was .68 per million skier/snowboarder visits.

How does this compare to other sports? In 2006, 3,800 people drowned in swimming accidents, and 1,100 people died in bicycling accidents.

Although there is no statistical significance to the following, it helps to offer a perspective: The National Safety Council points out than in 2006: 44,700 Americans died in motor-vehicle accidents; 6,100 pedestrians were killed; 8,600 died from unintentional public falls; 5,100 died from unintentional public poisoning; 43 died from lightning; and 67 died from tornadoes.

Even though serious or fatal skiing accidents are extremely rare, that's not much solace for the families of those injured or killed on the slopes. Our thoughts are with Natasha Richardson's family in this difficult time.

next: Natasha Richardson 1963 - 2009
13 comments so far | Post a comment now
Linda March 19, 2009, 6:04 PM

I would say skiing/snowboarding is pretty dangerous because you’re going pretty fast downhill. Even the beginner runs can be pretty fast if you ride all the way down without stopping. But then again, if you’re not confident with knowing how to stop and you fly down the hill anyway, you could lose control and hit a tree and hurt yourself. I am very surprised that not more people are killed from skiing/snowboarding. I’m wondering if Natasha hit her head on a rock. Maybe the snow wasn’t thick enough. Or maybe the snow was hard like ice. However the accident happened, it’s really sad that she was killed learning how to ski. It’s not like she was recklessly skiing.

Bob March 25, 2009, 5:05 PM

40 people per year die from skiing. 43 people in 2006 died from getting struck by lightning. That says all you need to know right there. I’m going to continue enjoying not wearing a helmet until some overzealous politician makes it a federal law that I have to wear one.

Higisrya June 24, 2009, 4:01 PM

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Are you kidding?

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is it that dangourse cuz i am going on a felied trip on jan 26 i dont whant to go if i will die

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