How Dangerous is Skiing?

by | Mar 17, 2017

It’s spring break time – lots of people hitting the slopes!  I’m leaving to go skiing tomorrow and I’m a bit nervous as I suffered a pretty major injury skiing a year ago (x-rays below) and this will be my first time skiing post-injury.  So, this IFOD is about skiing injuries with the hopes that these stats help me get my skiing mojo back.

  • The rate of injury requiring medical attention for skiing ranges between 0.9 and 3 skiers per 1,000 skier days depending on the study. So, for every 1,000 people on the slopes about 1-3 will have an injury.  The rate for injury for snowboarders is around 7 boarders per 1,000 ride days.
  • Another way to look at is that if you ski 20 days a year it would be about 16 years between injuring yourself on average.  (For me it was 29 years between injuries).
  • Males account for 56% of skiing injuries. Surprised it isn’t higher.
  • The fatality rate is one skier per 1.06 million skier days.  Most fatalities occur to males in their teens thru early 30s and on blue slopes.  The most common fatality fact pattern is a male skier going fast on a groomed slope catches and edge and collides with a tree off the ski run.
  • The overall rate of injury for skiing has dropped by more than 50% since the 1970s due to improvements in boots and bindings. Lower leg fractures used to be a much more common injury than they are today.
  • Stats on ski injury location by body part from a European insurance firm – note that head injuries are not in the top five (due to increased helmet use):grafik-skistatistik-saeson-2015-2016-uk2-5220615 So – overall, skiing doesn’t pose a huge amount of injury risk statistically. According to experts, the best way to avoid injury is to: (a) be in good physical shape, (b) follow the skier’s responsibility code, (c) ski within your limits and (d) never ski under the influence.

X-Rays of my injury last year:


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  1. Have fun , a great sport I fix rt fibula Ann rt knee tear. Graduated to cross country sking for a real “ work- out”

  2. I have the same x-ray after breaking my clavicle skiing at only a medium rate of speed. I turned to stop in the middle of a run after barreling down a slope and hit a submerged fallen tree. You’re right, doesn’t set off the airport scanners. In fact, it didn’t really hurt that much, until the surgery! Maximally invasive and rather barbaric, if you ask me.

    Most of the good skiers/racers I know either hurt their knees in a twisting fall or do something to their upper body in a tumble. Their legs are so strong they don’t really get lower body injuries.

  3. Wholeheartedly agree with the four caveats to avoid injury, especially ‘c’ and ‘d’.

  4. How many of the ski injuries have a snowboarder involved? All the injuries I know in recent memory to my skiing friends have been the result of a crash with snowboarder.

  5. Tore my ACL last week on the sixth and last day of ski, while making a curve at the end of a black slope. Guilty of being a bit overweight, and skiing after having lunch on the mountain and two glasses of wine.

    • That really sucks! Sorry.

  6. Great post!

    Going skiing in a week…..

    Will stick to the black double diamonds and avoid the blue slopes……(?)

    Your xray looks very nice….

  7. Great post!

    Going skiing in a week…..

    Will stick to the black double diamonds and avoid the blue slopes……(?)

    Your xray looks very nice….

  8. Be prepared to be scared the first day or two – just like after you have a car accident you think everybody is going to hit you.
    Anyway, I hope you have a really good time. Having Audrey with you will help.

  9. X- ray still looks awesome!!!
    Take small picture with you to air port screening?? Good skiing.
    Ann & Bill

    • Actually – plate/screws don’t make metal detectors go off. Yay.

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