Skiing Deaths
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7 users
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January 20, 2004
How many people die each year as a result of skiing accidents at our area resorts? Are there any websites that keep track of this data?
Scott - DCSki Editor
January 20, 2004
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,251 posts
I don't know of any web sites that track the number of deaths in this region. Resorts tend to keep these statistics pretty private; as you can imagine, they don't put out a press release when someone is injured or killed, although local newspapers near the resort often carry a small story. Anecdotally, it seems to me that there's usually at least one death a season. There are also sometimes deaths that are off-slope. (For example, if I remember correctly, a college student drowned in a swimming pool at a mid-Atlantic resort in the past few years. I believe alcohol may have been involved.)

The conditions at mid-Atlantic resorts do lead to accidents. Slopes can be icier, and they're narrower and shorter than places out west. And often not all slopes are open. Combine that with weekend crowds and you've got a lot of skiers crammed onto slopes. Many mid-Atlantic skiers are there for the day or night, so they might be more tired than someone camped out at a resort for a week-long vacation. Local resorts also tend to attract more beginners than some of the western resorts, and with a smaller number of trails, there's a greater chance that you'll have beginner skiers spilling onto trails they really shouldn't be on. Places like Winter Park have huge sections of the mountain dedicated entirely to beginning skiers and boarders. I suspect, also, that night skiing (popular in the mid-Atlantic) tends to be more dangerous than day skiing, but I don't have stats to back that up.

One thing I've noticed is that many of the fatalities I've heard about occur on beginner trails -- not expert slopes as one might originally assume. (This is again anecdotally; I don't have raw statistics.) Most seem to be head injuries, which seems to stress the importance of wearing a helmet. I started wearing a helmet last season and it's no big deal; I'm not sure why I didn't start wearing one sooner.

- Scott

[This message has been edited by Scott (edited 01-20-2004).]

January 20, 2004
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,271 posts
We've had two deaths so far this season at The Canyons ... both good a skier/rider hitting tree while tree-skiing. It can happen....
January 21, 2004
Member since 11/20/2001 🔗
218 posts
One source of ski injury data that I just learned about is:

Tom / PM

January 21, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
A girl recently died while skiing in NY state:,0,991470.story?coll=ny-linews-featured

It doesn't say of she was wearing a helmet.

Since getting a helmet I refuse to ski without one.

January 21, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Actually I meant to look this up at home last night and forgot. One of the free ski newspapers I just happened to pick up recently SOMEWHERE, and whose name at the moment completely escapes me, had the stats for the entire last season. It was something like 37 deaths total, mostly SKIERS, out of several million "visits..." Exact numbers are not at my finger tips until later. And it didn't break it down by region or anything like that, nor did it say whether these included inbounds or out of bounds skiing (more common out west), the circumstances, and so on.
I will try to post later unless someone else can come up with the info...
January 21, 2004
Member since 11/22/1999 🔗
317 posts
The National Ski Areas Association generally posts fatality statistics in narrative form on their website ( According to the website, for the 2001-2002 season (the most current statistics available), there were 45 deaths out of 54.4 million skier visit days. Thirty-six of the fatalities were skiers (23 male, 13 female) and 9 of the fatalities were snowboarders (seven males, two females). The rate of fatality was .83 per million skier/snowboarder visits. There are also general stats on serious injury numbers as well (serious injury being defined as paraplegics, serious head and other potentially life threatening injuries). The link to the stats can be found at

January 21, 2004
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Yeah that's it... had my 37 confused with the 36 skiers, I think. Anyway, deeper in the article its say most deaths are intermediate-advanced skiers, skiing near the tree line at high speed. We all know that's there the soft snow is half the time... so think about it when you are out there!
January 21, 2004
Thanks to everyone for the information.
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