Cross your t's, not your ski tips.
Home
An analysis of Colorado skier deaths / skier safety
22 posts from 13 users
Updated 2 months ago
1,106 views
Jump to Newest Post
2 months ago

137 dead over the last 10 years. Click on the map to read about each of them. Click on the story below the map to read more. I’ll post the other parts of the story as they are published.

 

If I weren’t already a sker, it would make me think  twice about whether or not I’d want to be one.

 

I had one crash that coud have easily kllled me 21 years ago. Luckily, with about a one second notice,  I was able to react to the event so that I skied into the fence (and the unpadded steel pole holding the fence up that caused the real problem) feet first instead of head first.

 

http://www.summitdaily.com/news/whiteout-part-1-uncovering-the-human-toll-of-colorados-ski-industry/?utm_source=boomtrain&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=local-news-flash

2 months ago

Just playing devil’s advocate because I like to.  CO had 13,000,000 skier days this ski season.  That has probably bounced around some with the economy etc over the 10 year span, but let’s say 10,000,000 per year average is fair.  So 100,000,000 skier visits over that 10 years.

That means your chance of dying skiing in CO at any time in the last 10 years was 0.000137%.

So I wouldn’t stop skiing just yet, or discourage anyone from starting.  The heart disease from a sedintary lifestyle is a lot more likely to kill you.

2 months ago

Leo wrote:

Just playing devil’s advocate because I like to.  CO had 13,000,000 skier days this ski season.  That has probably bounced around some with the economy etc over the 10 year span, but let’s say 10,000,000 per year average is fair.  So 100,000,000 skier visits over that 10 years.

That means your chance of dying skiing in CO at any time in the last 10 years was 0.000137%.

So I wouldn’t stop skiing just yet, or discourage anyone from starting.  The heart disease from a sedintary lifestyle is a lot more likely to kill you.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the odds of a car occupant dying in a transportation accident were 1 in 47,718 in 2013, which is about 0.0021%  Simply looking at statistics, one is much more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than on the slopes.

However, that doesn’t minimize the tragedy in each of those 137 deaths.  There are inherent risks in any sport, and one tragedy is one too many.  Although some accidents are unavoidable, one can reduce the odds of a serious accident even further by skiing in control, wearing a helmet, being alert at all times, etc.

2 months ago

I think tne of the point  of the article is that it is hard to ascertain the real risks of the sport. Ski areas dont’ keep or share the data. Skiers don’t report injuries.

 

In my cae, only 1 of my 6 significant iincidents would be in statistics becasue I did not tell the ski areas about the incidents

blown knee/Rundtop - not comprehended  (by me) and not reported ro ski patrol

 

blown knee/  Chestnut Mountain comprehemded and not reported (follow on from above)

shoulder separation/ Timberline Oregon compreended and not reported

 

shattered wrint/Loveland comprehended and reported

Signifanct crash into fence and steel pole/Val Gardena Italy comprehended and not reported.

Near double knee blow out / Keystone comprehended and not reported

 

So anyone looking at my data would say that skiing is safe. Only 1 incident in 25 yeas of siing and 32 milion feet of vert.

In fact there were 6 incidents over the 25 years. Admitedly ., the data error is due to my non reporting 5 of 6 incidents. The article says that no one accumulates reported incidents and reports incidents.

2 months ago

bob wrote:

blown knee/  Chestnut Mountain comprehemded and not reported (follow on from above)

Apologies for the thread hijack, but is that Chestnut Mountain, Illinois? I used to ski there when I lived near Chicago.

2 months ago

wgo wrote:

bob wrote:

blown knee/  Chestnut Mountain comprehemded and not reported (follow on from above)

Apologies for the thread hijack, but is that Chestnut Mountain, Illinois? I used to ski there when I lived near Chicago.

 Yes, it sure was. Skiing the Mississippi bluffs down towards the river sure is pretty. My favorite day skiing there was a sunny day following a heavy frost. The ski was blue. The frost laden leafless trees were an intense white. It was proof that you can have a pretty sking day almost anywhere.

 

I set my personl record for most lift rides in a day at Chestnut; 61. I did mot think it was possible to get in 30K of vert in a day at ta hill with only 485 feet of vert. I did that day.

2 months ago

Hre are te final two parts of the story

 

http://www.summitdaily.com/news/crime/whiteout-part-2-the-anatomy-of-a-ski-death/

http://www.summitdaily.com/news/crime/the-damage-done/?utm_source=boomtrain&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=local-news-flash

 

 

2 months ago

Yeah - for me three booboos all due to racing - partial ACL rupture on the left when I hooked a gate with my inside ski, busted collar bone crashing during training, dislocated inferior/posterior right shoulder racing at Roundtop WSI circut - btw I had the fastest split time :: -), - geez this thread sounds like that scene out of Jaws 1 .. All for a little trophy.

 

bob wrote:

 

In my cae, only 1 of my 6 significant iincidents would be in statistics becasue I did not tell the ski areas about the incidents ….

2 months ago

Last month I had my family from Ft Lauderdale come to visit, renewing a 10-year family tradition we had when I had my place at Snowshoe.  On the second day of their vacation, my cousin’s husband blew his ACL and fractured his tibia on a “last run of the day”.  He spent the rest of his vacation on a wheelchair and is due for surgery later next week.  And then I read this article….  Needless to say, my last two ski days have been very cautious…. 

2 months ago

I saw this string of article last week in the Breck papers.

I thought it was interesting that the typical death was a middle aged male skiing alone wearing a helmet going too fast on a blue/black trail and striking a tree. Normally not found till the next day.

Made me nervous as this is my demo and MO!

 

2 months ago

A high percentage of avalanche victims are avalanche experts.  They got to be experts by spending a lot of time in the places where avalanches happen.  This comes with an elevated probability of being caught one or more times, and once may be enough.  It’s the total integrated exposure over a lifetime that matters.  Very large numbers and very small numbers are difficult to get our heads around.  Avalanches are just a convenient example.  All adventure sports have similar calculus.  I prefer to think about lifetime risk and the price that I am willing, or unwilling, to pay for having fun.  IMHO all adventure seekers should be thinking this way and making the decisions with which they are comfortable.

2 months ago

Interesting thoughts, Denis.  Now you have me reevaluating my decision to continue skiing next year and beyond despite that out of control snowboarder that smashed into me from behind breaking six of my ribs, in early February.  I am now told that it might be October before the uncomfortableness in my ribs finally disappears.  Sure takes longer to heal when over 76 years of age!

MorganB

aka The Colonel

2 months ago

On the other hand, I could say that a high percentage of general aviation aircraft crash victims are pilots.  Whatever sports we love and engage in, carry certain risks.  Skiing doesn’t even come up in a list of the 20 most dangerous sports.  Yes - ski accidents are visible and even more so with the publicity and oftentimes the fact that quite often celebrities are engaging in the sport and their accidents generate huge visibility.  The information Scott presented in a previous post on this thread is quite accurate.

You have a higher chance of dying at home in an earthquake, or dying of sedentary-caused diabetes, or a disaster flood, or a passenger transportation accident, or drowning in your swimming pool, or falling from your stairs, or mauled by a dog, or a car accident, than being injured while skiing.  

At our local mountain we have a fairly large group we call the 10 X 10 crowd.  The youngest is 65.  The oldest is close to 100.  And I was told there was one over 100 who I was told passed away recently.  All diehard skiers.  They come up at around 7:00 AM, almost every ski weekday.  They make their way up the lodge, don their equipment, have their oatmeal, talk about their great grandkids, and about 20 minutes before the ropes drop, they get on line.  They normally take the first severn or eight quad chairs, and make the first turns on the mountain.  They are the most graceful skiers I’ve seen.  Normally 10 runs, and at 10:00 AM, they come down, meet at the lodge, talk about their great grandkids and go home or to their assisted living facilities.  What a way to live….

Our group of skiers at Snowshoe has one guy that was 78 when I sold my condo and left the area.  As far as I know, he still skis.  And our group of mountain Ambassador volunteers has at least a half a dozen skiers over 70. 

Enjoy life.  You’re an inspiration as a skier over 70, and even more at 76.  Sorry that a careless SOB ruined your ski season.  

2 months ago

The Colonel wrote:

Interesting thoughts, Denis.  Now you have me reevaluating my decision to continue skiing next year and beyond despite that out of control snowboarder that smashed into me from behind breaking six of my ribs, in early February.  I am now told that it might be October before the uncomfortableness in my ribs finally disappears.  Sure takes longer to heal when over 76 years of age!

MorganB

aka The Colonel

Well,Morgan it’s all a benefit vs potential cost evaluation. If you still really love the sport, you might want to keep skiing but stay even more aware of potentially risky situations to minimize your risk: places where people might shoot out of trees unannounced, stay aware of risky trail intersections, make eye contact with people passing you, or you them to insure that something cazy doesn’t happen, and ALWAYS stay aware of what’s going around around you. In my time on the slopes, I’ve avoided plenty of people who tried  to run into me. Some were so close and potentially bad that even years later the rememberence of them scares the hell out of me.

 

Sorry to hear about the lengthy recovery for the ribs. Ribs just seem to take a long time to heal. While skiing I used to keep my wallet in my breast pocket until the time I did a face plant and fell right on my wallet. Cracked a rib, which hurt for a solid 7 months.

2 months ago

The Colonel wrote:

Interesting thoughts, Denis.  Now you have me reevaluating my decision to continue skiing next year and beyond despite that out of control snowboarder that smashed into me from behind breaking six of my ribs, in early February.  I am now told that it might be October before the uncomfortableness in my ribs finally disappears.  Sure takes longer to heal when over 76 years of age!

MorganB

aka The Colonel

Certainly hope you’ll keep skiing!

I’ve seen plenty of seniors over 70 who continue to ski.  Especially when I’m wandering around the northeast checking out places just for fun because I’ve read about them.  I always look for them at the lodge first thing in the morning because they know the best place to boot up and leave a boot bag.  However, they clearly avoid skiing on weekends.

At Alta, the Wild Olde Bunch are essentially all over 70.  The oldest member was 99.5 this past season and his ski buddy was 93.  They are still skiing off-piste regularly when the snow is good off the groomers.  But they will ski groomers too when off-piste is more work than fun.  That group tends to take a break at Alf’s around 11am but then are back out on the slopes.  If it’s good snow, they ski until mid-afternoon.  I’ve talked to several folks 80+ from the midwest on the lift who spend the winter in SLC, skiing Alta on good days.  Season passes are essentially free at that age and they take full advantage although I think most started the winter migration 10-20 years before.

Check out this video made at Vail of a 90yo who decided to start taking lessons … at age 80.  He was starting to worry more about falling.  Looking very smooth and clearly having plenty of fun.

https://vimeo.com/208287317

2 months ago

A few good stories about 80+ skiers here:

http://www.epicski.com/t/104043/80-and-still-skiing

2 months ago

Scott wrote:

Leo wrote:

Just playing devil’s advocate because I like to.  CO had 13,000,000 skier days this ski season.  That has probably bounced around some with the economy etc over the 10 year span, but let’s say 10,000,000 per year average is fair.  So 100,000,000 skier visits over that 10 years.

That means your chance of dying skiing in CO at any time in the last 10 years was 0.000137%.

So I wouldn’t stop skiing just yet, or discourage anyone from starting.  The heart disease from a sedintary lifestyle is a lot more likely to kill you.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the odds of a car occupant dying in a transportation accident were 1 in 47,718 in 2013, which is about 0.0021%  Simply looking at statistics, one is much more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than on the slopes.

However, that doesn’t minimize the tragedy in each of those 137 deaths.  There are inherent risks in any sport, and one tragedy is one too many.  Although some accidents are unavoidable, one can reduce the odds of a serious accident even further by skiing in control, wearing a helmet, being alert at all times, etc.

One could say that in making sure not to minimize those 137 deaths you neglected the the tragedy of the 47K you cited in comparison.

 it’s a dangerous and probably stupid thing to do (skiing, not statistical comparison) if it was safe it would be as dull as speed walking and we would not do it; and as you and others have pointed out it remains safer and a lot funner than the morning commute.  That said, stories like the Colonels of being unnecessarily injured by another person bother me a lot, that to me is not part of the acceptable risk equation.

2 months ago

kemperski wrote:

 

 

 That said, stories like the Colonels of being unnecessarily injured by another person bother me a lot, that to me is not part of the acceptable risk equation.

and yet, I’d bet that all of us who spend time on snow have stories about close calls or being run into. That is not going to change, unfortunately, as lots of people just don’t care about anybdy except themselves.

 

I’ve been run into from behind 6 times over the last 25 years (and I REALLY try to make myself predictable to people behind me) - 3 of them could have been serious, but weren’t - that’s just the luck of the draw. I avoided two collisions that would have been disastrous only because I have great reaction time and edge control. You ski, you put yourself at risk. That is the unfortunate reality. The best one can do is to stay super vigilent, and stay away from particularly risky situations.

 

 

2 months ago

Bob, this may sound juvenile but it’s true that sometimes the answer is to ski faster.  When I am on a wide steep cruiser my hackles go up and I tend to go into GS mode.  When my sons were getting decent and they continued being hit or close to it by out of control skiers I finally changed my sermon from caution to speed, I told my oldest son one day, “look just ski as fast as you can, that way no one will take you out from behind”  another stellar moment in my long history of parenting.

 

The best idea is to ski in the trees where the dangers are dire but immobile.

2 months ago

kemperski wrote:

Bob, this may sound juvenile but it’s true that sometimes the answer is to ski faster.   

 

I agree with you, and I am not normally a slow skier. My typical cruiser speed, when condtions allow, is between 35 and 50 mph. The problem is that you can’t ski fast all the time and everywhere: slow ski zones, people in front of you, etc. 5 of the 6 times I was run into were in those situations. Both of the serious crashes that I avoided were in those situations. Heck one of them happened when I was less than 50 feet from a lift line.

I mostly ski Vail owned properties. Vail is notorous for putting it’s “yellow jackets” on the mountain. Those people are instructed to “pull over” fast skiers. I’ve been pulled over for going too fast - even when there wasn’t a soul in front of me, and the only person at risk for speed was me.

 

2 months ago

I just ski bumps and pow.  Groomed slopes are dangerous! 

Snow reason not to share.
If you'd like to share your own comments, please log in to DCSki.
Don't have a profile? Create one here.
Page load time: 0.18 seconds