Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is skiing and snowboarding safe?

During the last 10 years, about 41.5 people have died skiing/snowboarding per year on average. Serious injuries occur at the rate of 44.7 per year on average.
During the 2010/11 season, there were 47 reported fatalities out of 60.5 million skier/snowboarder days. For the same season there were 60 reported serious injuries.

During the 2011/12 season, there were 54 reported fatalities out of 51 million skier/snowboarder days. There were 51 serious injuries for 2011/12.
The statistics are broken down by gender and if a helmet was worn. Of the 54 fatalities in 2011/12, 39 were skiers (33 male, 6 female) and 12 fatalities were snowboarders (10 male, 2 female). 36 were reported wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. In 2010/11, 31 of the 47 fatalities were skiers (24 male, 7 female) and 16 were snowboarders (14 male, 2 female). Helmets were worn by 21 of the 47 fatalities.
For the 51 serious injuries in 2011/12, 38 were skiers (30 male, 8 female) and 10 were snowboarders, (9 male, 1 female). Among the serious injuries, 30 of those involved were wearing helmets. In the 2010/11 season, 36 of the 60 with serious injuries were skiers (28 male, 1 female) and 24 were snowboarders (23 male, 1 female). Among the serious injuries, 30 were wearing helmets.
Who is getting killed or seriously injured?
85% of those killed or seriously injured are male. 70% of those males are between their late teens and late 30’s.  Less than 10% of fatally injured skiers/snowboarders are under 10 or over 50 years of age.
Most of those fatally injured are above-average skiers/snowboarders who are going at high rates of speed on the margins of intermediate trails. Most ski/snowboard fatalities involve hitting fixed objects like trees. Collisions between skiers or snowboarders that involve death or serious injury are rare. Only 6.4% involve person to person collisions.
So how do you ski/snowboard more safely?
Slow down when passing fixed objects and wear a helmet. Helmets reduce serious head injury from 30 to 50%.
The National Ski Areas Association says skiing and snowboarding have an “excellent” safety record. Compare skiing and snowboarding with the following statistics from 2009.
·         35,900 Americans died in car accidents.
·         5,300 pedestrians were killed.
·         8,600 died from unintentional public falls.
·         4,500 died from unintentional public poisoning.
·         2,400 people drowned while swimming in public areas.
·         800 died while bicycle riding.
Statistics and studies are provided by the National Ski Areas Association.


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