Skiing is a popular winter sport that many people enjoy. However, skiing is risky and may be dangerous for beginners to participate. Several safety tips should be followed for anyone participating in this sport.
Let’s dig into the post to learn more about keeping yourself safe while enjoying your time on the white snow slopes.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON DANGERS?
Skiing is often associated with risky behavior such as excessive drinking and drug abuse. Although these behaviors do not necessarily cause accidents directly, they can contribute to other contributory factors such as the skier’s tiredness and lack of attention.
Though skiing is a relatively safe sport, it still poses some risk of injury. The most common dangers of recreational skiing are collisions and damage caused by falls.
According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), 44 fatalities out of about 53 million skier visits nationwide during the 2017-18 season. Most deaths resulted from trauma sustained in falls or collisions, which accounted for around 80 percent of all injuries.
Head injuries are also a concern, even if they’re not fatal. These types of injuries can be severe and may have long-term consequences. In the U.S., about 20 percent of skiing-related head injuries result in permanent disability or death.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF SKIING ACCIDENTS?
Getting Hit by Other Skiers
Ski collisions are among the most common skiing injuries, especially for beginners. You’ll most likely be going to ski slowly compared to more experienced skiers when you’re starting, and they may not have time to avoid running into you.
Being affected by other people isn’t unique to skiing, though; it happens in other sports. If you join a recreational soccer league as an adult, some of the players are bound to have more experience than others, and they’ll be able to move around the field more quickly.
The weather on the mountain is notoriously changeable. One minute it might be sunny and bright; the next, it could be snowing heavily. When it snows at a high altitude, visibility can be impaired, making it difficult to see the path ahead or other skiers on the slope.
It is also important to remember that many ski resorts rely on artificial snow for their slopes which means temperatures usually are much lower than you would expect at ground level. Skiers must dress appropriately for these low temperatures to prevent hypothermia or frostbite.
Falling is another common danger that can lead to severe injuries. It may be hard to control your speed and direction on the slopes when you’re new to skiing. You might fall often or lose your balance when trying to stop or turn around.
Not having the right equipment
Well-maintained ski equipment suited for your skill level can reduce the risk of injury on the slopes. Your kit should fit you properly and be in good condition, with bindings that release correctly.
Not taking skiing lessons
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to take a lesson. A professional instructor can teach you how to ski safely and explain the basic rules of the slopes.
Not knowing the rules of the slopes. The National Ski Areas Association sets safety guidelines for all resorts in the U.S. These safety guidelines are called “Your Responsibility Code.” As a skier or snowboarder, you’re responsible for familiarizing yourself with this code before hitting the slopes.
HOW MANY DIES OR SUFFER CATASTROPHIC ACCIDENTS FROM SKIING?
Skiing is dangerous for beginners. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 100,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for skiing injuries in 2014. The majority of these injuries were to the head.
But it’s hard to assess how dangerous skiing is. For example, snow sports are lumped together, so it’s impossible to say how many of those 100,000 injuries were sustained by skiers versus snowboarders. Also, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s data doesn’t differentiate between beginner and expert skiers. And while catastrophic accidents do occur, they’re rare — there were just 24 fatal accidents out of 54 million days of skiing in 2012-13, according to a study from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).
In 2012-2013, the NSAA found that the risk of injury per 1 million skier/snowboarder visits was 23.8. The risk of a ski death per 1 million skier/snowboarder visits was 0.44 — or about 1 in 2 million holidays.
WHO’S MOST LIKELY TO GET INJURED?
The answer is simple: beginners and children. This makes sense since they’re the least experienced ones and have less control over their movements. A third of all skiing injuries happen to nine or younger people.
Roughly half of all ski accidents occur during falls, so learning how to fall correctly without hurting yourself. Specific techniques can keep you safe. For example, if you fall forward, try to roll onto your back with your arms outstretched – not your head!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT GETTING INJURED ON YOUR NEXT SKI TRIP?
Skiing isn’t the most dangerous sport, but injuries still happen. And while there’s nothing you can do to guarantee you’ll never get hurt ultimately; you can take steps to decrease your risk.
Ski helmets are a simple and effective way to protect yourself against head injuries. The National Ski Areas Association reported that in 2016-17, 50 percent of skiers and snowboarders wore helmets. When asked why they didn’t wear a helmet, 23 percent of respondents said they felt “safer than in past years,” and 21 percent said they didn’t feel like they needed them. But the NSAA reports that helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by approximately half.
It would be best if you also took it easy on your first trip out on the slopes. Even if you’re an experienced snowboarder or water skier, you’ll need to adjust to skiing’s unique techniques and challenges. Warm-up with some gentle runs before tackling more challenging terrain, and build up your strength and skill before trying jumps or racing down intimidating mountainsides.
In addition, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration leads to fatigue and may increase your chances of making mistakes or falling.
Ultimately, the answer to whether or not skiing is safe for beginners depends on many factors—who the skier is, where they’re skiing, and their level of experience. But if you follow proper precautions and don’t push beyond your skill level, you are very unlikely to get seriously injured in a skiing accident. Enjoy your new hobby!