2023 Ski Injury Statistics
Skiing can pose risks of mild to severe injuries, including sprains, fractures, and head injuries. Factors such as skill level, terrain difficulty, and adherence to safety guidelines contribute to the likelihood of injuries. Here is an overview of 2023 ski injury statistics.
Overall Ski Injury Rates
Every year, approximately 600,000 people in the U.S. experience skiing-related injuries. As a result, there are approximately 2 to 3 injuries per 1,000 skier days. Snowboarders face an even higher injury rate of 30%.
Specific Injury Types
Some of the most common ski-related injuries include:
- Knee Injuries: Knee injuries are the most common, accounting for 30-40% of all ski accident-related injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. The twisting motions and sudden stops associated with skiing can put stress on the knee ligaments.
- Head Injuries: Up to 20% of injuries involve head trauma or concussion. These often occur when a skier falls and hits their head on the snow or a hard surface.
- Shoulder Injuries: Falls or collisions can lead to shoulder injuries, including dislocations or fractures.
- Fractures: Fractures, particularly of the wrist, collarbone, or leg, commonly due to the impact of hitting the snow or other skiers.
- Back Injuries: Falls or collisions can cause back injuries, ranging from muscle strains to more severe injuries affecting the spine.
- Ankle Injuries: Twisting motions or awkward landings can lead to ankle injuries, including sprains or fractures.
Fatalities among skiers and snowboarders were steadily increasing but did drop between 2022 and 2023, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).
|Skier Days (in millions)
|Rate (per million)
|46 (37 skiers)
Helmet use significantly reduces the risk of head injuries in skiing by 22-60%. Fortunately, the majority of skiers and snowboarders (88%) did wear helmets between 2022 and 2023. Of the 46 fatalities that occurred, only six people were not wearing helmets at the time.
Most Common Causes of Ski-Related Injuries
Ski-related injuries often stem from various factors, but the terrain stands out as a heightened risk area. Of the fatal accidents in 2022-23, 19 occurred on the most difficult (“intermediate”) terrain and one on freestyle terrain (“terrain park”). There is an increased risk of an accident due to the following:
Terrain parks are designed with various features such as jumps, rails, and ramps that, while exciting, can be challenging for skiers. Navigating these features requires advanced skills, and attempting them without the necessary experience increases the risk of accidents.
The condition of the terrain and factors like weather conditions, temperature, and usage can impact the consistency of jumps and landings.
Potential for Collisions
Terrain parks attract skiers of varying skill levels, and the close proximity of features increases the potential for collisions. Skiers may unintentionally cross paths or misjudge distances, leading to accidents.
Lack of Protective Gear
In the event of a fall or collision, a lack of protective gear, such as helmets and padding, can result in more severe injuries.
Most injuries result from self-inflicted falls rather than collisions, emphasizing the importance of technique.
Ski Injury Demographics
Nearly 95 percent of the fatalities in 2021-2022 were men, and the majority of fatal accidents took place on “intermediate” or “more difficult” terrain — routes marked with a blue square, the NSAA reported.
Children under 12 are at a much higher risk of injury compared to adults. Since they are still developing their judgment and decision-making skills, they may struggle to assess risks accurately or make quick decisions in dynamic skiing environments.
In addition, children’s bones have growth plates that are still developing. As a result, they are more prone to broken bones, particularly in the legs.
Although helmets are not required by law, they provide essential protection against head injuries, reducing the risk of concussions and trauma in the event of a fall or collision.
Who is Responsible for a Ski Accident?
Determining responsibility for a ski accident involves various factors, and it often depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. In general, skiers are expected to follow established codes of conduct and safety guidelines while on the slopes.
Resorts may have specific rules and regulations that skiers are obligated to adhere to, contributing to a safe skiing environment. However, responsibility can also extend to other parties, including ski resort operators, instructors, or even fellow skiers.
Negligence, failure to follow safety protocols, or inadequate supervision can lead to accidents for which these parties may be held accountable. Ultimately, a thorough investigation is crucial to determine whether another party or parties are responsible for a ski accident.
Potentially Liable Parties
Several parties can potentially be held liable for a ski accident, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. These may include:
- Ski Resort Operators: Ski resorts have a duty to maintain safe conditions on their premises. If a resort fails to properly maintain slopes, mark hazards, or provide adequate warnings, they may be liable for an accident.
- Ski Instructors: Instructors have a duty to provide proper guidance and ensure the safety of those under their supervision. If an instructor’s negligence or inadequate supervision contributes to an accident, they may be responsible.
- Equipment Manufacturers: Defective ski equipment, such as faulty bindings or malfunctioning gear, can lead to accidents. In such cases, the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
- Other Skiers: Collisions between skiers can occur, and the skier at fault may be held responsible. Determining fault in such cases often involves assessing factors like speed, awareness, and adherence to skiing etiquette.
- Third Parties: Entities or individuals not directly involved in the ski accident, such as maintenance contractors or event organizers, may be liable if their actions or negligence contributed to it.
- Terrain Park Operators: Those responsible for designing and maintaining terrain parks must ensure they meet safety standards. If a poorly designed feature or lack of proper maintenance leads to an accident, the terrain park operator may be liable.
How an Attorney Can Help
An experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can conduct thorough investigations into the circumstances of the accident. This may involve reviewing witness statements, examining the ski resort’s safety measures, and assessing the actions of other involved parties.
A lawyer can help you gather evidence such as photographs, videos, accident reports, and medical records to build a strong case.
This evidence is crucial in establishing the cause of the accident and the responsible party. Your lawyer may also consult and hire expert witnesses, such as ski safety experts or medical professionals, who can provide testimony to support your claim.
Their expertise can strengthen your case by providing insights into industry standards and the severity of injuries.
If the responsible party has insurance coverage, your attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
They have experience dealing with insurers and can work to secure fair compensation for your injuries and damages. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will be prepared to take your case to court.