Table of contents
- Skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing accident stats
- Injured because of someone else
- Life-changing winter sports accidents:
Skiing accident safety guide
The skiing season is nearly upon us in Ontario. That means almost 2 million people will hit the slopes to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or tobogganing, according to the Ministry of the Solicitor General of Ontario. In doing so, there will be an estimated 5 million runs down the slopes.
Falling and small accidents are part and parcel of winter sports. Most are sufficiently harmless that they can be laughed off, but some can change lives. Winter sports injury statistics are hard to come by, but the available figures (1991-2012) make for startling reading:
- An average of 3 people die every year on the slopes (2007-2012)
- There is a rising trend in the number of fatal accidents
- There have been deaths every year – with the exception of 1994, 1995 and 2001
Those figures pertain solely to Ontario. Today, winter sports attract a growing number of enthusiasts across Canada.
More than 5,000 ski accidents annually
The Canadian Institute for Health Information reported over 5,000 ski accidents in 2011-2012. That means over 5,000 people sustained serious injuries that required emergency room visits. Given those figures, it is not hard to imagine that people have suffered many thousands of additional minor injuries as a result of ski accidents.
Common life-changing winter sports accidents
Accidents sustained while skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing can be life-changing for those injured and their loved ones. High speed accidents and accidents in isolated areas are equally common. Continue reading to learn about downhill skiing, cross country skilling, snowboarding, and tobogganing accidents that have changed lives.
There were 1,790 skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing accident hospitalisations in 2016-17 in Canada.
Considering a personal injury lawsuit for your winter sports injury?
In most personal injury lawsuits the victim is required to show fault, negligence and liability of another. This can mean:
- The snow park or resort not being maintained adequately
- Failure to maintain a safe environment for skiers, snowboarders, and those tobogganing
- Insufficient accident response and medical facilities
- Other deficiencies that caused/exacerbated injuries
Negligent and reckless behaviour that caused your injuries is not limited to the ski resort. The actions of other skiers can make them liable too. Even ski instructors sending beginner skiers down difficult slopes can be liable for negligent instruction.
Skiing insurance, yours and the ski resort’s, should cover a wide variety of accidents. Speak to a skiing accident injury lawyer at Pace Law Firm immediately if you or a loved one has been injured on the slopes. We’ll help you get compensation for treatment after the accident. Our lawyers will help you obtain the pain and suffering compensation you are owed, as well as securing long term rehabilitation support.
High speed collision with trees, fences and ski lift accidents
High speed skiing accidents are the most common; collisions with trees, fences, and ski lifts can cause debilitating injuries. Some skiers are fortunate enough that their injuries are limited to soreness and bruising; others, who sustain serious injuries, require months of rehabilitation and hospital care. Fractures and dislocated bones are common. Spinal injuries, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries are also a reality. Steep slopes are especially dangerous, as skiers have less control and are at much greater risk of falling or being the victim of a collision.
Fatal and life-changing head injuries almost all have one common feature: no helmets! Wearing a helmet can dramatically improve the chances of surviving a traumatic brain injury, as well as diminishing its severity. Skiers running into trees or having a ski lift accident are, unfortunately, common. Sometimes it is the fault of the skier; at other times, improperly maintained slopes and unsafe chair lift operation can also pose severe risk.
There are also instances of cross country head injuries. People falling into large ruts can hit their heads on boulders and trees, causing severe injuries.
Falling into ditch or rut
Ditches and concealed ruts pose a real danger for anyone skiing or snowboarding. Natural ditches can form towards the edges of the ski slopes. However, there have been instances of ski parks performing maintenance that result in skiers falling into ditches. In such cases, severe injuries can result. The Ministry of the Solicitor General also provided a report of a woman being run over by snow moving equipment, suggesting negligent operation.
Cross country skiers can also suffer bodily injuries if they fall onto exposed objects, such as fences. In 2019, in an accident in Batawa, Ontario, fire fighters had to use the ‘jaws of life’ to cut a rebar that had deeply pierced a man’s leg.
Chair lift accident
Unsafe placement of ski lift and chair lift equipment can put skiers and snowboarders in danger. In addition, improperly maintained equipment can also lead to terrifying accidents. Chair lifts that have started to run in reverse have crushed skiers; sudden jerking movements of the chair lift have caused people to be thrown off; and snapped ski lift cables have struck people.
A 19-year-old, who was tobogganing in tandem with a friend, suffered fatal head injuries after drinking alcohol. Being intoxicated while skiing or snowboarding significantly increases the risk of accidents, and doing so, without wearing a helmet, further increases the chances of sustaining a serious head injury.
Going on the slopes after a few drinks, and after operation hours is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Slower reaction times and poorer decision-making due to alcohol consumption can easily lead to such accidents. Further, there are no support personnel available after hours to provide immediate medical help.
Skiing accident safety guide
Whether you have suffered an accident or have seen someone injured, follow these steps to reduce severity of injuries and save lives. Remember, helmets and protective gear can greatly reduce the risk of brain and spinal injuries. Skiing insurance will also ensure you receive the best care possible, and are covered for long term physiotherapy and disability.
This skiing accident safety guide can save lives:
- Take deep breaths and let the shock wear off
- Control your sense of panic and remember help will come
- Secure the accident scene to prevent being injured by someone else coming at speed
- If you can, yell loudly to attract attention (you can also bang your ski or board to make noise)
- Take a course on CPR before hitting the slopes
- Immobilize the neck and keep the head and back as steady as possible
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury on the slopes, speak to our skiing accident lawyer in Ontario immediately.