Winter sports are a huge draw in the cold regions of North America. Every year, however, winter sport accidents cause the death of over 40 people on the slopes and injure thousands more. The 2011/2012 winter season saw 54 skier/snowboarder fatalities out of 51 million participants but the average annual fatality rate is 41.5. The rate of snow winter sport injuries is 2 to 3 per 1,000 participants, much higher than for other sports.

The most typical winter sport accidents cause injuries to the knees, head, shoulders, wrists, and lower legs. The International Ski Foundation has recommended the use of helmets on ski slopes since 2006, but their use remains voluntary. Thankfully, voluntary helmet usage continues to increase with over 73 percent of skiers and snowboarders wearing a helmet in 2013. Some travel insurance companies require the insured to wear helmets in order to pay out on winter sport accidents.

Winter Sport Accidents

Downhill Skiing is one of the most popular winter sports around the world but people should know that it comes with a high risk of injury. Children experience more injuries than adults as they endure more ski-related fractures to the legs. Spiral fractures to the tibia are very common with 58 percent of injuries caused by a collision into a stationary object such as a tree or rock.

Downhill skiing is responsible for between 20 and 30 American deaths each year from massive neck or head injury and/or major thoraco-abdominal injury. The major factor contributing to accidents is excessive speed and subsequent loss of control. Less than 1 percent of injured skiers are found to be wearing helmets.

Snowboarding is the fastest growing winter sport in the United States; it is very popular with teenagers and young adults. Since snowboarders do not use ski poles for balance, they use their hands and arms instead and often end up with injuries to the arms, shoulders, and ankles.
Snowboarding is responsible for about 20 percent of winter slope deaths annually, translating to 8-12 deaths per year. Males have a much higher number of deaths than females likely because they tend to take more risks with jumps and tricks.

Snowmobiles are heavy off-road machines that can reach speeds of 90 mph. Every year, snowmobiles are responsible for more than 200 deaths, almost 14,000 accidents, and 10,000 visits to the emergency room. Despite age limit restrictions in all states, children younger than 17 years endure 12 percent of all snowmobile injuries, about 70 per year. Common causes of snowmobile accidents include losing control of the machine, rollover, hitting a stationary object, and crashing into another snowmobile. Head trauma was associated with three snowmobiling deaths in 2011 and is the leading cause of death among snowmobilers.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!