According to the National Ski Areas Association, 48 fatal skiing incidents occurred at North American ski resorts during the 2020-21 ski season. According to other studies and research, there are an average of 20-40 ski-related deaths every year.
I’m a lifelong skier who gets out in the snow as much as possible. I’ve researched how many people die skiing, and I also like to keep myself informed of this information.
This post will take a look at how many people die skiing. I’ll give you some statistics related to this question and also provide a few safety tips to help you from becoming one of them.
Let’s get started.
The Dangers of Skiing
Skiing is a dangerous activity. Any time you combine high speeds with natural obstacles such as rocks and trees, the potential for injury and death is possible. People die every year on the ski slopes, and that’s a harsh reality of the sport.
Still, you can make things much safer by skiing in control at all times and wearing a helmet. Most accidents occur because of skier error. Skiing out of control or without proper safety equipment is a recipe for disaster.
How Many People Die Skiing?
The latest safety report by the National Ski Areas Association states that there were 48 fatalities on North American ski slopes during the 2020-21 ski season. Most of these deaths were caused by skiers running into an obstacle at higher speeds.
The majority of ski-related deaths (93%) were male skiers skiing on terrain listed as more difficult at the time of the accident. Of these skier deaths, 79% of them were wearing helmets but still died due to their injuries.
Looking at other reports and studies over the years, we can gain some insight into the average number of skier deaths each year. One study from 1999 shows that there were 149 skier fatalities in Colorado over a 20 year period.
Considering this study and averaging other states, there seems to be an average of 20-40 ski-related deaths every ski season.
Unfortunately, there aren’t as many reliable statistics for worldwide skier deaths as for North America. I would expect the average number of deaths worldwide to be about double the North American figures for around 80-100 ski deaths/year.
How Do People Die Skiing?
The most common cause of death from skiing is a traumatic brain injury. This usually occurs when a skier hits their head on an obstacle at high speeds. Even when wearing a helmet, severe blows to the head can be deadly.
And most of the brain injuries that occur on the ski slopes result from skiers skiing out of control. If you go too fast and lose your edging, you can spin and slide uncontrolled into any number of obstacles that might be in your way.
Some people have died due to mechanical failure of a ski lift or other random accidents on the slopes. These incidents are extremely rare, and you are much more likely to get severely hurt skiing than riding a chair lift.
The two most important safety considerations when skiing are to always ski in control and to wear a helmet.
When you ski in control, you can react better to any obstacle that gets in your way while also reducing the risk of an uncontrolled fall. Skiing within your limits and knowing when to dial things back are essential for every skier to practice on the slopes.
Wearing a helmet is an easy safety consideration that everyone should do. While there aren’t rules or regulations that require you to wear one, a helmet is considered essential by nearly every skier you talk to these days.
Even though a number of people die every year on the ski slopes, it’s still technically more dangerous to drive in your car. Still, you want to be as safe as possible so you can ski until you are old and gray.
Dying on a ski slope might not be likely, but it is possible. Realizing that your life is at risk can help you become a safer skier. And the slopes are safer for everyone when we all commit to safer skiing habits.