SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

Death in Downhill Skiing from 1976 Through 1992—A Retrospective View


This study indicates that death in downhill skiing is disproportionately dominated by males (83% males versus only 63% males in the population at risk). Fatally injured skiers are older than the general skiing public, who in turn are older than the typically injured skier. The typical fatal accident scenario involves an experienced male running into a tree off the edge of an intermediate skill level slope at a high rate of speed, resulting in massive head or neck injury, or both, leading to death. The demographic (age and gender) pattern of fatally injured skiers is very similar to automobile and occupational trauma related death. The rate of fatal injury to downhill skiers is 0.55 deaths per million skier visits, and has not significantly changed over the past ten ski seasons. When the death rate is expressed in terms of fatalities per million hours of exposure, skiing is about seven times safer than travel by automobile or commercial aircraft.

Author Information

Shealy, JE
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
Thomas, T
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
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Developed by Committee: F27
Pages: 66–72
DOI: 10.1520/STP37915S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5560-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0429-7