Slope Safety for Skiers and Snowboarders

Posted on February 9, 2017

Skiing and snowboarding are some of Utah’s most cherished recreational activities. But they can also be dangerous. Skiing and snowboarding accidents happen all the time, it’s just a part of the game. Sometimes, those accidents can cause injuries that are not your fault. In these cases, you may be entitled to some compensation. Handy & Handy Law, in Salt Lake City, knows just how to help you.

Skiing and snowboarding accidents are responsible for about 600,000 minor injuries per year. This includes broken bones, sprains, and mild concussions. For skiing, the most common is knee injuries, and for snowboarding it is wrist and ankle injuries. However, one in six of these injuries are head injuries. Winter sports- like skiing and snowboarding- are the 10th leading cause for emergency room visits.

Although minor injuries are much more common, skiing and snowboarding accidents account for an average of 44.7 serious injuries per year. This includes serious head injuries, brain damage, and paralysis. There is also an average of 41.5 deaths per year due to skiing and snowboarding accidents. But this past season, there were actually 54 deaths. Even though the use of helmets in winter sports has greatly increased in recent years, this has not reduced the number of fatalities. This is because helmets are meant to protect you around 12 mph and often times skiers and snowboarders are going 25-40 mph when they are in a fatal accident.

If you have sustained an injury from one of these accidents, there are some steps you can take. First, you have to prove liability for this injury. Sometimes the fault is with the ski resort, sometimes it is with another skier or snowboarder, and sometimes the accident is completely your own fault. But if the blame lies with the resort or another skier/snowboarder, you may be able to receive compensation for your injury.

In the case of other skiers and snowboarders, proving liability may be a bit more difficult. However, these recreationists are required to follow a Skier Responsibility Code. This includes staying in control, not obstructing trails, and using proper equipment. The full code can be found here. The best way to prove another skier/snowboarder’s liability is to prove they violated the responsibility code in some way or another. It is important to try and take pictures and get witness statements of the accident so that there is evidence. It’s also helpful to have the ski patrol provide a written report of the accident.

If you think you are not responsible for an injury you sustained while skiing or snowboarding, give Handy & Handy Law, located in Salt Lake City, a call. We’ll help you determine what kind of compensation you are entitled to.