Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Skiers should always keep safety in mind


As the winter weather continues to blanket Illinois, recreational enthusiasts are sure to grab their ski gear for an adrenaline filled good time. Nevertheless, skiers should always keep safety in mind since they can be prone to spinal injuries and other debilitating injuries and could even lose their lives if they let their guard down.

According to recent data compiled by the National Ski Areas Association, snowboarding and skiing deaths have not decreased even though helmet use has increased. In the past decade, an average number of 39.6 deaths was recorded yearly. Last year, 25 deaths were recorded compared with 46 the previous year. Although that number may seem small, there is a caveat-for one reason or another, some fatalities were not included.

Deaths from heart attacks while on the slope, avalanche casualties, fatalities in competitions and even deaths of ski resort employees who lose their lives while on the job were not included. This, of course, muddies an already unclear picture of ski safety.

For example, the recent case of the 35-year-old skier who, together with four snowboarders, lost his life in an avalanche in Colorado. Because the group skirted the area outside the normal ski area, their deaths are not part of the NSAA report. According to the risk and regulatory director of the NSAA, cases like this push the envelope and are not representative of the average skier.

Skier safety should never be compromised. Skiers who do their part to protect themselves from harm but still fall prey to injuries can seek the advice of a Chicago personal injury professional. A professional can help assess if the injury was caused by another person or was the result of the ski resort's negligence. If this is the case, the negligent person or the resort may be held liable. In case of a skier's death, family members of the victim can consult a professional on the victim's behalf.

Source: Sfgate.com, "Why some skiing deaths don't make official tally," Vernon Silver, Dec. 26, 2013

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