Common Skiing Accidents

Lisa Marie Mercer
ski accident

If she was on the slopes, the woman featured in the photo would be susceptible to a number of serious skiing accidents. Although the photo seems to be a caricature of the worst possible skiing alignment, unfortunately, this type of posture is often seen in novice skiers who have chosen not to take ski lessons.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

This skier will be likely to suffer from skiing accidents because:

  • She has an improper stance: Although shaped skis use a slightly wider stance then straight skis, a stance this wide can cause the skier to "catch an edge." Catching an edge is one of the most common skiing accidents. It occurs when one ski gets caught in the snow, while the other one keeps moving. As a result, either the stable or unstable leg will experience torquing, which can result in a twisting fall.
  • Her jacket is unzipped: If she was on the chairlift, there is a possibility that her jacket would get caught as she got off the lift. Additionally, loose clothing can impede ski technique.
  • She is leaning too far back: Although the photo may be an exaggeration many skiers, especially women, tend to lean back on their skis. This can cause a backwards fall, which can cause severe knee damage.
  • She is not wearing a ski helmet: If she collided into a tree without a helmet, she might experience a serious head injury.
  • She is not looking down the fall line: If this skier was on the slopes, she would be looking sideways, which means that she would not be watching for skiers that crossed in front of her.

Common Skiing Accidents

A skiing accident can ruin a ski vacation and destroy the enthusiasm that one has for the sport. Here are some of the most common skiing accidents.

Skiing Collisions

According to the Skier Responsibility Code, the skiers and snowboarders ahead of you have the right of way, and avoiding them is your responsibility. However, the code also says that you must not stop where you can obstruct a trail, and that prior to merging or starting on a trail, you should look uphill and yield to others. Ignoring any of these rules can lead to skier to skier or skier to snowboarder collisions. You can also collide with a tree or a lift pole. These type of collisions can cause brain injuries, which is why helmet use is crucial to ski safety.

Falling

In most cases, if the skier is in correct alignment, a fall should not cause any type of serious injury. However, in the event of a twisting or a backward fall, serious damage can be caused to either the medial part of the knee, or the anterior cruciate ligament, otherwise known as the ACL. According to Vermont Ski Safety, there are a number of factors that will increase susceptibility to an ACL injury. These include:

  • Fully straightening your legs or locking your knees when you fall
  • Attempting to get up when your skis are still moving after a fall
  • Keeping your uphill arm behind your body

In some situations, attempting to stop the fall is more dangerous than allowing it to happen. Allowing your body to relax into the fall will reduce the severity of the situation.

Avalanches

Getting buried in an avalanche is the ultimate ski accident. Fortunately, this rarely happens to recreational skiers provided that they stay within the ropes and do not venture into the backcountry without a guide.

Avoiding Ski Accidents

While these accidents may sound frightening, they are easy to avoid.

  • Improve your technique by taking ski lessons from a certified ski instructor.
  • Ski within your ability level.
  • Check your equipment. Always have your bindings adjusted by a professional.
  • Choose the correct DIN setting for your height, weight and ability
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Common Skiing Accidents