Martin Burtscher is Professor at the Department of Sport Science, Medical Section, at the University of Innsbruck, Austria
Gerhard Ruedl is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sport Science at the University of Innsbruck, Austria
Daily news reports on skiing injuries during the winter season may convey the impression of downhill skiing as being a most dangerous activity. In fact, these reports have to be interpreted in the light of the very large participation rates. Worldwide, there are more than 2,000 downhill ski areas spread across 80 countries with an estimated 400 million skier days annually.
Assuming a death rate of 1 per 1 million skier days and an injury rate of 1-2 per 1,000 skier days a total of 400 fatalities and 400,000 to 800,000 injured skiers would result. That may be enough to fill newspapers daily but they actually represent a relatively low death and injury risk.
Put another way, for the individual who skis for 20 days per winter season on average ...continue reading