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Snowboarding “less deadly” than skiing study finds

12 February


When I chose my gym membership I have to be honest making sure I joined a “cools deadly” than skiing ” club was one of the things I considered so I was delighted to read in the Guardian recently that my “cool” wintersport of choice, snowboarding, is actually less dangerous than skiing. See the article below from the Gurdian website but make sure you get fit enough before you go snpwboarding – it could save you a nasty injury.

Enmity on the slopes between skiers and snowboarders is long running, and has now been exacerbated by a study to find which sport is more dangerous.

Research for the National Ski Areas Association in the US claims to have settled the question: snowboarding has less risk of ending in serious injury.

Jasper Shealy, a professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology who has studied such injuries for 40 years, concluded that while snowboarders were between 50% to 70% more likely to get injured, they are also around a third less likely to be killed on the slopes than skiers. Most of the skiing deaths were “due to collisions with fixed objects, where somebody is going at a relatively high speed”, said Shealy, speaking as tour operators predicted that 2011 could be a bumper year after the heavy snowfall since November prompted European and North American resorts to open early – though they have seen a trend towards booking late for the best snow.

The lower injury count in skiing may be due to advances in safety releasing equipment; in the 1970s broken legs were common because skis would often not come off at the right time. Today, he said the injury is “almost non-existent”.

He added: “When a snowboard rider falls, the edge of the snowboard drags on the snow and acts like a brake. But that can also cause fractures.”

Spencer Claridge, who organises British ski and snowboard championships, said the fatalities were explained by the differences in the sports. “If you can walk you can ski, so it’s easy to get out of control and go careering into a tree at a rate of knots. Learning how to go fast on a snowboard takes longer.”

Mmm I have to say I doubt snowboarding is likely to be fatal on my trips as I never go that fast  and falling over and getting up is so exhausting. I remember lying down face up in the snow totally beaten when a voice from the ski car above shouted to see if they should call an ambulance. I will definately use my gym membership to beef up my leg and arm muscles before I go on my next snowboarding trip.


Andrew Kitching