Whether freestyle skiing, downhill skiing, or going extreme on the snowboard half-pipe, safety precautions are necessary. Even the most diligent, careful, and experienced winter sports enthusiast can suffer injury at the hands of another person or a negligent facility.
Skiing injuries and snowboarding injuries can range from mild to life-threatening. Some injuries can even be fatal. The most common side effects of skiing and snowboarding are leg fractures, knee injuries, wrist fractures, whiplash, and joint sprains. The most serious accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries, brain bleeds, spinal cord injuries, and even comas and cardiac arrest. All head and neck injuries that occur while skiing or snowboarding should be taken seriously, even if they seem mild. Confusion, headaches, and dizziness might seem insignificant but these can be symptoms of a life-threatening head injury.
There are any number of causes behind a skiing accident. The most common culprits are the neglect and failure of equipment (rented or owned), skier collisions (with other skiers or even trees), poor ski area maintenance, and ski lift accidents. Inactive snow combing or grooming as well as improper management of a facility can also lead to skiing accidents.
It’s difficult to place blame on a ski facility when factors like inebriation, inexperience, loose bindings, lack of safety gear, and distraction are involved. However, when the conditions of a skiing area are lacking, even the highest-quality equipment and years of skiing experience can’t compensate for hazardous slopes.
Snowboarding offers a world of recreation in one piece of equipment – part surfboard, part sled, part ski, part skateboard. It’s an extreme sport that appeals to daredevils and risk-takers. Ski resorts must concern themselves with safety, legal responsibility, and potential personal injury claims when opening their hills to freeriding and racing snowboarders.
The freestyle nature of this sport has many enthusiasts instead opting to learn as they go. This leaves plenty of room for error surrounding the board, bindings, and foot strap, as well as poor decisions about going off-trail or attempting tricks beyond a person’s level of expertise. Collisions with other snowboarders are also common. Each snowboarder is responsible for outfitting themselves with the proper cold-weather gear, boots, goggles, and, most importantly, a helmet. These essential safety elements also fall under the responsibility of a ski facility that caters to snowboarders.
Michigan winters are long, and extreme winter sports are common. The safety requirements in this state for skiing, however, are minimal. Michigan’s “Ski Area Safety Act of 1962” is the oldest ski safety act in the United States, but it also includes the weakest mandates for skier safety. This does not mean that certain safety requirements should not be demanded and expected of a facility or even a ski instructor. The cause and effect of an accident on the slopes will always be taken into account to assess fault and claim potential.