A five-year study of mortality in a busy ski population

J Forensic Sci. 1977 Jan;22(1):222-30.


A 5-year study of a busy ski population in Utah revealed a total at-risk period of approximately 3.5 million skier-days. While the morbidity (fractures, strains, sprains, and occasionally more severe injuries) associated with skiing is well recognized and considered by most physicians concerned to be distributed somewhat unevenly within the various skills of skiing, the authors have identified an exceedingly low mortality among the same population. Six individuals died as a result of injuries directly attributable to skiing. Three of these were considered to be advanced skiers and three were of intermediate skill. In three instances the environment was considered to play a role in the accident. Two of these victims were skiing out of control, one as a result of ice-covered snow and one as a result of speed in combination with a small jump. The third victim was crushed in an avalanche. One accident was completely unexplained, the skier having skied without apparent attempt at checking or change of course into a nonrecreational area. The two remaining skiers of intermediate skill both suffered injuries incident to falling forward with considerable force onto a relatively flat, hard snow surface. Notwithstanding the intense and sometimes prolonged exertion at relatively high altitudes (9,400 to 11,000 ft or 2.9 to 3.3 km), only one skier with a previous history of atherosclerotic heart disease died while skiing. One additional middle-aged skier with similar history died at the conclusion of the day.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Skiing*
  • Utah