One In Four Brits Suffer Injuries On Skiing Holidays

Colliding with skiers and going too fast are most common types of accident

31.01.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

With thousands of Brits ready to hit the slopes during February half term new research published today shows that 23% of skiers from the UK suffer injuries abroad.

The survey, conducted by national law firm Irwin Mitchell, has revealed that 92% of people who suffer injuries are unable to ski for the rest of their holiday with more than a third of them ending up in hospital or having to fly home.

With the skiing season in full swing Irwin Mitchell has launched its Safety on the Slopes campaign to reinforce the importance of preparing properly before you go and behaving sensibly and safely when you get there.

The firm are also urging travellers to have the appropriate insurance cover for a winter sports trip.

The 2016 survey sought the opinion of 3812 skiers and found that 40% of those who have been injured have suffered accidents on more than one trip.

Over half (53%) of the injuries actually take place away from the ski slope itself with 25% of the accidents involving a ski lift.

24% of British holidaymakers admitted that going too fast on the slopes was the reason for their injury with a fifth attributing it to a collision with another skier or boarder.

When Brits did get an injury the impact on their trip was very significant with many not being able to ski for the rest of their holiday, while 31% had to fly home and almost 30% had to spend time in hospital. 

Nearly one in four skiers injured on the slopes (23%) ended up with a broken bone or fracture and over a third (34%) of accidents resulted in serious sprains.

Expert Opinion
“Skiing is a hugely enjoyable sport but the risks are real and our survey suggests that a high number of people are suffering serious injuries abroad, ruining their holidays and potentially having to deal with long term consequences.

“Every year during the ski season we help clients who have suffered serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries. We provide them with legal advice and support them through their rehabilitation and recovery.

“Ski resorts have a responsibility to provide safe conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Sadly we’ve seen what can happen if this is not the case, which is why it’s important that everyone plays their part in avoiding winter sport injuries.

“Our Safety on the Slopes campaign aims to raise awareness of the serious nature of these injuries and the impact they can have on people’s lives in the hope of reducing the risk of these happening.

“If you are going skiing this season then stay safe, stick to the suggested courses appropriate for your skill level and don’t try anything you’re not comfortable with.

“The results this year show a 7% increase in skiing accidents compared to the survey Irwin Mitchell ran in 2015. The equipment may have improved over the years but the dangers clearly still exist.”
Clive Garner, Partner

Irwin Mitchell has produced an interactive Safety on the Slopes website which helps skiers prepare for their holidays on the slopes, especially those who are going away for the first time.  

Specialist travel lawyer Demetrius Danas believes the survey highlights the risk a number of novices are taking by not preparing properly for their first skiing trip.

Expert Opinion
“It is concerning to see that over 15% of skiers were honest enough to admit that a lack of experience, practice or training caused their accident to happen. It’s important to remember that going onto the slopes underprepared not only puts you at risk of injury but others on the slopes around you.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen skiers who have gone to the slopes for the first and last time because they simply weren’t ready for the terrain and suffered a serious injury as a result.

“We are urging first time skiers to go through professional training in the UK before their trip and spend time practicing for the real thing. If you are worried or concerned when you get abroad then speak to skiing instructors, make sure you go out with a partner and only ski when and if you feel comfortable.”
Demetrius Danas, Partner

The Safety on the Slopes interactive website is available here.