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Ski Lifts Accidents: An In-Depth Look at Causes and Prevention

by | May 14, 2024 | Premises Liability

You’re all looking forward to the winter season so you can go skiing in the high, snowy mountains. When winter comes, you enjoy the thrilling sport of skiing. Skiing is a popular recreational activity for many skiers.

Ski lifting is a component of many thrilling skiing experiences. One of the first significant accomplishments for any beginner skier is riding a ski lift. And it will always be an integral element of skiing for people who have been doing it for a long time.

During the winter, snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding are common wintertime pastimes. When you enjoy skiing, you never think of getting into ski lifts accidents. But each year, these activities also cause dozens of ski lift accident deaths and tens of thousands of injuries at ski resorts.

In winter, it’s very important to know the resort’s dangers from deep snow, cliffs, cornices, and other natural obstacles. Ensure your medical practice stays ahead of the curve and maintains the highest standards of patient care with our top-notch Medical Record Review Services.

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Are Ski Lifts Dangerous?

At most ski resorts, a ski lift serves as the main on-hill mode of transportation. Ski lifts are powered devices that carry people who are skiing or snowboarding up the mountainside, typically using a network of suspended cables and sitting platforms. The lifts can hold 1 to 8 people and are often open.

Do you think ski lifts are dangerous? If so, how dangerous are ski lifts?

Ski lifts may seem dangerous, but skilifts are generally enjoyable to ride and a terrific way to catch your breath and take in the scenery, so don’t be afraid of them. Are ski lifts safe? If skiing is new to you, observe experienced skiers, begin on lower, slower lifts, and go slowly.

Sadly, ski resorts can also be the scene of serious skiing accidents every year that result in fatalities or injuries to the brain and spine. Skiers collide with one another, ski lift malfunctions, and ski lifts accidents are frequent causes of accidents.

Ski Lift Accidents Statistics

How many skiing deaths per year? Forty-eight fatal skiing mishaps happened throughout the ski season of 2020–2021, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Other research and investigations have shown that 20 to 40 people die from skiing-related causes annually on average.

The National Ski Areas Association reported 57 fatal events during the 2021–2022 ski season, the majority of which were caused by skiers colliding with trees. 95 percent of the fatalities were male. During the same season, a total of 54 other “catastrophic” occurrences were documented.

How many ski lift deaths per year? For every 100 million miles journeyed on ski lifts, the yearly death rate stands at 0.145.

How safe are ski lifts? The vast majority of surface ski lifts, or those that merely push or pull you up the hill with your skis still on the ground, are safe. Despite not feeling as comfortable as a chairlift, lifts as platter lifts, rope tows, magic carpets, or T-bars keep you in constant contact with the ground. When you trip and fall, but since the ground is often soft snow and the distance is short, ski lift falling doesn’t hurt at all.

Ski lifts, however, can be just as harmful to kids as they are to adults. The risk of breaking a bone, breaking your neck, or even dying when falling from a chair is significant. Everyone should use safety bars, which we should lower and place each time we board a chairlift. Do ski lifts have safety bars? Yes. The safety bar on a lift functions similarly to a car’s seatbelt.

Are chairlifts dangerous? Children are actually slightly more at risk when using chairlifts because of their tendency to play, which increases the risk that they will slip or fall from the chair, particularly when the chairs are partially covered in snow.

What are the Causes of Ski Lifts Accidents?

Ski lifts accidents can happen for a number of reasons, and because of the heights involved, they frequently result in significant injuries. Ski lifts accidents can result in,

Improper loading: What happens if you fall off a ski lift? Children should not be boarded on an adult’s ride because they are prone to slipping and falling in windy conditions. According to one study, loading and unloading from ski lifts account for 8% of all ski and snowboard injuries.

Design flaw: Accidents may happen when the ski lifts are defectively designed or due to engineering flaws. Defective products are the cause of most chair lift accidents. If the ski lifts are designed improperly or flawed, it may lead to severe injuries.

Mechanical failure: This type of ski lift machine has some disadvantages. The often-failed system does its job of causing accidents. When ski lift failure happens, people will get injured.

Collision with pedestrians, skiers, or other parts: While skiing, the ski lift may collide with pedestrians or other structural parts.

Electrical problems: Ski lifts are operated by electricity. If an electrical problem occurs, there are high chances of fire.

Failed to warn about known risks: Some hazards are known to resort owners and operators. But they fail to inform passengers about the hazards. In that case, passengers get injured without knowing the dangers.

Absence of first aid: If you are injured while skiing, medical attention is needed. Injured victims should receive first aid. If first aid is not given in a timely manner, the person’s health may be severely affected.

Improper maintenance: If owners of ski resorts do not maintain their premises, of course, people will get injured. Ski lifts accidents frequently result from frayed cables that deteriorate over time. Many people could sustain serious injuries if one of these cables broke or snapped.

What happens after a ski accident? Broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are the most common ski accidents injuries. Due to the shock of being involved in such a terrible tragedy, victims may also experience emotional pain. LezDo TechMed can be helpful in identifying if these injuries are the result of ski lifts accidents.

What kind of injuries can I get from skiing?


Ski Lift Accident 2023

On March 7, 2023, a 37-year-old man, Kyle Mortensen crashed into a tree while skiing outside Brighton Ski Resort’s boundaries in the backcountry. The man died at Brighton Ski Resort, according to the Unified Police Department.

On January 5, 2023, a tree collapsed on the chairlift, killing a 29-year-old Utah man at the Park City ski resort where he worked. Helger, a ski patroller, was riding at the moment and unseated himself. According to senior manager of communications Sara Huey, he fell from a height of at least 25 feet. Helger was quickly attended to by the Park City Mountain Ski Patrol, who attempted to save his life; however, he did not survive.

On January 9, 2023, over the weekend, a man was killed in a skiing accident at a private resort in northern Utah. The man was injured while skiing at Wasatch Peaks Ranch on Sunday, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

According to reports, he was struck by a snow bank, propelled into the air, and then plunged back to the ground, where he died. Although the man’s name has not been made public, authorities stated that he was 38 years old.

This was the sixth death at a Utah resort during the winter season of 2022-2023. Unfortunately, each year, a certain number of deaths and serious injuries result from the sport.  What is often not properly recognized is that many of these injuries and ski lift deaths are preventable.

Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Collision

In 2019, a plaintiff named Sanderson filed a negligence and emotional distress lawsuit against Paltrow, accusing her of colliding with him on a resort called Deer Valley in Park City, Utah in 2016.

The visitors to Deer Valley filed a lawsuit against Paltrow, alleging that she crashed into him from above while skiing carelessly, resulting in severe, lifelong injuries and emotional suffering. Afterwards, Paltrow filed a countersuit, alleging Sanderson had struck her from behind.

At the time, Paltrow strongly denied Sanderson’s claims, and a spokesperson for the actress told CNN that Sanderson’s case was “totally without merit.” According to Insider, a district judge last year rejected Sanderson’s allegation of emotional anguish and eliminated the resort and the ski instructor from the complaint due to a dearth of supporting documentation.

On March 23, 2023, the civil trial for a skiing accident that occurred more than seven years ago for actress Gwyneth Paltrow went on.

According to court records, Sanderson originally sued Paltrow for $3.1 million but later changed his suit and is now requesting more than $300,000 in damages.

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Who is Held Liable in Ski Lift Accidents?

The majority of individuals who go skiing for the day, the weekend, or the entire week don’t plan on getting hurt on a ski lift. But if this does occur, you must be ready to speak with a ski lift injury lawyer as quickly as possible.

Can you sue a ski resort? Ski resorts have a legal duty to maintain ski lifts and minimize the risks of ski chairlift accidents. Can you sue someone for a ski accident? Of course. If you were injured on the ski lifts, it is not always a personal injury case, but you can file a variety of lawsuits for things like poor maintenance, negligence, and product liability.

Ski lift operator: In certain circumstances, the ski lift operator may be held liable for the injuries that occurred on the ski lift. The ski lift operator is in charge of making sure passengers are secure while using the lift.  If any other companies maintained the ski lifts and it was discovered that they were not properly maintained, the company could be held liable for passenger injuries.

Owner: The resort owner has to maintain the area for visitors. For instance, it’s possible that the ski lift’s operator or the ski resort manager neglected to perform the necessary maintenance, which led to the equipment failing.

If they failed to make sure the area was safe and it did not meet the safety standards, the owner must be held liable.

Manufacturers: In most cases, injuries are not caused by snowboards and skis. Injuries can occur as a result of a faulty product used in skiing. If you were injured by a defective product, that product’s manufacturer might be held liable. Furthermore, the person who sold the product can be held liable if it causes any injuries.

Negligent skier: If the skier collides with another skier or pedestrian, the negligent person could be held liable for all injuries and damaged properties. This can lead to severe injuries if it happens at full speed. You might be able to make a personal injury claim against another skier or snowboarder if you were hurt as a result of their negligence.

It can be challenging to navigate the legal system on your own in all of these situations, particularly when trying to identify potential accountable parties. There may be several people held accountable for your injuries, depending on the specifics of your accident.

What to do After I Got Hurt on a Ski Lift?

Ski lifts accidents are one of the most popular ways people get injured. With that in mind, here are a few things you should know about ski lift accidents and whether you can recover from such injuries.

The most crucial thing to do if you were hurt by another skier or snowboarder in a winter recreation activity is to collect that person’s name and contact information. It’s crucial to obtain the person’s name and contact details so that you can make a claim for damages against them.

If you are injured while riding the ski lifts, seek medical attention immediately and consult with your doctor about the extent of your injuries. Some ski lift injuries are not easily diagnosable, and they need additional treatments.

If you are a victim of ski lifts, and someone else was at fault for your injury, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical expenses. If an accident occurs at a ski resort, the ski patron is responsible for conducting an investigation and documenting it in the reports.

Damages Recovered By the Ski Lift Lawsuit

Receiving recompense or damages is the ultimate objective of a personal injury case. Your losses, both financial and nonfinancial, are intended to be covered by the compensation or damages you receive. Economic losses are those that can be calculated objectively. An example of an economic loss would be lost wages as a result of an accident. Non-economic losses are more difficult to estimate.

For these kinds of ski lift accidents, the victim must prove the type of injury and the extent of the lift chair injury. The medical record of the victim shows the type and severity of the injuries. Reviewing medical records can be helpful in determining the number of damages you receive.

LezDo TechMed is a top medical record review firm with experienced medical professionals. We provide medical record review services for attorneys to get better compensation for their clients.

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To sum up,

Ski lifts may seem dangerous, but they are not like that. Skiing is safe when compared to other sports. The majority of chairlifts have pull-down safety bars that you can rest your hands and feet on. There is also a chairlift without a safety bar; at that time, you must hold on to the side, recline, and remain still.

If you are interested in ski lift activities, have fun, but don’t forget these things!!!

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