Lakewood, Colo., August 1, 2003 –U.S. ski resorts reported eight less fatalities on the slopes during the 2002/03 season than in 2002/01 and ten less than 2000/01. At the same time, skier/snowboarder visits in 2002/03 broke national records, with 57.6 million visits versus 54.4 million in 2001/02.
During the 2002/03 season, 37 skiers and snowboarders died accidentally on the slopes,compared to 45 deaths in 2001/02, a decrease of 18 percent. The 2002/03 fatality rate converts to .64 per million skier/snowboarder visits.
A skier/snowboarder visit represents one person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night. This includes full- and half-day, night, complimentary, adult, child, season, and all other ticket types.
Of the 2002/03 fatalities, 31 were male and six female. Regarding equipment, 31 were skiers (25 male and six female), and six were on snowboards (all male). These accidental deaths occurred at ski areas nationwide during normal operational hours.
An average of 38 skier and snowboarder fatalities have occurred on the slopes each season, based on numbers from the past 10 years. Average skier/snowboarder visits during this same time period averaged 54.2 million.
"It's always tragic to report fatal accidents," said NSAA President Michael Berry. "We recognize that the fatality rate fluctuates slightly each year, however, one's chance of having a fatal accident on the slopes remains less than one in a million."
Berry pointed out that resorts continue to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and that safety remains a top priority at ski areas. Many have developed safety education programs and actively promote the seven points of the "Your Responsibility Code." The industry continues to support the Heads Up safety initiative and the annual National Safety Awareness Week, and has taken additional steps towards consumer education in the past few years, including a website dedicated solely to the use of snowsports helmets, www.lidsonkids.org, and the Smart Style Terrain Park Safety Initiative, which strives to educate consumers about the proper use of freestyle terrain features.
SEASON / FATALITIES / SKIER DAYS (in millions) / RATE (Per million)
2002-03 / 37 / 57.6 / 0.64
2001-02 / 45 / 54.4 / 0.83
2000-01 / 47 / 57.3 / 0.82
1999-00 / 30 / 52.2 / 0.57
1998-99 / 39 / 52.1 / 0.75
1997-98 / 26 / 54.1 / 0.48
1996-97 / 36 / 52.5 / 0.69
1995-96 / 35 / 54.0 / 0.65
1994-95 / 49 / 52.7 / 0.93
1993-94 / 41 / 54.6 / 0.75