Skiing and snowboarding accidents on California’s mountain slopes are on the rise

Skiing and snowboarding accidents on California’s mountain slopes are on the rise


New data shows California’s ski slopes are becoming more dangerous for skiers and snowboarders as serious and fatal accidents continue to rise.

According to data from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, in 2022, 6,000 skiers and snowboarders were sent to emergency rooms due to injuries sustained on the slopes.


That number of ER visits rose 50% from 2016 through 2022, the Los Angeles Times reports. However, during that same period, the number of downhill skiers and snowboarders remained mostly the same in California.

“It’s a great sport, but if you ask me, I notice a bit of a difference in courtesy,” said Joan Shimizu Wood, a Southern California resident who has been skiing since 1976. For those of us who descended: To your right! On your left!’ As we pass them by.”

Wood said she rarely hears this verbal cue or compliment though from the skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes, many of whom may be less experienced or capable.

Former ski patrollers, hospital employees and emergency medical technicians in California mountain towns told the Times that the rise in accidents and injuries on the slopes has been noticeable.

Locals said the reckless behavior was made worse by skiers using marijuana, magic mushrooms or sugar before hitting the slopes.

“You’re sitting on the lift and it smells like a skunk in here,” skier James Travers said of the smell of weed. “It must smell like pine trees.”

“Today, I was skiing down one of the slopes and I saw a little bottle of Fireball (whiskey), so that’s the thing you have to worry about,” Candice Paragone said.

Another major contributor is people who are so focused on taking selfies or taking videos for their social media pages that they become unaware of who or what is going on around them.

Dr. Luke Sampson, who works in the trauma intake center at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said he’s seen some trends when it comes to patients injured on slopes being hospitalized.

“I would say those are the two main things — either ‘I lost control’ or ‘Someone else lost control’ and there was a collision,” Sampson said. “I would just advise you to work within your limits. If you think you’re out of control, you probably are.”

Officials recommend knowing your physical limits and skill level before attempting to navigate a course that exceeds your abilities. Riders should also put away their cell phones or recording devices so they can fully focus on getting down the mountain safely.

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