Typical trends have more ski fatalities, but this year fatal snowboard accidents at ski resorts throughout the country are occurring at a higher rate. The usual trend finds more than twice as many skiers dying in accidents than boarders, according to figures from the National Ski Areas Association.
Though the season still is only half-way over, the following deaths have occurred:
- On Jan. 20, a 26 year old was caught in an avalanche below the “fingers” of Berthoud Pass, Colorado and his body found three days later
- On Jan. 8, a 29-year-old male boarder was found dead at Montana’s Whitefish Mountain, apparently after hitting a tree. A 16-year-old male skier died after a Dec. 29 crash at the same resort.
- On Jan. 6, a 25-year-old female boarder, missing for two days, was found dead at Alpine Meadows in California.
- On Dec. 25, a 20-year-old male snowboarder died after falling into a creek when snow collapsed under him at Whistler. Two days later, a 24-year-old male snowboarder died from injuries he sustained after hitting a tree at Mountain High resort in California.
- On Dec. 22, a 15-year-old male boarder died in a crash at Oregon’s Mount Hood. Then on Dec. 24, a 23-year-old male boarder collided with a 5-year-old girl at the Hogadon Ski Area in Casper, Wyo. Both the child and boarder died from their injuries.
- On Dec. 20, a 31-year-old male snowboarder died after a crash at Cannon in New Hampshire. A week before, a 19-year-old male skier died when he crashed into rocks along the Zoomer trail.
- On Dec. 18, a 35-year-old male boarder died from injuries received when he leaped off a 40-foot cliff at Wolf Creek Ski Area in Colorado.
Authorities and safety officials say they have discovered no pattern that would explain the inordinate number of snowboard deaths so early in the season. Annually, areas in the US log between 58 and 60 million skier visits each season. Last season there were 25 skier and 13 snowboard fatalities, numbers that are about average.