Ski Collisions on the Rise as Tourists Flock to Montana's Hidden Gem Ski Resorts

Ski Mountain

The 2021-22 season has already seen an increase in fatal ski accidents, as reported by SnowBrains, due to both a rise in the popularity of skiing and a lack of snow this winter. Looking at the slopes, you may see a great deal of snow, but the data shows this winter has been very dry compared to those of years past. As a result, many ski resorts have been stuck with early season conditions. Montana has not, sadly, remained unaffected: Ski collisions are also becoming more and more common on local ski hills.

With other popular resorts overcrowded and suffering from staffing shortages and COVID-19 variants, people are looking for hidden gems. The Treasure State has more than its fair share. Take, for example, Big Sky Resort.

As Montana’s largest ski resort, and the nation’s second largest, Big Sky Resort has risen in popularity with its efficient, high-capacity lift system and new slope side luxury resort, which, according to Forbes, “sold out quickly and was the hottest ticket in luxury ski lodging in the entire nation this year.”

But while the slopes at Big Sky and other local resorts may be less crowded than those in other states, the 2021-22 season has been a busy one by Montana standards. The influx of skiers on the hill is undeniable.

Whitefish Mountain Resort, located at northwestern Montana’s Big Mountain, has also drawn in skiers from across the country this season. A brother to Big Sky, it is also categorized as a “mega-resort,” with 100 trails combined for a total of 3,000 acres.

“As winter vacation difficulties mount, Montana is increasingly standing out as a top choice - whether you ski or not,” wrote Larry Olmsted, a journalist for Forbes.

It seems Montana is finally getting its time in the winter sports tourism spotlight. Tourists have recognized its premier alpine skiing, cross country skiing, and downhill skiing—all of which are made more attractive by how it feels, as Olmsted put it, “off the beaten path.”

Crowded Ski Hills Have a Higher Risk for Ski Collisions

Every year, about 600,000 people are injured on North American ski hills. In the 2020-21 season, the National Ski Areas Association further reported a total of 48 fatal ski accidents. These numbers are expected to rise during the 2021-22 season.

The math is simple: More skiers mean less space, which in turn means more collisions on the slopes.

Most ski collisions involve a negligent skier losing control and colliding with a skier farther down the hill. Other common causes include when skiers fail to look uphill before merging onto a path, when skilled skiers recklessly weave down a beginner’s trail, and when backcountry skiers set off avalanches.

Watch Out for Others on the Slopes

Doing your part to mitigate the number of ski accidents this season can be easy:

  • Take care to pay attention to others on the slopes.
  • Remember to yield to downhill skiers.
  • If merging, note that skiers uphill have the right of way.

Another key thing to remember is your helmet. Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way to prevent serious brain injury (one of the most common skiing injuries) in the event of a collision.

Were You Injured on the Slopes? Call (406) 233-1302

At Hoyt & Blewett PLLC, we help those injured on Montana ski hills get back on their feet. If you were hurt, we want to help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages/benefits, among other damages.

Established in 1985, we have earned a reputation for our personalized legal representation, creative case strategies, and millions of dollars in client compensation. We help clients in Great Falls, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, Butte, Billings, Kalispell, and across the state of Montana. There are no fees unless we win!

Call our Montana ski collision lawyers at (406) 233-1302 for a free consultation.

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