Although skiing is a fun and usually laid back sport if you’ve been skiing a while, there are still several dangers that you can be faced with while going down a trail.

Brandon Moulton / Equinox staff

Brandon Moulton / Equinox staff

While it’s important to have fun, it’s also extremely important to be aware of possible dangers that can occur during skiing, and how to avoid them all together.

The first danger to look out for is skiing off a cliff or off a trail. In some cases, you can go off the trails.

If you are an experienced skier, like one of my good friends, you’ll find enjoyment going through wooded areas or on black diamond trails.

However if you are not, going down a black diamond trail or off a cliff can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening.

It may seem far fetched to fly off a cliff while skiing, but if you don’t know how to properly stop, lack training on how to avoid obstacles, or aren’t aware of trail markings, then this danger can be more realistic than not.

If you’re a beginner, start slow and if you’re not positive about trail markings, then try going skiing with someone who is more experienced and willing to help you out.

Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) is another danger that is actually more common than avalanches. However this is still incredibly rare. SIS is when skiers fall into tree well (a void or area of loose snow around the trunk of a tree), which is often hidden from view.

As the skier falls into the well, the snow can bury them and prevent them from escaping. The lack of oxygen and pressure of the snow can cause skiers to suffocate in a matter of minutes. In can be easily avoided if you are aware of your surroundings, avoid hitting trees, and ski with a partner.

It’s important to dress warm in order to prevent frostbite.

You’re in a higher altitude when on top of a mountain, so always remember to wear gear that will help protect you from wind, the cold and snow. Frostbite is caused by inadequate coverage and mostly affects the fingers and toes.

It takes thirty minutes of being exposed to wind chill to start seeing the effects of frostbite, according to Hix Magazine.

If you wear thick gloves with good insulation, your fingers will stay toasty and frostbite free. Thick socks should also be used. Skiers should avoid taking off their boots at all costs, as that is a surefire way to experience frostbite.

Other dangers to look out for are concussions (falling on or hitting your head, a.k.a. Wear a ski helmet), broken legs (usually from crazy tricks or landing very wrong), skier’s thumb (occurs when a skier attempts to break a fall with their hand, will extend to brace for the fall, but with the pole also in the hand, the thumb will hyperextend on the impact, causing the ulnar collateral ligament to tear), and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears.

Although all of these injuries are pretty rare, they do still happen. So next time you hit the slopes, be careful and cautious.

For more information, visit Hix Magazine’s website.

Caroline Perry can be contacted at

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