Skiing is dangerous, right?. You’re strapping into a set of hard plastic boots and stiff, sharp boards and flying 20 mph down an ice and snow covered mountain. And you’re doing it with about a thousand other people, while surrounded by trees. That’s a recipe for disaster, right? Wrong. A new study published in Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach takes a hard look at 12 common myths surrounding the safety of alpine skiing, and suggests the sport isn’t as dangerous as most of us believe. The study found that the annual fatality rate per million hours of exposure associated with skiing is roughly the same as that associated with riding bikes. And you’re far more likely to die riding in a car than skiing down a mountain. The study also found that relaxing into a fall isn’t the best way to avoid injury and renting equipment is often safer than buying your own.
The biggest surprise we found in the study? Formal ski instruction didn’t decrease the likelihood of injury. Still, no number of studies can take the place of common sense. Take a lesson (you’ll enjoy your time on the hill more) and wear a helmet. And if you hit the terrain park, consider printing the thick study and strapping it to your chest to protect your ribs.