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How do they not...

So Inclined

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...die/get critically injured more often?

I'm talking, of course, about the skiers and riders I watch, by the score, almost every day, on a couple different "Jerry fail" Instagram accounts. Because I've got to admit, though it doesn't make me feel great about myself; I'm a little addicted to watching them. More than once I've cracked up laughing, even as I'm watching through my fingers and cringing. I'm laughing mostly because I'm assuming, without justification, that they weren't seriously hurt.

This has been all the more on my mind in the wake of the fatalities at Hunter (where I do much of my skiing), and following a recent death of a young kid at Southington (where I skied a bunch growing up.) The circumstances of these particular tragedies may be different from what we see in most of the fail videos - ostensibly, blunt force trauma from trees or rocks (the Southington death sounds like a head injury in a park - thought I read that the "no helmet" part of the story is incorrect too) vs. jumps and tricks and hubris going wrong. But still; what we can see constantly on these videos is skiers and riders out there taking hard, HARD impacts on parts of the body that you don't want to be taking many hard impacts on.

It's a bit mesmerizing yet nauseating to watch.
I watch snowboarders dropping cliffs and slamming down face first into the snow - or better yet, a snow-covered rock.
I watch skiers "send it" off jumps from way back in the back seat, hurtle 30 feet through the air horizontally, and come down on their spines.
I watch skiers and riders both throwing inverts - oh my god, so many more inverts than I ever see on my local mountains, where to try it would get your pass clipped, because to fail it would be quasi-suicidal - underrotating onto their ski tips, over-rotating onto their cervical vertebrae, or landing everywhere but on the bottoms of their skis.

I watch this buffoonery: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu6gDyLFC2r/
I watch this absurdity: https://www.instagram.com/p/BurN1-WlW-X/
I watch this stupidness: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt6YUlUF2wM/
I watch this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BuZ4EK-F--0/

And I wonder: is the question not "why are so many skiers and riders dying nowadays?" but, given how this kind of bad/overconfident/reckless/extremely risky skiing and riding seems to be A Thing now, "why aren't more skiers and riders dying nowadays?"

I'll anticipate someone's counterpoint; people DO get messed up really bad in these Jerry videos, we just don't see the aftermath. I'm sure that's true to some extent. I'd also suppose that, to the extent that many of these videos look to be shot at resorts out west, in deeper plusher powder, it isn't quite so terrible to come down on your neck or to scorpion kick yourself in the back of the head. Not quite so terrible, but still plenty painful and potentially damaging to your health.
 

kingslug

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I've watched them getting carted off the mountain at alarming rates some days when I'm out west. Heavy powder does the trick..totally torques you out. At Park City last week they were dropping like flies. Skinny skis and heavy snow. I watched one boarder just tumble down Jupiter, get up and do it again..he looked like a friggin snowball...I don't know how many times I stopped to check on people, even pull someone out of a bush...
 

abc

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I think many of them do get hurt. But perhaps not necessarily badly.

In my younger days, I once cartwheeled 3-4 turns down a steep slope. From the look of people around, it must have looked rather bad. But I just got up and sheepishly skied off. Only injury being my pride (and a little stiff the next day). It's pretty amazing how much impact a young elastic body can take.

Just last week, a little girl landed not 10 feet from me with a big "thump", skis flying 20 feet up in the air (though not in my direction). I think she was hurt somehow, because she started to cry. And when I went back up (after skiing down to inform the liftie to send ski patrol), I saw a sled being prepared. That said, she was conscious, sitting up with no obvious distress. So whatever injury she had, was probably relatively minor.
 
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AdironRider

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Injuries are common, deaths are not.

None of those falls you listed would be life threatening. Face planting onto a downhill slope does not result in a change in momentum strong enough to cause internal injuries/brain trauma/etc.

Now hitting a tree going 30+ on a blue groomer, and you are probably fucked. To drastic of a slowdown.
 

So Inclined

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Face planting onto a downhill slope does not result in a change in momentum strong enough to cause internal injuries/brain trauma/etc.

While I agree with you overall on the qualitative difference between a typical Jerry slam and a potentially fatal crash, the survivors of Natasha Richardson, among others, may have something to say about that.

(I understand she came down on the back of her head, not face. So do a lot of these people, though.)

I guess my follow-up question is this; are there really this many ok-but-not-great skiers and riders trying to huck flips off dubiously-sized kickers in the woods? Is this a particular Western or big mountain thing? Like I mentioned earlier, do this at the mountains I ski at and your probable best outcome is a pulled ticket.
 
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legalskier

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I had stopped on a steep narrow but short trail recently when a little boy came over the top at high speed. I thought he was staightlining it for fun...until he got close enough to see his shocked face. As he went by he was heading directly for a large tree. I swear I thought I was about to witness a skiing death for the first time. Somehow he sat back and tumbled within a couple feet of the tree.
It left me shaken.
 

flakeydog

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This is why I love skiing. You can crash, burn, etc and get up and do it all over again. What other sport can you crash at 20, 30 mph or more and be fine like me you are in a cartoon. Yes, people get hurt, sometimes badly but it is amazing what kinds of falls we can have and seemingly be “fine”. The only difference is now so much more of this is able to be captured easily on video for our amusement.
 

kingslug

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2 epic falls in my 24 years. 2nd year skiing fell from the top of Zero G in super slush conditions..to the bottom. Dislocated right shoulder..wife though i was dead..I did too.
high speed crash on Clairs, ski came off? 200 feet and just stopped short of the rocks near bottom right..knocked the wind out of me, thought I was dying..ski patrol..thought I was dead. Got up skied away..went home. How I didn't break anything?? must be made of adamantine or something.
I do firmly believe that if you are going to ski fast or super steep stuff ..being in shape will prolong your life. Its why ski racers are built like trucks.
 

bigbog

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Young bodies are pretty flexible and clothing adds a certain degree of padding and they aren't as likely to tense up from situations since they often don't go around looking for the very bottom of the hill/tough terrain like some others do. Just a guess...
 
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AdironRider

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While I agree with you overall on the qualitative difference between a typical Jerry slam and a potentially fatal crash, the survivors of Natasha Richardson, among others, may have something to say about that.

(I understand she came down on the back of her head, not face. So do a lot of these people, though.)

I guess my follow-up question is this; are there really this many ok-but-not-great skiers and riders trying to huck flips off dubiously-sized kickers in the woods? Is this a particular Western or big mountain thing? Like I mentioned earlier, do this at the mountains I ski at and your probable best outcome is a pulled ticket.

And people die taking showers by freak accidents as well. I don't think using a very rare occurrence as if it is more common is fair.

I'll answer your question with another question, did you live in a bubble as a teenager/early 20 something?
 

abc

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I'll answer your question with another question, did you live in a bubble as a teenager/early 20 something?
Actually, I didn't do anything risky in my teens and 20's. I was too wrapped up in varsity sports to hurt myself doing silly planks.

And of the stupid falls I had in skiing (which is the first "risky" activity I took), some were due to lack of experience to realize what could happen. Sometimes, one may not perceive the possibility a simple jump may not get off the ground at all. So hitting a small obstacle suddenly seems rather stupid.

Back in December, I met a middle age mother in Copper. She only skied 1 week a year. So while athletic and capable as a skier, she didn't have the experience to realize a tiny strip of "yellow dirt" in her path was actually a strip of tile, and was capable to stop her dead in her track. She crashed superman style. It looked rather horrific. And consider she wasn't exactly young, I was somewhat concerned. Fortunately, nothing injured except her pride.

Reality is, skiing CAN BE dangerous if you're very unlucky. Ask Natasha Richardson. Fortunately for most of us, we crash unexpectedly, but managed to get up without injury MOST of the time.

None of my hobbies involves as much falling as skiing. I think activities happening on slippery surface simply has a much higher potential for unexpected falls. Lucky for us, not all falls lead to injury.
 
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Whitey

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If you were video taping me and my crew during our ski bumming years (late 80's) out west you would have caught a lot of video of us tomahawking down slopes with gear spraying out everywhere. It was a daily occurance that one of us (3-4 guys) would have a crash that we'd still be talking about over beers later that day. Add in a lot of stuff like guys hitting bump troughs too hard and double ejecting out of their skis. Etc, etc, etc.

Those wipeouts we just kind of took in stride. It's crazy to think about now but usually after cartwheeling down a slope when you finally came to a stop your first thought wasn't "I could have just died" it was always just "sh1t, how far back up this slope am I going to have to climb to get my poles, skis, hat, googles, gloves, bag of weed, jacket, ..." I hated those climbs. Somehow we just kind of knew that even though we had a lot of epic crashes we were never really going to get hurt. It was probably because we were young and stupid and that was not really very accurate anyway. Anyone of us could have broken our necks 10 times over from those crashes. But we were too stupid & happy to think like that. The people on the chairlift watching one of our wipeouts were probably saying the same thing that is being said in this thread; "those idiots are going to kill themselves." We didn't and no one ever got really hurt other than some bruises and sore muscles.

No real explanation for it. The only one I'd suggest is that I think the act of skiing lends itself to staying loose and absorbing what the slope throws at you. Young, in shape skiers who eat it hard are more likely to "naturally" stay loose during the fall and not tighten up and sprain/tear something.

If I did it now, they'd be chiseling "Here lies Whitey" on a tombstone shortly thereafter.
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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These guys have their share of injuries but speed is not the issue until you hit an immovable object as long as you don't have a crazy DIN setting or happen to hook a ski while falling eventually you come to a stop . Slow impact at a high angle is a problem I landed lengthwise on my ribs in a Mogul trough and it took weeks to heal .

Some accidents are just bad luck , I survived my 20's with some good luck .
 

mikec142

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she didn't have the experience to realize a tiny strip of "yellow dirt" in her path was actually a strip of tile, and was capable to stop her dead in her track.

Just curious...what is a strip of tile?
 

2Planker

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STUPIDITY is rampant lately....
Keeps us (patrollers) busy. Just sucks when their stupidity impacts an innocent skier or rider
 
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