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Hitting the slopes runs risk of hitting a tree

According to Johns Hopkins Hospital, an estimated 600,000 people are injured nationally as a result of skiing or snowboarding. But because ski resorts here in Colorado have little oversight from federal and state governments and aren't required to release deaths and injuries to the public, the total number in Colorado is relatively unknown.

This is particularly alarming because as many people, including medical professionals and law enforcement officers, have pointed out that there are a considerable amount of accidents that occur on the slopes every year, which could raise some pretty big red flags when it comes to safety.

Even on well-groomed trails skiers are getting into accidents. Whether it's running into another skier or losing control and hitting a tree just on the boundaries of the slope, these types of collisions can cause serious injuries. And this is not just a concern for visitors either. Even this year a snowboard instructor lost their life while navigating a Colorado slope.

Along with the concern for visitor safety comes the concern for the workers at the ski resorts as well. According to some experts, even the most experienced skier can run into the perfect storm of circumstances that can turn a day of riding down the slopes into a trip to the hospital.

Just like visitors, workers at ski resorts experience everything from broken bones to severe head injuries. Although workers' compensation can cover the medical expenses associated with work-related accidents, there is still the issue of job safety. Are ski resorts doing everything possible to ensure not only the safety of guests but of their workers as well?

It's a question that will probably remain on many people's minds in the state until the next winter seasons brings another round of serious accidents and injuries.

Source: The Denver Post, "Colorado skiers die on groomed, blue runs after hitting trees," Karen E. Crummy, March 19, 2013

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